Why are B Vitamins so important in our diet?

B Vitamins offer a range of health benefits from increasing energy, balancing hormones and the prevention of many conditions.

As they are a water-soluble vitamin, their properties are largely lost if you are boiling or microwaving foods so it is best to steam or stir fry to retain the nutrients.

There are different types of B vitamins and they can be found in a variety of foods:

B1 (thiamine) – It’s main function is in energy production but it also plays an important role in the nervous system function and nerve conduction.

Found in: potatoes wholegrain, nuts and seeds, lentils, beans, brown rice, oats, meat, fish.

B2 (riboflavin) – This has a few different functions such as energy production, drug metabolism, aiding in liver detoxification and has a role in regenerating antioxidants. It also helps your body to breakdown and use carbohydrates, proteins and fats in your diet.

Found in: meat, fish, dairy, eggs, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, legumes, yeast extract spread.

B3 (niacin) – This vitamin is again important in energy production as well as helping with insulin response, lowering LDL and increasing HDL.

Found in: meat and fish, mushrooms, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, tofu, brown rice.

B5 (pantothenic acid) – This is an important vitamin and is involved in over 100 different steps in the making of fats, neurotransmitters, hormones and haemoglobin.

It is found in a wide variety of foods including wholegrains, beef, chicken, broccoli, tomatoes, avocados, mushrooms.

B6 (pyridoxine) – this plays an important role in the production of serotonin (your happy hormone), it also helps to regulate hormones, and maintains blood sugar levels.

Found in: purple foods, potatoes, meat and fish, bananas, avocado, brown rice.

B9 (folate) – It’s main role is in DNA synthesis and cell growth and is crucial for the stability of genes. It also is essential for the formation of red and white blood cells.

Found in: leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, lentils.

B12 (cobalamin) – This is a very important vitamin and plays an important role in energy production, nerve function and the metabolism of all cells.

Found in foods with animal origin – meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, fortified cereals.