Vitamin B complex benefits: Strong immune system, good digestion and more; food sources rich in B vitamins  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- B vitamins have a crucial role in maintaining your overall health and well-being
- They can also help keep your immune system strong, thereby preventing infections
- Here’s how eating vitamin B-rich foods can benefit your health and help you stay healthy during the pandemic
New Delhi: One of the best ways to build resistance against the novel coronavirus infection and other viral attacks is to feed your body with nutrient-dense foods that can help strengthen your immune system, your body’s first line of defense against viruses and diseases. Research has shown that eating foods rich in certain vitamins – such as vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B and vitamin E – can help your immune system fight off infections.
The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has now infected about 16,514,500 people and claimed at least 654,477 lives all over the world. With no cure available for the deadly virus that causes COVID-19, taking all possible measures and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet, to not get it in the first place is the safest for all of us. In fact, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently recommended to include vitamin B-rich plant-based foods in diet to boost your nervous system and immunity.
What are the health benefits of vitamin B complex?
Basically, vitamin B complex consists of eight different vitamins, which are essential for maintaining good health and well-being. The B vitamins are: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid or folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12).
Some of the benefits of vitamin B complex include:
- It can help strengthen your immune system, thereby preventing or reducing your risk of infections
- It helps support the growth of red blood cells
- It promotes proper nerve and healthy brain function
- It improves energy levels
- It boosts cardiovascular health
- It is good for digestion
- It supports muscle tone
- It supports the production of hormones and cholesterol
B vitamins are particularly important for pregnant and lactating women as they help in faetal brain development as well as lower the risk of birth defects. These vitamins may also help increase testosterone levels in men.
A deficiency of this vitamin can put you at a higher risk of certain conditions such as anaemia, infections, digestive issues, peripheral neuropathy, skin problems, etc.
Food sources of vitamin B complex
B vitamins can be found in a number of foods. Some of the foods that are high in B vitamins include:
- Leafy greens: Leafy green veggies like spinach, turnip greens, collards and romaine lettuce, are among the highest sources of folate. You can eat them raw or steam them briefly to retain the most nutrient.
- Eggs: Eggs are one of the best sources of biotin – just next to liver – that plays a vital role in your hair, skin, nail and hair health. One large egg can help you get 33 per cent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for biotin distributed the yolk and white.
- Legumes: Apart from being high in folic acid, legumes also provide small amounts of other B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and pyridoxine. Folate reduces the risk of birth defects.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are high in several vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as copper, phosphorus, folate, pyridoxine, manganese, vitamin E, etc.
- Salmon: Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and several B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, B6 and B12. Moreover, this nutritious fish is high in protein but low in mercury.
Try eating a healthy diet that includes a wide variety of food sources to ensure that you’re getting enough of each B vitamin to support your immune system, improve overall health and reduce your risk of infections, including COVID-19 disease.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.