How do I Choose the Best Foods with Vitamin B?

Shelby Miller
Shelby Miller
Bowl of cooked oatmeal.
Bowl of cooked oatmeal.

Vitamin B is a complex of eight vitamins that are recognized for their role in energy metabolism, skin health, muscle development, improving immune system function, supporting the nervous system, and building cells, especially red blood cells. While vitamin supplementation can assist in getting more vitamin B where it may be lacking in the diet, nutrition experts recommend getting this essential nutrient through food as it can be more fully absorbed this way. Foods with vitamin B include animal foods like liver, tuna, salmon, chicken, eggs, and unpasteurized milk. Plant foods with vitamin B include bananas, potatoes, whole grains like those found in cereal, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal, lentils, beans, and yeast.

Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6.
Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6.

Not just one vitamin but eight distinct nutrients, the vitamin B complex includes B1, or thiamine; B2, or riboflavin; B3, or niacin; Before , or pantothenic acid; B5, or pyridoxine; B6, or biotin; B7, or folic acid; and B12, or cyanocobalamin. Like vitamin C, the B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that any consumed in excess will be excreted from the body in urine and that vitamin B toxicity is fairly rare. Vitamin B deficiency, however, can result from a lack of one or more of the B vitamins and presents with symptoms ranging from nervous system dysfunction to skin problems to anemia. Therefore, it is recommended to consume a variety of foods with vitamin B.

Salmon is high in vitamin B.
Salmon is high in vitamin B.

Animal foods are a particularly good source of vitamin B. The livers of animals like chickens, cows, and pigs, for instance, are rich in thiamine, niacin, and biotin, as are eggs. Niacin, pantothenic acid, and cyanocobalamin are plentiful in ocean fish like salmon and tuna, with the latter B vitamin found only in animal foods. Chicken, pork, and beef are also among the animal foods with vitamin B, especially thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and cyanocobalamin. Milk, cheese, and yogurt supply many of these as well.

Whole wheat bread contains vitamin B.
Whole wheat bread contains vitamin B.

Vegetarians need not miss out on this essential vitamin, however, as many foods with vitamin B come from plants. Many beans, lentils, and green vegetables are rich in vitamin B, especially riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid, a particularly important B vitamin for pregnant women. Whole-grain foods like whole-wheat tortillas and oatmeal are a good source of thiamine, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine. Additionally, many nuts like peanuts are rich in B vitamins like thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine, and biotin. Whether from plant or animal foods, it is recommended to get one’s vitamin B from whole foods, which are more nutrient-dense than processed foods.

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Discussion Comments


@StarJo - I love roasting slices of potatoes in the way you described! Another take on that is to do pretty much the same thing but with wedges (or slices) of beetroots instead. If anyone else knows some more healthy recipes that are rich in vitamin B, I'd love to see them!


@andee - It's good to derive vitamins from eating natural, unprocessed foods, such as nuts, but it should be done so in moderation. Nuts contain a very high amount of fat, so eating too much on a daily basis could end up as additional weight or even cholesterol problems. Are there other foods that contain Vitamin B that are suitable for light snacking?


Just a general question about vitamins. Do other types of vitamins (A, C, D etc) also have different nutrients the way vitamin B does (eg: B1, B2 etc.)?


@speechie - I would suggest these foods high in vitamin b12: shellfish, fish, eggs and cheese. And although they are not the hight sources of vitamin b12, most dairy products are rather good sources of b12.

And if she would like to go the supplement route, there is a specific supplement for vitamin b12, but I would suggest eating the real food. I have read some articles recently that note that the interplay of the other nutrients in foods that contain vitamins and minerals help the absorption of those substances.

But I know of quite a few people who have received orders from their doctors to take supplements, so I would think they would be a good substitute!


I have a friend who is pregnant whose doctor was worried about her vitamin B intake, and as she began to read about vitamin B12 in particular she has been searching for foods with vitamin B12 as she found it is crucial to brain and nervous system functioning as well as the formation of blood?

Any ideas on which foods contain in particular vitamin b12?


@elizabeth23 - I know what you mean I have had co-workers who are determined that I have a deficiency constantly because they think they see a change in my skin tone.

The foods high in B vitamins that I try and eat are avocados and instant oatmeal flavored with apples and cinnamon because I can eat them daily and they have an immense amount of nutrients in them - and most importantly to me : These foods are low on processed components and high on the "real food" factor!


When you are a vegetarian, like me, this is one of the questions people ask a little too often -- "Where do you get your B vitamins?" While not as constant as the ones about iron and protein, it can be annoying if you are a vegetarian with serious dietary dedication, which I try to be.

You can get these vitamins from eggs, beans, leafy greens, even other vegetables. That alone is enough for me, because I eat a few eggs a week- they're so delicious and easy to prepare.

There are also a lot of supplements available. While I try not to rely on them, it is helpful to know I get some from my multivitamin, too.

So, it really can be possible to get enough as a vegetarian -- don't worry too much about us, really.


I recently thought that I needed to be getting more vitamin B12, because my energy level was pretty low. Then, I found a list of foods high in B12, and some of them, I would never eat.

Sardines, liver, mollusks, and lamb do not appeal to me whatsoever. They are pretty excellent sources of B12. I considered that my level might be low because of this.

Then, I found beef, turkey, chicken, tuna, and salmon on the list. That made me feel a lot better, because I eat all of the above. I guess my low energy must be caused by something other than a B12 deficiency.


I’m glad to hear that potatoes are high in vitamin B. I am addicted to them, and I eat several servings a day.

Though I am guilty of eating potato chips and fries often, I do eat potatoes prepared in more healthy ways. I like to slice them in thin rounds, coat them with olive oil, and sprinkle them with season-all. Then, I bake them for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. They go great with just about any meal.

I also make mashed potatoes and boiled potatoes. When I boil them, I put parsley, garlic, black pepper, and salt in the water to give them flavor.


The blender I got for my birthday has played a large part in helping me and my husband get our daily supply of B vitamins. We have discovered that we love fruit smoothies, particularly ones containing bananas and milk.

The combinations I can make are endless, but my favorite is the strawberry banana smoothie. I let bananas ripen, and then I peel them, break them into chunks, and freeze them. I use about five frozen strawberries and one frozen banana, along with half a cup of milk in each smoothie.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t get any vitamin B from milk, because I don’t like to drink it straight. The smoothie makes it delicious.


According to this article, I am in good shape as far as getting plenty of B vitamins! Most of the foods listed are among the ones I eat daily, particularly bananas and potatoes. I eat chicken several times a week, and I always buy whole grain products.

I have found a twelve-grain loaf bread that is delicious. You can actually see and feel the grains all over the bread, and you even get a slight crunch while chewing them. I just feel healthy while eating this bread.

Other whole grain products that I eat include crackers, English muffins, pasta, and cereal. I check the ingredients to make sure that whole grains are listed instead of just enriched wheat flour.


If you are a vegetarian, it might be hard for you to get adequate amounts of vitamin B from the foods you eat.

Many of the foods rich in vitamin B are naturally found in animal products such as meat and eggs. While I don't consider myself a vegetarian, I don't eat as much of these products as I should to get adequate amounts of vitamin B.

I take a supplement that contains all of the B vitamins. Biotin is one of the most expensive B vitamins and is one that many companies don't put very much in. I make sure that my supplement contains high amounts of all the B vitamins.


I know that all of the B vitamins are important, but it seems like I hear a lot about Vitamin B6. When I was looking for ways to get more of this vitamin from the foods I eat, I found out it was not as easy as I thought it would be.

Many of the vegetable foods with Vitamin B6 are ones that I don't care for. I like most fresh vegetables, but spinach, cabbage and squash are not among my favorites.

Another way to get some B vitamins in your diet is through some good breakfast cereals. I have cereal most mornings for breakfast, so this sounded like a much better option for me.

Some of the high fiber bran cereals also have good amounts of B vitamins. This can be a good option as long as you avoid those that contain a lot of sugar.


While reading through the list of food that naturally contain B vitamins, I find that I don't like very many of those foods, and rarely eat them. I know that it is important to get B vitamins in my diet, so that is the biggest reason I take a B complex supplement.

B vitamins are important and can really help with your energy levels. If I am feeling tired and run down, I try to increase the amount of B vitamins I am getting.

The foods high in Vitamin B that I do eat a lot of are nuts and lentils. I don't think you get quite as much Vitamin B this way as you would naturally from animal products, but they are much more appealing to me and I have no trouble eating many different kinds of nuts.

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      Bowl of cooked oatmeal.
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