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The Best Food Sources for B Vitamins


You’ve all experienced one of those days. This is when you feel tired and depleted. Your memory is weak, and your attention span drops to less than five minutes before your mind drifts off to a more positive place. This is normal if you listen to too many podcasts. They can be addictive. Sometimes, a series of bad weeks can happen without any obvious reason. You might consider reexamining your diet and focusing on your B vitamins if this is the case.

Why? Why?

If you suspect that this is what is causing your problems, your doctor can help. To maximize your intake of these vital nutrients, eat a variety, including beef, chicken, eggs, and turkey.

Vitamin B Comes In Many Forms.

The Daily Value (DV), for eight B vitamins, is:

  • B1, Thiamin: 1.1 milligrams  
  • B2, Riboflavin: 1.1 milligrams  
  • B3, Niacin: 14 milligrams  
  • B5, Pantothenic Acid: 5 milligrams  
  • B6, Pyridoxine: 1.3 milligrams  
  • B7, Biotin: 30 micrograms  
  • B9, Folic Acid: 400 micrograms  
  • B12, Cobalamin: 2.4 micrograms

B vitamins are not stored in the body for very long, so you need to replenish them regularly through your diet. Vitamin B foods can often have more than one vitamin. Many vitamin B6 foods like salmon, chicken, and brown rice are good sources of additional B vitamins. Kalsi says that if you don’t have any digestive conditions or a restricted diet, you should be able to consume enough B vitamins each week by eating a wide variety of foods.

A physician or dietitian might not be concerned about vitamin B levels if you aren’t eating animal protein or if your pregnancy is imminent. Kalsi suggests that non-meat-eaters look for fortified foods, such as fortified cereals or tofu, to attain the DV of vitamin B12. They may also be advised to take a supplement. You might consider taking a B9 (folic acid) supplement containing 100 % DV. Also, you should eat foods rich with B9 as it is crucial for the development of the baby’s neural tube, which later becomes the spine and brain.

Here are the top ten most effective sources of vitamin B food.


This nutritious, all-around fish is rich in many B vitamins. A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of cooked salmon contains.

  • Thiamine, (B1): 18% RDI
  • Riboflavin B2: 29% RDI
  • Niacin, B3: 50% RDI
  • Pantothenic Acid (B5): 19% RDI
  • Pyridoxine B6: 47% RDI
  • Cobalamin, B12: 51%

Salmon is also a low mercury fish and is rich in omega-3 fats as well as protein .

Liver and Other Organ Meats

Even though they are not very popular, organ meats, especially the liver, are rich in B vitamins. This applies to meats from chicken, beef, lamb, and pork.

A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) portion of beef liver has the following.

  • Thiamine (B1): 12% of the RDI  
  • Riboflavin (B2): 201% of the RDI  
  • Niacin (B3): 87% of the RDI  
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 69% of the RDI  
  • Pyridoxine (B6): 51% of the RDI  
  • Biotin (B7): 138% of the RDI  
  • Folate (B9): 65% of the RDI  
  • Cobalamin (B12): 1,386% of the RDI

You may not be used to the strong taste of liver or find organ meats unappetizing. Instead, you can try to grind them and add them to traditional cuts of meat or to high-spiced foods like chili.


A large egg has 33% of the RDI (representatively, the yolk and the white) for biotin. Eggs are the best source of biotin, with 33% of it being found in large eggs.

Eggs also have lower amounts of B vitamins. One large (50-gram) cooked egg contains:

  • Riboflavin (B2): 15% of the RDI  
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 7% of the RDI  
  • Biotin (B7): 33% of the RDI  
  • Folate (B9): 5% of the RDI  
  • Cobalamin (B12): 9% of the RDI

Raw egg whites can contain avidin. This protein binds to biotin and blocks its absorption in the gut. Cooking egg reduces the risk of food poisoning.

You can get your biotin from foods other than eggs, meat, and animal products.

Leafy Greens

Many leafy leaves are notable for their high folate (B9) levels. These vegetables are the best sources of folate (5-6-7-8 9)

  • Spinach, raw: 41% of the RDI in 3 cups (85 grams)  
  • Spinach, cooked: 31% of the RDI in a 1/2 cup (85 grams)  
  • Collard greens, cooked: 20% of the RDI in a 1/2 cup (85 grams)  
  • Turnip greens, cooked: 25% of the RDI in a 1/2 cup (85 grams)  
  • Romaine lettuce, raw: 29% of the RDI in 2 cups (85 grams)

Some folate can be destroyed by heat while cooking, and others can transfer to the water during cooking. Steam the greens until they are tender but not crisp to reduce folate loss. 


An 8-ounce glass (240 ml) of milk contains 26% of the RDI of riboflavin. Other B vitamins are also available.

  • Thiamine (B1): 7% of the RDI  
  • Riboflavin (B2): 26% of the RDI  
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 9% of the RDI  
  • Cobalamin (B12): 18% of the RDI

Studies show that milk is the most popular source of riboflavin for people, closely followed by meats and grains.

In an observational study of more than 36,000 European adults, 22-52% of the riboflavin was found in dairy products.

Milk, like other animal products, is a good source of B12. It provides 18% of the RDI for a 1-cup (240-ml) serving.

You absorb B12 most efficiently from milk and dairy products, with absorption rates between 51-79%.


Beef can be a significant contributor to your intake of B vitamins.

An observational study of Spanish eating habits revealed that meat and products were the most important sources of thiamine and niacin.

Here is the B vitamin content in a sirloin steak cut at 3.5 ounces (100 grams). This steak is half the size of the smaller steaks served in restaurants.

  • Thiamine (B1): 5% of the RDI  
  • Riboflavin (B2): 8% of the RDI  
  • Niacin (B3): 39% of the RDI  
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 6% of the RDI  
  • Pyridoxine (B6): 31% of the RDI  
  • Cobalamin (B12): 29% of the RDI

Turkey and Chicken

Most notable are turkey and chicken for their high levels of niacin. The amount of these vitamins is higher in white meat (such as the breast) than in dark meat (such as the thigh).


Yogurt is known for its high levels of riboflavin as well as B12. Although nutrition can vary by brand, yogurt serves approximately 44, 45, 46TrustedSource, 47).

Remember that most frozen and refrigerated yogurts contain 3-4 teaspoons of added sugars per 2/3 cup serving.

Many non-dairy yogurt options are also available in stores, including almonds, coconut, and fermented soy yogurts. These products, unless they are fortified, don’t provide good sources of B12 or riboflavin.


The high levels of folate found in legumes are the most prominent feature. Other B vitamins are also found in small quantities, such as thiamine and riboflavin.

Here’s the folate content for a half-cup (85-grams) of common legumes.

  • Black beans: 32% of the RDI  
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): 35% of the RDI  
  • Edamame (green soybeans): 60% of the RDI  
  • Green peas: 12% of the RDI  
  • Kidney beans: 29% of the RDI  
  • Lentils: 45% of the RDI  
  • Pinto beans: 37% of the RDI  
  • Roasted soy nuts: 44% of the RDI

Folate, or its synthetic form, folic acid, is essential for reducing certain birth defects. The RDI percentages shown above assume an RDI of 400 mg, while pregnant women require 600 mg daily .

Clams, Oysters, and Mussels

Mussels, mussels, and clams are excellent sources of B12 as well as riboflavin. They also contain smaller amounts of folate, niacin, and thiamine.

These shellfish also contain high levels of protein and many minerals such as iron, selenium, manganese, and zinc. They are a good source of omega-3 oils.

Brewer’s and Nutritional Yeast 

Inactive nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast can’t be used to make bread. They are used to enhance the flavor and nutritional profile of dishes.

These yeasts naturally have B vitamins and are often supplemented with them, particularly nutritional yeast. You’ll find the ingredients of any nutrients added to the label.

Vegans and vegetarians often use nutritional yeast. It’s fortified in B12, which can be difficult to get if you don’t eat animal products .

Nutrition yeast’s nutty-cheesy taste makes it a popular seasoning. However, Brewer’s yeast can be bitter, so it is best to add it to foods such as soups, salad dressings, and smoothies.

Fortified Cereal

Many breakfast cereals contain thiamine and riboflavin. Some cereals contain as much as 100% of the RDI. It is important to choose whole grain cereals with minimal sugar.


Trout is rich in vitamin B12, riboflavin and thiamine. You will also find plenty of protein and omega-3 fats in trout.

Sunflower Seeds

One of the most potent sources of pantothenic acids is found in sunflower seeds. This B vitamin is named after the Greek word “pantos,” which means “everywhere” in Greek. It can be found in almost all plant and animal foods but in very small quantities (source).

Amazingly, a single ounce (28g) of sunflower seed contains 20% of the RDI of pantothenic acids. Sunflower seeds also contain niacin and folate.

Sunflower seed butter is a popular choice for people with nut allergies. It’s also a great source of pantothenic acids.


Pork is high in thiamine and riboflavin. Pork loin cuts are leaner and less calorie-dense than the shoulder, spareribs, and bacon.


A healthy diet starts with an adequate intake of the eight complex vitamins.

Meat (especially liver), seafood, and eggs are the top sources of B vitamins.

Your chances of developing B vitamin deficiencies could increase if you limit your intake of certain food groups or because of allergies.

You can track your food intake online to see if you are getting enough B vitamins. The program will allow you to adjust your eating habits so that you get the vitamins you need.


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