Vitamin B Rich Foods

Annette McDermott
Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN
Vitamin B-rich foods

The vitamin B family has many benefits, so including vitamin B rich foods can be a smart move when planning your diet. In addition to being an immune system booster and keeping the brain in shape, vitamin B helps maintain healthy skin and energy levels.

Why Vitamin B Is Important

Vitamin B is actually a whole family of closely related, yet distinctly different, vitamins. The vitamin B complex, as it is called, consists of vitamin B1 (aka Thiamin), B2 (aka Riboflavin), B3 (aka Niacin), B5 (aka Pantothenic Acid), B9 (Folate), B6 and B12.

The benefits of vitamin B include prevention of anemia, diabetes and heart disease, and help the preservation of the skin, nervous system and mental clarity. It is also a potent digestive system aid and immunity booster, which accelerates wound healing and may even have cancer-fighting properties thanks to the anti-free radical effects of vitamin B2.

On the flip side, a vitamin B deficit may bring about ailments including:

  • The nervous system disorder Berberi
  • Cracked lips and other mouth problems
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Acne
  • Anemia
  • Bloating
  • Skin problems
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Neural damage

It should also be noted that it is very difficult to overdose on vitamin B through eating food; however, large amounts can cause side effects. As a result, you should talk to your doctor before taking vitamin B supplements or increasing your intake of B vitamins in an attempt to treat an ailment.

Vitamin B Rich Foods

Some members of the vitamin B family are especially common as vitamin fortification in everyday foods - Vitamin B12 in particular, since it appears as an additive in everything from granola bars and TV-dinners to practically every single product in the cereal aisle. Others require a little more digging, but here are some sure bets in terms of vitamin B content.

Food B1 (Thiamin) Per Serving B2 (Riboflavin) Per Serving B3 (Niacin) Per Serving B5 (Pantothenic Acid) Per Serving B6 Per Serving B9 (Folate) Per Serving B12 Per Serving
Beef (1 piece cooked, 10 oz.) 0.1 mg 0.9 mg 17.1 mg 2.7 mg 0.1 mg 12.3 mg 15.5 mcg

Beef Liver (1 slice (2.8 oz. cooked)

0.1 mg 2.8 mg 14.2 mg 5.6 mg 0.8 mg 211 mcg 67.3 mcg
Wild Salmon (1/2 filet cooked) 0.4 mg 0.7 mg 15.5 mg 3.0 mg 1.5 mg 44.7 mcg 4.7 mcg
Oats (1 cup) 1.2 mg 0.2 mg 1.5 mg 2.1 mg 0.2 mg 87.4 mcg 0.0 mcg
Tuna (canned in water, 1 can, 4 oz.) 0.0 mg 0.1 mg 10.0 mg 0.2 mg 0.4 mg 3.4 mcg 2.0 mcg
Turkey Breast (cooked, 4 oz.) 0.1 mg 0.1 mg 7.1 mg 0.7 mg 0.5 mg 6.7 mcg 0.4 mcg
Eggs (1 cup, hard boiled) 0.1 mg 0.7 mg 0.1 mg 1.9 mg 0.2 mg 59.8 mcg 1.5 mcg
Bananas (1 cup, raw, mashed) 0.1 mg 0.2 mg 1.5 mg 0.8 mg 0.8 mg 45.0 mcg 0.0 mcg
Potatoes (1 large baked) 0.2 mg 0.1 mg 4.2 mg 1.1 mg 0.9 mg 83.7 mcg 0.0 mcg
Avocado (1 cup pureed) 0.2 mg 0.3 mg 4.4 mg 3.4 mg 0.7 mg 205 mcg 0.0 mcg
Kidney Beans (1 cup) 0.3 mg 0.1 mg 1.1 mg 0.4 mg 0.2 mg 92.1 mcg 0.0 mcg
Summer Squash (1 cup raw) 0.1 mg 0.2 mg 0.6 mg 0.2 mg 0.2 mg 32.8 mcg 0.0 mcg
Spinach (1 cup raw) 0.0 mg 0.1 mg 0.2 mg 0.0 mg 0.1 mg 58.2 mcg 0.0 mcg
Almonds (1 cup whole) 0.3 mg 1.4 mg 4.8 mg 0.7 mg 0.2 mg 71.5 mcg 0.0 mcg
Milk (2 percent, 1 cup) 0.1 mg 0.5 mg 0.2 mg 0.9 mg 0.1 mg 12.2 mcg 1.1 mcg

Vitamin content varies quite a bit between brands, cooking method and food quality, so be attentive to the declared vitamin content when scrutinizing your options in the store. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of the vitamin B complex is:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) -- 1.5 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) -- 1.8 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) -- 20 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) -- 4 to 7 mg
  • Vitamin B6 -- 2 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate) -- 400 mcg
  • Vitamin B12 -- 2 mcg

Other Options

If you find it difficult to get enough vitamin B from the foods you eat, keep in mind there are many brands of high quality, but reasonably priced, vitamin B complex supplements readily available online, at your local health food store or grocery pharmacy department.

However, don't forget to be an informed customer if you decide to go the supplementation route. Unlike pharmaceuticals, there's virtually no oversight of the supplement industry. Only buy trusted brands that have been around for a while and can show a track record of providing quality goods.

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet for Maximum Health

Since even a minor deficiency of vitamin B can cause problems, be sure to add the above foods to your daily, well-balanced diet. Not only will they help keep your vitamin B levels at optimum levels, but provide you with other vital nutrients necessary for good health.

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Vitamin B Rich Foods