(Natural News) When you’re following a plant-based diet, it’s important to eat various superfoods to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Consuming foods rich in B-vitamins is essential for your overall well-being, especially if you’re always stressed.
What are B-vitamins?
B-vitamins are made up of eight different vitamins that work together to keep your body strong and healthy:
- Thiamine (B1) – Thiamine is needed to break down sugar molecules from food.
- Riboflavin (B2) – Helps prevent migraines.
- Niacin (B3) – Coenzymes made from niacin are used in over 400 different enzyme reactions in your body.
- Pantothenic acid (B5) – Helps improve skin health.
- Pyridoxine (B6) – Needed for brain development and immune function.
- Biotin (B7) – Has a role in skin health.
- Folate (B9) – Reduces the risk of spina bifida and neurological birth defects during pregnancy.
- Vitamin B12 – Helps relieve depression.
Enzymes are proteins found in cells. They are behind all aspects of cellular functioning.
B-vitamins function as coenzymes to help your enzymes work and are involved in many bodily operations, such as:
- Balancing your hormones
- Boosting your energy levels
- Helping the body produce and maintain new cells
- Keeping neurotransmitters firing
- Keeping your heart beating
- Keeping your metabolism humming
B-vitamins also help fight PMS symptoms and relieve anxiety and stress. (Related: Eating for mental health: Foods that nourish your brain and fight depression.)
B-vitamins are water-soluble and can’t be stored by the body. This highlights the importance of getting your daily B-vitamin requirement from your diet to enjoy their health benefits.
While following a balanced diet ensures that you can get your B-vitamins, you also need to manage your stress levels.
Mia Lundin, a registered nurse and co-author of “The Hormone Balance Cookbook,” explained that being constantly stressed means you need to increase your B-vitamin intake. Lundin added that alcohol, caffeine, contraceptive pills, nicotine and sugar impair B-vitamin absorption.
Since plants don’t produce vitamin B12, strict vegetarians and vegans are at high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include brain fog, fatigue and tingling in your hands and feet.
To prevent deficiency, eat vitamin B12-rich foods or take supplements.
Detailed below are different foods rich in B-vitamins that you need to eat if you’re following a plant-based diet.
Avocados are full of fiber, magnesium, potassium and B-vitamins.
Half an avocado can provide over 10 percent of your daily requirement for vitamins B5, B6, folate, niacin and riboflavin.
Bananas are rich in potassium, but they also contain folate, niacin and 20 percent of your daily vitamin B6 requirement.
Beans are a great source of B-vitamins. Legumes such as black-eyed peas, chickpeas and kidney beans are rich in fiber, protein and B-vitamins.
A cup of canned chickpeas offers 55 percent of your daily value for vitamin B6.
Cantaloupe and papaya
Cantaloupe and papaya both contain beta-carotene and B-vitamins such as pyridoxine, folate, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine.
Fish and seafood
A three-ounce serving of clams (about 14 clams) contains more than 14 times your daily vitamin B12 needs. Other sources of B-vitamins include mussels, rainbow trout, tuna and wild salmon.
Asparagus, broccoli and leafy greens (e.g., mustard greens and spinach) are full of folate, which helps the body make new cells.
Portobellos, oyster and white mushrooms are rich in vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. Shiitake mushrooms also contain vitamin B5.
A half-cup serving of mushrooms provides over 25 percent of your daily dose.
Nuts and seeds
Sunflower seeds are full of B-vitamins. One serving (or four tablespoons) contains at least 25 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin B5.
Sunflower seeds also contain folate and vitamin B6.
Potatoes are a great source of vitamin B. Spuds contain fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
Potatoes are also rich in vitamin B6, folate, niacin and thiamine. A baked potato provides about 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin B6 — just take it easy on the butter.
Acorns, butternuts and pumpkins contain several B vitamins (B6, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin), fiber and vitamins A and C.
Whether you’re following a plant-based diet or not, it’s important to eat superfoods rich in B-vitamins like mushrooms, potatoes and sunflower seeds to boost your overall health.