B vitamins are essential for many biological functions. The term “vitamin B” actually refers to a group of water-soluble vitamins that are essential to the metabolic activities of the cell. Here are the eight B vitamins and their functions. To ensure that you have an adequate intake of B vitamins, I’ve included some quick recipes to help you out:
Thiamine (B1) and niacin (B3) are necessary for carbohydrate metabolism (the breakdown of carbs into glucose, which is the body’s source of energy). Both thiamine and niacin are found in high protein foods like eggs, legumes, nuts and lean meats.
Quick recipe: Hummus. In a blender, whiz a can of drained chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a couple of tablespoons of tahini, salt and pepper. Serve with raw veggies and some flatbread.
Folic acid (B9) is needed to synthesize and repair DNA. It is essential in rapid cell division and growth, which is why babies and pregnant women need a lot of this vitamin. Spinach is an excellent source of folic acid.
Quick recipe: Cold spinach soup. Blend together until smooth some fresh spinach, milk, chopped onion, chopped dill, salt and pepper. Add yogurt and whiz until smooth. Chill before serving.
Riboflavin (B2) is used for many of the body’s processes. It boosts immune function and helps maintain healthy skin and hair. Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) is needed for the brain and nervous system to function normally. It is also essential in blood formation. A healthy diet with moderate amounts of milk and cheese will help prevent a deficiency of either of these two vitamins.
Quick recipe: Asparagus omelette. Whisk two farm fresh eggs, a couple of tablespoons of milk and a dash of salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour into a preheated, lightly oiled pan and cook until the eggs are barely set. Add a few spears of steamed asparagus, fold the omelette and serve immediately.
Pantothenic acid (B5) and biotin (B7) are used by the body to synthesize and metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fat. Pantothenic acid is used in hair and skin care products and is also used to treat acne and obesity. It might be possible to lose weight fast and healthily with an adequate intake of pantothenic acid. Broccoli and avocados excellent sources of these vitamins.
Quick recipe: Classic guacamole. Mash an avocado with lemon juice and crushed garlic. Stir in a finely chopped tomato, minced onion, a bit of ground cumin and a few drops of hot sauce. Serve with whole grain chips.
Pyridoxine (B6) is essential in maintaining the body’s sodium-potassium balance. It also promotes red blood cell production and is linked to a healthy cardiovascular system. Include nuts and grains in your healthy diet to ensure adequate intake of this type of vitamin B.
Quick recipe: In a large bowl, mix a slightly beaten egg white with a teaspoon of water. Add 4 cups mixed nuts, half a cup of sugar and a tablespoon pumpkin pie spice. Spread on a sheet pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Cool and break into clusters before serving.
I hope these recipes help you eat a well-balanced, healthy diet to ensure that you get all your vitamin B requirements!