The B-group vitamins are composed of 8 members, and the very first member discovered by scientists is B1 — hence, the name. Also known as thiamine, this nutrient is important for the conversion of food into energy and the production of red blood cells. Just like the rest of the B-vitamins, vitamin B1 is also important for a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that excessive amounts of it simply exit the body via the urine. It is also sometimes referred to as the anti-stress vitamin due to its ability to bolster the immune system as well as enhance your body’s ability to withstand stress. Being deficient in this nutrient is very rare because there are so many plant and animal sources of it. However, it’s not unlikely for those with anorexia and Crohn’s disease to be deficient in thiamine. The same is true for individuals who are going through kidney dialysis.
Deficiency in vitamin B1 produces symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, nausea, headache, irritability and depression. Abdominal pain and inability to digest carbohydrates take place when there’s inadequate amount of the nutrient in the body. Severe deficiency in vitamin B1 may result in beriberi, a condition wherein there’s inflammation of the nerves as well as heart failure. Beriberi is rare in developed countries due to the availability of food products fortified with thiamine.
The following are some of the most excellent sources of this very important nutrient:
- Asparagus – A cup of this vegetable belonging to the lily family packs as much as 24% of your daily requirement of vitamin B1. Asparagus is also loaded with fiber that regulates bowel movement and lowers your risk of colon cancer. It’s also a phenomenal source of vitamin K which helps keep calcium in your bones.
- Sunflower seeds – Munching on a 1/4-cup serving of sunflower seeds allows you to obtain a whopping 43% of your recommended daily allowance of the nutrient in the spotlight. Sunflower seeds are also packed with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that is essential for young and healthy skin.
- Navy beans – Aside from protein and fiber, navy beans also supply your body with good amounts of vitamin B1. In fact, you can obtain 36% of all the vitamin B1 you need in a day by having a cup of it. Many other beans are also great sources of the nutrient. They include green peas, dried peas, black beans, lima beans and pinto beans.
- Oats – A bowl of oats in the morning may actually supply just the right amount of thiamine you need for the day. That’s because a 1/4-cup serving of this fiber-rich treat packs as much as 25% of your daily need of the nutrient. Oats also supply your body with minerals like manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous and copper.
- Tuna – It’s no secret that tuna is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that help lower bad cholesterol. But did you know that this oily fish is also a good source of vitamin B1? Every 4-oz serving of it contains 13% of your recommended daily thiamine requirement. Tuna also provides protein and vitamin D, a nutrient necessary for proper calcium absorption.
- Pineapple – Evidently, pineapple is a wonderful source of vitamin C that’s important for healthy skin and a strong immune system. Aside from this really powerful antioxidant, pineapple also contains thiamine. Consuming a cup of it allows you to obtain about 11% of your daily requirement of the said nutrient.
- Spinach – A cup of spinach yields 14% of your vitamin B1 dose for the day. Including spinach in your diet also helps keep your eyes healthy because it is rich in vitamin A. What’s more, spinach is an amazing source of vitamin K, something so important for calcium absorption and blood coagulation.
- Barley – A 1/3-cup serving of barley supplies your body with 33% of the vitamin B1 you need daily. Barley is also a good source of manganese, a mineral important for healthy skin and bones. It is also loaded with molybdenum, something which has antioxidant properties.