Michelle's Nutrition Minute - September 2022

Hello! This is Michelle, WCL’s registered dietitian, with this month’s Nutrition Minute because we want to MAKE EVERY MINUTE COUNT.

What are B-vitamins?

There are eight well-known B-vitamins that play a role in the body. They support metabolism and contribute to the body's ability to produce energy. Several of the B-vitamins have additional functions as well:

  • Vitamin B6
    Alternatively known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 helps to produce insulin, fight infection and create non-essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Beans, chicken, bananas, potatoes, pork, fish, nuts and fortified breakfast cereals all contain vitamin B6.

  • Folate
    Also known as folic acid, folate is particularly important during pregnancy. Consuming adequate amounts helps to reduce the risk of spine and brain deformities (known as neural tube defects). Sources of folate include many fruits and vegetables — including beans, oranges, avocados and spinach. Folic acid is found in enriched grains, like breads and pasta, fortified breakfast cereals and dietary supplements.

  • Vitamin B12
    Cobalamin, or vitamin B12, plays an important role in creating new red blood cells and a deficiency could result in anemia. It is present in animal products like meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Some breakfast cereals are also fortified with vitamin B12 and can be an important source of this vitamin for vegetarians and vegans.

These B-vitamins are more commonly known by their names than by their numbers, but all are widely available in a variety of foods and deficiency is relatively uncommon in the United States:

  • Thiamin
    Pork, peas, whole-grain and enriched-grain products including bread, rice, pasta, tortillas and fortified cereals.

  • Riboflavin
    Milk, cheese, yogurt, enriched grains, lean meats, eggs, almonds and leafy green vegetables.

  • Niacin
    High-protein foods such as peanut butter, beef, poultry and fish, as well as enriched and fortified grain products.

  • Pantothenic Acid
    Yogurt, sweet potatoes, milk, avocado, corn, eggs and beans.

  • Biotin
    Eggs, peanuts, fish, sweet potatoes and almonds.

Adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  www.eatright.org
Michelle Elliott, RD


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