Vitamins and minerals are essential to good health, but what does Vitamin B do and how can you ingest it naturally? Vegetables as a Vitamin B source are probably the easiest way to gather this vitamin, although B12 will have to come from fortified foods. B vitamin-rich veggies carry necessary compounds such as riboflavin, folate, thiamin, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, and B12 and B6. Each has a different effect on the body, and vegetables high in Vitamin B carry different levels of each compound.
Using Vegetables as a Vitamin B Source
Vitamin B is known to help store energy and utilize carbohydrates, produce red blood cells, aid in digestion, promote a healthy nervous system and more. These health benefits translate to less heart disease, lower risk of birth defect, clearer brain function, and healthy skin. B12 is the only compound that is found in animal products and must come from supplements in a vegetarian diet. Certain vegetables for B Vitamins bear higher or lower levels of the individual dietary compounds.
There are plenty of vegetarian ways to bring Vitamin B into your diet, such as with nuts and whole grains, but these are not as readily absorbed as the sources from animal products. Therefore, vegans and vegetarians should rely upon supplements and fortified foods like cereals to ensure adequate Vitamin B.
A varied diet is considered the best way to achieve each form of the nutrient. As a general rule, leafy greens, avocados, and starchy vegetables contain high levels of certain Vitamin B compounds. In order to get enough of each, a targeted approach to eating veggies with Vitamin B can help achieve an overall balance of each compound.
Sources for Thiamin, Niacin, Folate and Riboflavin
Thiamin fuels your brain and helps energize the nervous system. B vitamin-rich veggies with high concentrations of thiamin might be:
Niacin helps the biggest organ in the body, the skin, function well. This is an easy one to find in many vitamins high in Vitamin B such as:
Folate is essential for pregnant women and is often added to breads and cereals. A natural diet consisting of vegetables for B Vitamins will ensure healthy DNA and RNA formation. Try the following:
Riboflavin converts food into fuel and helps the body process and use the other B vitamins. Veggies with high vitamin B riboflavins are:
Other Vegetable Sources of B Vitamins
The other forms of Vitamin B are essential in their own ways and can be found in at least trace amounts in many vegetables. Stick to dark leafy greens, starchy roots like sweet and regular potatoes, and cruciform vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Some forms of Vitamin B may cook out of the food, so it is best to eat vegetables raw or minimally cooked. For vegans, getting all forms of Vitamin B can be tough, but there is good news. Spirulina, blue-green algae, is available in supplement form and is packed with a variety of the Vitamin B-rich nutrients. You can take a capsule, sprinkle it on food, and incorporate it a variety of ways to accomplish your Vitamin B goals. You may also be able to grow your own.