Vitamin B1 is one of the most essential vitamins required by the body. It is a water soluble vitamin and plays a key role in carrying out the metabolic activities of the system. Vitamin B1 helps convert carbohydrates into energy. It improves the nervous system, and prevents numbness and tingling in body parts. A deficiency of vitamin B1 can lead to loss of appetite and weight, constipation, fatigue, and depression.
There are several food sources of vitamin B1 including:
Brewer’s yeast: Brewer’s yeast, which contains 4.3 mg of thiamin per ounce, is the best source of vitamin B1.
Whole grains, cereals, and beans: Wheat germ, brown rice, rice bran, oatmeal, legumes, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and dried soybeans are all rich sources of vitamin B1. Of these, sunflower seeds are the best as they contain 3.3 mg of thiamine per 140 gm of seeds.
Meat: Most meat products like poultry, pork, liver, kidney, and fish are excellent sources of vitamin B1.
Unrefined, unprocessed, fortified food: Enriched flours, fortified breads, cereals, and pasta are all good sources of vitamin B1. Fortified food has added vitamin B1 and can be easily absorbed by the body. Egg yolk is also a vitamin B1 food source.
Dry fruits: Pistachio nuts, raw peanuts, Brazil nuts, dried pecans, and raisins are vitamin B1 rich food sources. High vitamin B1 content can be obtained from dry fruits if eaten dried and raw. The cooked and roasted dry fruits lose nearly 30 per cent of vitamin B1.
Green leafy vegetables: Mushroom, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peas, millet, cabbage, broccoli, avocados, raisins, and plums are some of the vegetables and fruits that are rich sources of vitamin B1.
Most vegetables and fruits listed above can provide maximum vitamin B1 benefits if eaten raw or in the form of salads. Excessive cooking of these vegetables results in a loss of at least 25 percent of the vitamin B1 content.
Though dairy products and vegetables are not the best sources for vitamin B1, they do provide the vitamin in small proportions. Dairy products help in balancing the diet by providing associated nutrients, which aid vitamin B1 absorption in the body.
Although vitamin B1 is available in the form of supplements like spirulina, these must be taken only under the guidance of a physician. Excessive intake of vitamin B1 supplements can cause sweating, restlessness, nausea, and, in some cases, even death.
Vitamin B1 deficiency can be seen in people who take carbohydrate rich food over a long time. Carbohydrate rich food like rice, cake, sugar juices, ice-creams, candies, and carbonated drinks, are low in vitamin B1.
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