There is a lot of talk about the importance of B vitamins for our health. Do you know, however, what are the different vitamins that are part of this group and which foods contain them? In this article we tell you everything you need to know.
B vitamins: what are they for?
Vitamins are micronutrients essential to life. Each of them has specific properties and allow our organs to function properly. Today we focus on B vitamins, which allow:
- For cells to function properly:
- To the body to produce energy;
- To assimilate the energy supplied by the carbohydrates, proteins and fats we ingest;
- The transport of essential nutrients.
When we talk about the B complex, we refer to a group of vitamins that work in synergy and which includes:
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Biotin (B7, also known as vitamin H)
- Folic acid (B9)
- Cobalamine (B12)
How to get B vitamins
The different vitamins we have listed are found in various foods. This means that if you have adopted a balanced diet, you are already getting enough B-complex vitamins.
Supplements can help during periods of greatest expenditure and are sometimes recommended by the doctor when he identifies symptoms of deficiency or when there is a need to strengthen certain physiological functions. Let’s see in detail the different vitamins that belong to this group.
Thiamine or vitamin B1
Thiamine regulates appetite and metabolic functions. We find this vitamin in pork, green leafy vegetables, lentils, peas, nuts, wheat germ products and enriched cereals.
Riboflavin protects skin health. It is mainly contained in dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese.
However, dairy products are not the only source of riboflavin. We also find it in vegetables such as spinach, asparagus and, in general, in green leafy vegetables. We also get it by eating enriched chicken, fish, eggs and cereals.
Niacin or B3
Niacin is useful for the nervous system and the cardiovascular system. Thanks to it, we also have the necessary energy. The best sources of vitamin B3 are chicken, salmon and tuna. Other excellent sources of niacin are legumes, enriched cereals, peanuts and pasta.
Pantothenic acid or B5
Pantothenic acid is essential for the proper functioning of enzymes. The foods richest in vitamin B5 are avocado, yogurt, lentils, peas and other legumes. It can also be obtained, in smaller but sufficient quantities, from broccoli, champignon mushrooms and sweet potatoes.
The importance of vitamin B6 is due to the fact that it participates in the production of red blood cells and, therefore, in the health of the circulatory system.
The main sources of this vitamin are poultry and seafood. We can also get it from green leafy vegetables, bananas, potatoes and enriched cereals.
Biotin or B7
Biotin is known for its benefits on the skin and especially for the hair. It also participates in enzymatic activity, helping to obtain energy from food.
It is found mainly in egg yolk and liver. It is also contained in pork, salmon and avocado and, in small quantities, fruit and vegetables, cheese and cereals.
Folic acid or B9
Folic acid is vital for the health of red blood cells and for the proper functioning of the nervous system. It also participates in embryonic development and is therefore highly suitable for pregnant women.
This important vitamin is found mainly in green leafy vegetables. We can also get folic acid by eating enriched pasta or cereals.
Cobalamine or B12
Vitamin B12, like B6, also participates in the production of red blood cells. Like B9, on the other hand, it improves the functioning of the nervous system and stimulates the development of the embryo.
It is present only in foods of animal origin, therefore in chicken, turkey, veal, pork, fish and seafood. However, it can also be found in enriched plant products, such as industrial cereals or soy-based preparations.
People who follow a vegan diet, therefore, are more likely to run into a deficiency of vitamin B12. In this case it may be useful to consider supplementing with vitamins.
A balanced diet
As we have seen, the foods that contain the B vitamins are different, in addition to enriched products. The advice, therefore, is to always vary the diet, within a balanced choice, in order to obtain all the nutrients the body needs.