Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, belongs to the group of B vitamins. Since it is the first B vitamin that was discovered, the number 1 was assigned to it. The last vitamin in this group is vitamin B12 although this collection includes only eight vitamins. You can read more about them as well as about the missing Bs in the vitamins infographic created by our team at MedAlertHelp.org. Here, we’ll give you a list of vitamin B1 foods and go into depth about the benefits of thiamine.
What Is Vitamin B1?
Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin responsible for energy metabolism, which means that it enables your body to transform food into energy. Another important vitamin B1 function is to support the nervous system. Just like other water-soluble vitamins, it is stored in small quantities, so you should take it regularly through your diet.
Vitamin B1 Benefits
The normal functioning of the heart, muscles, and the nervous system depends on this vitamin. Thiamine plays a key role in the process of transforming carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy needed for numerous vital functions. It also helps the body produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that transports energy within cells.
Since thiamine helps in releasing hydrochloric acid, it enhances digestion. Along with other B vitamins, vitamin B1 improves your body’s ability to cope with stress, which is why it’s often described as the “anti-stress” vitamin. It’s also used to enhance one’s memory and concentration. Moreover, thiamine is necessary for keeping the liver healthy, just like vitamin C.
What Foods Have Vitamin B1?
Some foods, like whole grains, meat, and fish, are naturally rich in vitamin B1. On the other hand, some foods such as bread and cereals are usually fortified with thiamine. Here we will provide you with a list of valuable sources of this nutrient. So remember to include these foods in your daily diet since the body isn’t able to store this water-soluble vitamin.
Moreover, it’s of great importance to point out that cooking foods with vitamin B1 reduces their thiamine content as heating destroys this vitamin. Also, certain dietary habits, such as drinking a lot of coffee or tea and eating lots of raw fish and shellfish, can decrease the body’s ability to use thiamine, which may lead to an inadequate intake of this important nutrient.
Here’s the complete list of foods high in vitamin B1.
Three ounces of beef steak provides you with 7% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin B1. On the other hand, beef liver contains more thiamine, and one serving of this type of meat will give you around 10% of the recommended DV of this essential nutrient. Moreover, beef is known for its high iron content, and it’s an excellent source of other essential nutrients, such as B12, zinc, and selenium.
Besides in beef, vitamin B1 can be found in other common meats. Thiamine concentration is even higher in pork than in beef since three ounces of broiled pork chop serve 27% of your DV of vitamin B1. This type of meat is also a great source of other B vitamins and some important minerals, like selenium and zinc.
This low-mercury fish can bring you a number of health benefits as it is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. Also, one serving (3.5 oz) of cooked salmon has 18% of your daily value of vitamin B1.
Three ounces of cooked mussels contain 20% of your DV of vitamin B1. In addition to belonging to foods with vitamin B2, they are also high in protein, B12, and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium.
A three-ounce serving of cooked tuna provides you with 13% of the recommended daily value of vitamin B1. Although it is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and selenium, you should be aware that it is often contaminated with mercury as well as with other toxins.
Being rich in 3-omega fatty acids and protein, this freshwater fish is considered to be very healthy. It’s also one of vitamin B6 foods, and it’s high in vitamin B1. If you eat three ounces of cooked trout, you will get 27% of your DV of this important nutrient.
Black beans, also known as turtle beans, are classified as legumes, which are generally high in protein and fiber. They also contain various B vitamins, including thiamine. Half a cup of boiled black beans serves 27% of your daily value of vitamin B1.
Acorn squashes also belong to foods high in vitamin B1 as half a cup of baked squash can provide you with 13% of your DV of thiamine. A good thing about this vegetable is that it is cholesterol free while it’s rich in numerous vitamins and minerals. For example, acorn squashes are great sources of vitamin C and vitamin A.
In one cup of cooked whole wheat macaroni, you will get 13% of your daily value of thiamine. In addition, this type of pasta is a great source of fiber. Some brands of macaroni are also enriched with iron.
Sunflower seeds are great sources of vitamin B1. Just one ounce of toasted seeds has 7% of the recommended DV of thiamine. Furthermore, they contain other B-complex vitamins and have a high vitamin E content. Copper, manganese, and selenium are just some of the minerals they contain.
Whole grains are an important source of various nutrients, and one way to include them in your diet is to eat whole wheat bread. This is a good option since this type of bread is low in fat and cholesterol, while it can provide you with a number of minerals and fiber. When it comes to vitamin B1, one slice of this bread gives you 7% of your DV of thiamine.
Foods rich in vitamin B1 also include grains such as barley. In one cup of this cereal, you’ll get 7% of your daily value of this vitamin. Furthermore, barley is an excellent source of fiber and some essential minerals, like manganese and selenium.
Corn is a great source of fiber. In addition, it is rich in minerals and vitamins. For example, one medium ear contains 7% of the recommended value of vitamin B1. It’s also a good source of other B-complex vitamins such as B5, B6, and B9.
This whole-grain rice also belongs to foods that contain vitamin B1. Half a cup of cooked brown rice has 7% of your DV of thiamine. In addition, it contains other B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B5, and vitamin B6.
Oatmeal is a great choice for a healthy breakfast as it has a high fiber content and it’s rich in numerous minerals including magnesium, zinc, and iron. Also, it’s a good source of vitamins A, B1, and B6. Half a cup of oatmeal gives you 7% of the daily value of thiamine.
Dairy products are vitamin B1 foods sources as well. A cup of milk serves 7% of your DV of thiamin, and it’s the same story with plain yogurt. Not only is milk one of the best sources of calcium, but it’s also rich in other B vitamins, including vitamin B12 and riboflavin.
Many minerals and vitamins are often added to breakfast cereals. One serving of cereals can contain even 100% of the recommended daily value of thiamine, but this depends on the brand. However, they often have a high sugar content, so choose those that don’t contain more than 5 g of sugar per serving.
White rice usually contains added vitamins, including vitamin B1. That’s why it can be considered to belong to vitamin B1 rich foods. Half a cup of enriched white rice will provide you with an amazing 73% of your daily value of thiamine. However, it is extremely low in fiber when compared to brown rice.
Egg noodles are another example of fortified food. They are a good source of many B-complex vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, and folate. One cup of cooked, enriched egg noodles contains 33% of your DV of vitamin B1.
Enriched English muffins are rich in thiamine. One plain muffin will cover 20% of your daily value of vitamin B1. They are also a good source of other B vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin, and folate.
Recommended Daily Intake
The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies established the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for all the nutrients, including thiamine. RDA is an average daily intake that should meet healthy people’s nutrient requirements. You should always try to avoid supplements and instead add vitamin B1 foods to your daily diet.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B1 is different depending on age and sex, as follows:
- From birth to 6 months – 0.2 mg
- From 7 to 12 months – 0.3 mg
- From 1 to 3 years – 0.5 mg
- From 4 to 8 years – 0.6 mg
- From 9 to 13 years – 0.9 mg
- From 14 to 18 years – 1.2 mg (male) and 1.0 mg (female)
- 19+ years – 1.2 mg (male) and 1.1 mg (female)
Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding need more thiamine on a daily basis regardless of their age. Their recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B1 is 1.4 mg.
Causes and Effects of Vitamin B1 Deficiency
Inadequate diets that don’t contain enough vitamin B1 can lead to thiamine deficiency. Another cause of this condition can be lower absorption or higher excretion of this vitamin as a result of alcoholism, AIDS or use of some medications.
Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms include weight loss, muscle weakness, confusion, short-term memory loss, and cardiovascular problems. Lack of thiamine may also cause more serious health conditions, such as beriberi. This disease can affect the nerves or heart, and it can even lead to death if it isn’t treated properly.
Another possible effect of thiamine deficiency is the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. People with chronic alcohol dependence are at higher risk of developing this brain disorder than the rest of the population. There is also a link between vitamin B1 and eyesight as thiamine deficiency can cause problems with your vision as well.
Who Should Take Vitamin B1 Supplements?
There are several groups who are more likely to develop a thiamine deficiency and therefore may benefit from taking vitamin B1 supplements. Since ethanol reduces absorption of thiamin, people with alcoholism commonly have this problem. Lower absorption of vitamin B1 is also typical of elderly people, who in addition often suffer from chronic diseases and take multiple medications. HIV infection and diabetes may increase the risk of thiamine deficiency as well. Vitamin B1 supplements are often recommended to patients who have undergone bariatric surgery because they are prone to developing this deficiency.
Vitamin B1 Side Effects
Since thiamine is water-soluble, the body stores only small amounts of it and it eliminates any excess through urine. Therefore, overdosing on thiamine is pretty rare. Although there isn’t any evidence indicating that vitamin B1 can be toxic, the FNB warns that high thiamine intakes may have some adverse effects. That’s why we should be careful with the use of supplements and always ask for a physician’s advice on how to improve our diet.
Thiamine or vitamin B1 is key to our health since it plays a major role in the metabolic process of creating energy. It enables a number of vital organs to function normally, including the heart and nervous system. Low thiamine intakes can lead to various medical problems, some of which can even be life-threatening.
A balanced diet provides us with sufficient amounts of this vitamin. It’s good to know that we can hardly overdose on thiamine, but it’s always recommended to be cautious about using dietary supplements. Now, when you are familiar with the vitamin B1 function and sources rich in thiamine, we hope that this will help improve your health and well-being.
What does vitamin B1 do to the body?
Thiamine has an essential role in glucose metabolism, meaning that it helps in the production of energy necessary for normal physiological functioning. It enables the heart and muscles to work properly and prevents memory loss and nerve inflammation.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency?
Insufficient intakes of thiamine can result in a number of health problems. Some of the symptoms indicating low levels of vitamin B1 are irritability, poor memory, fatigue, muscle atrophy, and stomach problems. Thiamine deficiency may lead to serious medical conditions, including beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
What are the side effects of too much vitamin B1?
Being a water-soluble vitamin, thiamine is not stored in the body in large quantities. Since it is excreted in urine, it’s highly unlikely to overdose on this vitamin. However, taking high doses of thiamine is not recommended as adverse side effects are always possible.
How much vitamin B1 should I take a day?
Daily intake of thiamine depends on your age and sex. Men older than 19 years should take 1.2 mg a day, while women older than 19 years need 1.1 mg a day. However, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, women should increase their daily intake to 1.4 mg. You can get your daily dose of thiamine from eating healthy foods. Vitamin supplements are not recommended unless you have a problem with lower absorption of thiamine due to some medical condition.
Where can vitamin B1 be found?
Thiamine-rich foods include beef, pork, nuts, seeds, and yeast. There are also some fruit and vegetables containing this vitamin such as oranges, legumes, cauliflower, kale, and peas. Vitamin B1 is usually added to certain types of foods, including bread, pasta, rice, and cereals. Of course, there are thiamine supplements as well, but doctors tend to prescribe B complex vitamins instead.
What vegetables have vitamin B1 in them?
Top five vegetables according to their vitamin B1 content are kidney bean sprouts, soybean sprouts, green peas, peas, and acorn squash. Other veggies that are rich in thiamine include asparagus, kale, cauliflower, and potatoes. Most legumes are good sources of thiamine as well. For example, one cup of cooked lentils contains 28% of the recommended daily value of vitamin B1. These vitamin B1 foods should definitely find their place on your plate, especially if you are a vegan as these veggies high in thiamine can make up for some nutrients usually found in meat and fish.