The Vitamin B family, referred to as the Vitamin B complex is a collection of vitamins which play a critical selection of roles in our body.
The B vitamins are responsible for energy production, help with immunity, improve gut function, help in brain health and much more.
They are the critical vitamins required for helping our body adapt to, and deal with stress, and their wide selection of roles in our body means they are an incredibly important range to keep in adequate supply.
But the good news is, that there are lots of foods which are high in B vitamins, making it relatively easy to get your daily requirements from food intake alone.
In fact, this is the most reliable method, as supplements do not always allow for optimal extraction within your body and when consumed in the wrong internal body environments, do not allow you to take in the vitamins at all.
Many of the grain products we consume are made of a stripped down, refined version of grain, which lacks many of the nutrients that are typically affiliated with the heath value of consuming grains. As a result, many people have adverse reactions to these incomplete grains, and assume removing grains from their diet is the solution. In fact however, many ancient grains, such as amaranth, buckwheat, Spelt and quinoa are much better processed and digested by the body and are a great source of B vitamins, fiber and Vitamin E.
One of the best sources of B Vitamins, leafy greens, such as kale, collard, spinach and arugula contain nearly all the B vitamins and a host of other vitamins and minerals. Adding a daily intake of greens to your diet means you will get your Vitamin Bs, as well as Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, iron and much more. Make a salad or add greens to stir fries, smoothies, soups and stews.
Selections such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and black-eyed peas, all become an ideal way to get your B vitamins, while simultaneously getting a plant-based source of protein and boosting your daily dose of fiber. Legumes are perfect to add to dinners, such as curries, soups and stews, because the canned version is ready to go and requires minimal cooking time.
One of the top sources of Vitamin B3 and B5, wheat germ is derived from wheat and is a small flake-like ingredient that you can sprinkle on porridge, salads, stir into grain based dishes and enjoy toasted as a garnish. Just a few tablespoons is all you need to give your Bs a boost and it also is a great ingredient to use in baking. Added to muffins, banana bread, cookies or pancakes, it becomes an easy way to improve the health profile of your favourite treats.
If you find yourself increasingly fatigued, struggling with immunity related issues, or are under a lot of stress, adequate B vitamin intake is incredibly important. Consume more of these foods to keep your intake at a health level.
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH