Everyone wants to tell you how important Vitamin C is, and Vitamin D has recently become a big deal with many nutritionists, but what about Vitamin B? We understand Vitamin B can be more complex, since there are eight types; however, getting enough of these helps reduce your risk of stroke, and lets you enjoy countless other health benefits. Want to know more about these killer Bs? Here’s a handy guide to each one and where you can find it.
B1 AKA Thiamine
What you need to know - Vitamin B1 helps the body break down carbohydrates more efficiently. Studies have also shown that it can boost your immune system, as well as help fight off beriberi, a disease which can cause a loss of sensation in extremities, and even heart failure. People who drink alcohol are most at risk of having a vitamin B1 deficiency.
Where to get it - Eating peanuts or whole wheat bread will ensure you fill your vitamin B1 quota in no time.
B2 AKA Riboflavin
What you need to know - Don’t let the funny name fool you; riboflavin is necessary to live a healthy life. Vitamin B2 will help keep your blood cells healthy and your skin glowing, as well as providing you with some extra energy throughout the day. Initial research also shows riboflavin may prevent migraine headaches, but this hasn’t been proven completely.
Where to get it - Meat and dairy products have the vitamin B2 you need.
B3 AKA Niacin
What you need to know - Looking to increase your good cholesterol, which will in turn reduce your bad cholesterol? Eating foods rich in vitamin B3 can assist you with that noble cause. Most balanced diets will already see you getting enough of this vitamin, so it’s unlikely you need to worry about it too much.
Where to get it - Beans are among the best sources of vitamin B3.
B5 AKA Pantothenic
What you need to know - This vitamin is water-soluble, and a necessary component of your diet each day. The good news is that it is in a wide range of foods, and you probably get enough of it without even trying. This B vitamin helps with the body’s production of hormones.
Where to get it - Green vegetables, especially avocados, contain B5.
B6 AKA Pyridoxine
What you need to know - You will want to make sure you are getting enough vitamin B6; it is involved in a lot of the body’s important processes, including the metabolization of amino acids, the building of red blood cells, and the production of melatonin and serotonin. The latter are key elements in getting a good night’s sleep.
Where to find it - B6 can be found in white meat like chicken, or fatty fish such as tuna.
B7 AKA Biotin
What you need to know - If you want healthier-looking skin and hair, then forget the expensive plastic surgery and instead invest in foods rich in vitamin B7. Studies have shown biotin has the ability to keep you looking young.
Where to find it - Most meats, as well as potatoes, contain vitamin B7.
B9 AKA Folate
What you need to know - If you are pregnant or nursing, vitamin B9 is vital to helping promote growth and prevent brain and spine injuries in your child. Pregnant women in particular are likely to have a folate deficiency, and so should look to eat foods rich in vitamin B9. Folate is also referred to as folic acid.
Where to find it - Spinach and kale are chock full of folate, and your doctor may be able to prescribe a vitamin B9 supplement if necessary.
B12 AKA Cobalamin
What you need to know - Vitamin B12 plays an important role in keeping red blood cells healthy, and building new ones. Those who suffer from a B12 deficiency are likely to experience weakness and fatigue. Since B12 can only be found in meat products, vegans and vegetarians are most at risk of deficiency, and should either be taking a supplement or eating vitamin B12-enriched food to ensure they are getting enough.
Where to find it - You’ll find vitamin B12 in meat including pork, beef and fish.
Want more helpful hints on what you need in your diet to live a happy and healthy life? Our pharmacists have years of experience and lots of good advice on what you should and shouldn’t be eating.