The eight vitamins that compose the vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) are vital in the regulation of the body’s metabolic processes, and in the normal functioning of the circulatory and nervous systems. A deficiency in vitamin B could lead to body weakness, fatigue and inability to cope with stress, and may even predispose you to develop cardiovascular problems and neurological disorders. While it can be found in a wide variety of food sources, vitamin B is water soluble, and thus is easily lost through the process of cooking. In addition, a diet rich in refined sugar and processed foods can lead to vitamin B deficiency. In order to offset deficiencies in the diet, you should increase your intake of vitamin B. This could be accomplished through the following nine ways.
1. Lean Meats
Animal products, such as chicken, lamb, beef and pork muscle flesh, are excellent sources of vitamin B. If you are conscious of your fat intake, you should just simply trim off the fats from the meat. One very rich source of vitamin B is calf liver. If you want to get the most vitamin B out of your meats, you should preferably cook them through steaming, instead of boiling or frying. Boiling especially causes great losses of vitamin B from meat.
2. Green Leafy Vegetables
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin B. Examples include spinach, turnip greens and bok choy. However, for the vitamin to be retained while cooking, it is best that vegetables are steamed to minimize the loss of vitamin B.
Legumes are excellent sources of vitamin B. Particularly rich in this vitamin are black beans, navy beans and peas.
Fruits such as oranges and cantaloupes don’t just contain vitamin C. They are rich in vitamin B as well.
5. Root Crops, Seeds and Nuts
Potatoes (steamed or baked, but not fried) are rich sources of vitamin B. Instead of eating junk foods, munch on vitamin B-rich seeds. Seeds that are rich in the B complex vitamins include peanuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, sesame seeds, apricot kernels, pumpkin seeds and soy nuts.
6. Dairy Products
Dairy products such as milk and yogurt are rich in vitamin B. Cheese especially is loaded with B complex vitamins, specifically vitamins B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B7 (biotin) and B9 (folic acid).
Regularly eat salmon, halibut, snapper and shrimp, because they are particularly rich in vitamin B12 (cobalamin).
8. Grains and Cereals
Eat more rice bran or long-grain brown rice instead of white polished rice. Instead of white bread, eat more wheat bread or wheat germ cereals, which are loaded with vitamin B1 (thiamine).
9. Vitamin B Supplements
If your diet is still not sufficient to meet your body’s vitamin B needs, consider taking B complex vitamin supplements. However, you should consult a doctor first to know if there is indeed an existing deficiency, so that the appropriate dose can be prescribed.