Many people do not get enough thiamine in their diet, but adding thiamine rich foods in your diet is easier than you might think. The key to meeting your thiamine needs is to include plenty of nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains in your diet every day.
Choosing Thiamine Rich Foods
Avoid a thiamine (or vitamin B1) deficiency by increasing your intake of thiamine by including more thiamine rich foods in your daily diet. Many plant foods are sources of thiamine. Examples of foods especially rich in this vitamin include sunflower seeds, soybeans, and peanuts. In general, other good sources of thiamine include nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Here is a list of foods that naturally contain thiamine:
- Brewer's yeast
- Wheat Germ
- Brown Rice
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pine nuts
- Brazil Nuts
- Pinto Beans
- Red Beans
- Split Peas
- Navy Beans
- Lima beans
- Wild Rice
- Mung beans
- Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
- Green Peas
Enriched and Fortified Foods
Many foods are enriched or fortified with thiamine in an effort to reduce thiamine deficiency. This means thiamine is added into a food that either lost it during processing or that never had contained thiamine to begin with. Be sure to read labels to make sure products you buy contain thiamine (vitamin B1). Some examples of enriched and fortified foods include:
- Non-dairy nut milks
Tips for Getting Plenty of Thiamine
There are plenty of simple ways to include thiamine rich foods in your diet:
- Sprinkle brewer's yeast on salads, pasta, chili, and soups.
- Choose brown rice over white rice.
- Choose whole wheat or rye over white bread for making sandwiches.
- Choose whole wheat or corn tortillas over white flour tortillas.
- Choose burritos and chip dips that contain pinto beans.
- Keep nuts in your car or desk to eat for a snack.
- Have oatmeal for breakfast- just one cup contains over 1.25 mg of thiamine!
- Substitute half of the white flour with whole wheat flour when baking.
- Add oats to cookies when baking them at home.
- Have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.
- Apple slices or celery sticks dipped in peanut butter make a great snack!
- Be adventurous and try a new type of nut or seed butter the next time you are craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Delicious options include sunflower seed, hazelnut, cashew, and almond butter.
While it is best to obtain your nutrients from whole foods whenever possible, a B-complex vitamin supplement is an option if you are worried about your thiamine levels. A supplement can help you to "top-up" and make sure your needs are being met for thiamine and the other B-vitamins. Look for supplements that do not contain artificial ingredients, including artificial colors.
Speak to a Healthcare Professional
If you are concerned you may not be getting enough thiamine, please speak with your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner. A registered dietitian can work with you to develop an individual meal plan to increase your daily intake of thiamine.