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Foods With Vitamins B-1 & B-12

By Michele Turcotte, MS, RD

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, and vitamin B12 are essential nutrients for human health. Vitamin B1 supports nervous system function and acts as a co-enzyme or helper for energy metabolism. Vitamin B12 is needed to form red blood cells and build genetic material. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for vitamin B1 is 1.1 mg for women and 1.2 mg for men. The RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for both men and women. Food sources of both of these nutrients include pork, fish, soy products and fortified foods.

Pork and Fish

A 3-oz. center loin pork chop, bone-in, pan-fried, provides 1.1 mg of vitamin B1 and 0.6 mcg of vitamin B12, meeting 91 and 25 percent of the daily value for each vitamin, respectively. A 3-oz. portion of broiled, lean pork tenderloin provides 0.8 mg of vitamin B1 and 0.9 mcg of vitamin B12, meeting more than 40 percent of the DV for each nutrient. The same amount of cured ham, cooked, lean only, provides 0.9 mg of vitamin B1 and 0.6 mcg of vitamin B12, meeting roughly 75 and 25 percent of the DV for each nutrient, respectively. A 3-oz. portion of cured pork, Canadian-style bacon, grilled, provides 0.6 mg of vitamin B1 and 0.6 mcg of vitamin B12, meeting 50 and 25 percent of the DV for each nutrient, respectively.

Two types of fish are rich in both of these nutrients, yellowfin tuna and Florida Pampano. A 3-oz. portion of yellowfin tuna, cooked, meets 25 percent of the DV for vitamin B1 and 10 percent for vitamin B12. The same amount of cooked Pampano offers 0.6 mg vitamin B1 and 1.0 mcg vitamin B12, meeting over 40 percent of the DV for each nutrient.

Soy Products

Starchy beans, while an excellent food source of vitamin B1 or thiamin, offer no vitamin B12. Vegan meat substitutes, made from soy, are rich in both of these vitamins however. One soy-based veggie breakfast "sausage" or patty, on average, provides more than 4 mg of vitamin B1, providing more than 300 percent of its DV, and 1.4 mcg of vitamin B12, providing roughly 60 percent of its DV. Similarly, one grilled veggie patty, a vegan hamburger substitute, on average, provides 1.8 mg of vitamin B1 and 2.9 mcg of vitamin B12, providing more than 100 percent of the DV for each vitamin.

Fortified Foods

Nearly all fortified, ready-to-eat cold breakfast cereals are an excellent food source of all vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B1 and B12 though the amount provided depends upon type and brand. Fortified bran flakes and corn flakes often meet 100 percent of the DV for each nutrient per standard serving; 3/4 cup to 1 and 1/3 cup. Ready-to-heat toaster waffles are also vitamin-fortified. On average, one 4-inch toaster waffle provides 0.2 mg of vitamin B1 and 1.0 mcg of vitamin B12, meeting 16 and nearly 42 percent of the DV for each nutrient, respectively.

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