B vitamins are super important, especially for those who follow a plant-based diet.
I’m sure you’ve heard it said that our bodies are well-oiled machines. Just like any machine, it takes certain components to make them run smoothly, such as balanced exercise, a nutritious diet, and certain vitamins and minerals.
Depending on what diet we are following, we may inadvertently deprive ourselves of certain vitamins. B vitamins in particular are important to our body because they help our cells function. They not only help produce and maintain new cell growth, but they keep the metabolism running, help balance hormones, keep neurotransmitters running, and help synthesize energy.
What you may not know is that B vitamins are actually made up of 8 distinct vitamins, including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, Biotin (b7), folate (B9), and vitamin B12. Each of these distinct vitamins has its own function, so the moral of the story is, you really should make an effort to add them to your diet naturally.
B vitamins cannot be stored in the body, so they have to be taken every day in order to get the full benefits. For people who follow plant- based diets, its especially important to get enough B12, because it isn’t naturally occurring in vegetables.
Here are five unexpected foods to help add more B vitamins to your diet.
Bananas- Bananas offer 20% of your daily B6, and also contain niacin, folate, and plenty of potassium, as I’m sure you know.
Nutritional Yeast- Many brands of nutritional yeast offer 100% of your daily dose of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, B6, and B12. All it really takes is one tablespoon. And if you haven’t tried kale chips made with nutritional yeast, DO IT NOW!
Avocado- We all love a good avocado, but here is a reason to love them more. In just half an avocado, you’ll find over 10% of your daily recommendation for B5, B6, folate, niacin, and riboflavin.
Mushrooms- A ½ cup of mushrooms provides over 25% of your daily dose of B vitamins. Shitakes are great for B5, while white, oyster, and portobello mushrooms are great for thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6.
Chickpeas- Kidney beans, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas are all great for protein, fiber, and B vitamins. One cup of canned chickpeas is chock full of folate, B5, and B6 (55% of your daily recommendation, no less). As if you needed it, this is one more reason to love hummus.