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You’ve likely heard how important Vitamin B12 is for healthy nerve function and a healthy metabolism, but what about the other B vitamins? Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic Acid), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B7 (biotin), Vitamin B9 (folate), and Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) are all critical for a healthy body, including everything from metabolism and energy to nerve function, mental focus, and for healthy digestion.

Most omnivores rely on animal products for their B vitamins, since B vitamins are found abundantly in animal foods like dairy, chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, pork, and red meat. However, vegans can still get these important vitamins. Here are some sources of B vitamins found in a vegan diet. While it’s possible to obtain a small amount of B vitamins from these sources, it’s important to not just rely on these sources since the amounts can vary. Vegans need to seek nutritional advice regarding supplementing certain vitamins. Here is a list of vegan B12 supplements to check out as well.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Functions: converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin, and aids in mental focus and brain function.

Sources: baker’s yeast (active yeast), nutritional yeast (nonactive yeast), coriander, pine nuts, Jerusalem artichokes, hibiscus tea, watermelon, whole grains, acorn squash, rice bran, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts (or butter), tahini, sesame seeds, green peas, most beans, asparagus.

Try this delicious Indian dish with mushrooms and peas to get a great dose of Vitamin B1.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Functions: converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin, and aids in mental focus and brain function.

Sources: cereal grasses, whole grains, almonds, sesame seeds, spinach, mushrooms, beet greens, quinoa, buckwheat, and prunes.

This amazing raw vegan chocolate mousse is a great way to indulge and get a nice amount of Vitamin B2.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Functions: converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin, and aids in mental focus and brain function.

Sources:  baker’s yeast (active yeast), nutritional yeast (nonactive yeast), coffee, chili powder, peanuts, peanut butter, rice bran, mushrooms, barley, durian fruit, potatoes, tomatoes, millet, chia, whole grains, wild rice, buckwheat, green peas, avocados, sunflower seeds, tahini.

Here’s a delicious raw pea and avocado green soup for a nice dose of Vitamin B3.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Functions: converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin, and aids in mental focus and brain function.

Sources: baker’s yeast (active yeast), nutritional yeast (nonactive yeast), paprika, mushrooms, sunflower seeds (and sun butter), whole grains, broccoli, mushrooms, avocados, tomatoes, rice bran, sweet potatoes.

Here’s a dish that combines tempeh, quinoa, and nutritional yeast to give you a nice dose of Vitamin B5.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Functions: aids in maintaining homeostasis, prevents anxiety by helping the amino acid tryptophan convert to niacin and serotonin for healthy nerve function, and also helps ensure a healthy sleep cycle, appetite, mood, red blood cell production, and immune function.

Sources:  bananas, watermelon, peanut butter, almonds, sweet potatoes, green peas, avocados, hemp seeds, chia seeds, beans, rice bran, chickpeas, prunes, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, pineapple, plantains, hearts of palm, artichokes, water chesnuts, all squash and pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, green beans, pistachios, figs, nutritional yeast, baker’s yeast (active yeast), garlic, sage, peppers, kale, collards.

Make these yummy sweet potato and kale patties for a great dose of Vitamin B6.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Functions: converts food to energy, helps reduce blood sugar by synthesizing glucose, helps make and break down fatty acids, needed for healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Sources: almonds, chia, peanuts, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, onions, oats, tomatoes, carrots, walnuts.

Make a batch of these chunky vegan peanut butter cookies to get a delicious dose of biotin for dessert!

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Functions: merges with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C to utilize proteins and is essential for healthy brain development and for healthy red blood cell formation, essential for pregnant women to get enough of.

Sources: spinach, beans, lentils, asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, mangoes, oranges, most whole grains, nutritional yeast (nonactive yeast), baker’s yeast (active yeast), basil, peanuts, artichokes, cantaloupe, walnuts, flax, sesame, cauliflower, tahini, sunflower seeds, peas, okra, celery, hazelnuts, mint, leeks, chestnuts.

Folate is plentiful in these amazing vegan stuffed mushrooms that make the perfect appetizer or light lunch.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Functions: red blood cell production,  needed for optimal brain function to prevent depression and mania, aids in digestion, improves iron uptake, critical for all aspects of health.

Sources:  fortified cereals (choose an organic, non-GMO brand), fortified almond milk (brands vary), fortified coconut milk (brands vary), some vegan protein powders, and nutritional yeast (one of the best).

As you can see, you can usually obtain all the B vitamins you need from vegan foods alone. You should take specific caution to take a Vitamin B12 supplement if you do not take one already.

Easy Ways to Help the Planet:

  • Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
  • Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion Pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
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