Moving through the Bs

by Lauren on January 19, 2011

I’m going to talk about two B vitamins today: B2 or Riboflavin and B3 or Niacin because they are quite similar in their functions.

B2 plays a key role in energy production by helping your body metabolize fats, proteins & carbs. This means B2 helps your body to use food for energy (like it’s suppposed to), and will help you better metabolize your food throughout the day. All of the B vitamins do this to a certain extent, but B2 is one of the key players in this process.

Some good food sources of B2 are: green veggies (spinach, broccoli, and asparagus), eggs, milk products, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, whole grains and fruit (apples, grapes, figs & various tropical fruit). To ensure you’re getting enough B2: try my Homemade Cereal for breakfast, have a spinach salad with lunch, and a apple for your afternoon snack!

B3 or Niacin also plays a key role in energy production and helping your body metabolize fats, carbs & protein. It is also very good for circulation, which keeps cholesterol levels down in your blood and is good for your digestive tract. If you’ve ever taken a pure niacin supplement you may have experienced an intense reaction, kind of like hives or a rash on your body. This is normal and is called “niacin flush.” It should go away after 10 or 15 minutes, and if you continue taking niacin this reaction eventually stops. Most people do not like this reaction so most supplements contain niacinamide, which doesn’t cause this to happen.

Food sources of niacin can be found in chicken, fish (best sources are in tuna, salmon & halibut), milk, eggs & peanuts. Wheat germ, whole grains, avocados, dates, figs & prunes are good vegetarian sources. Niacin is often added back into processed grain products because 90% is often removed during milling & processing. You can avoid this by eating unprocessed whole grains such as: rolled oats (not instant!) quinoa or brown rice. And, if you include lean protein in 2 of your daily meals you are most likely getting enough niacin (ex. boiled egg with salad for lunch, and wild salmon or trout for dinner).

On a side note my sister is getting married in Jamaica next week, so I’ll be taking a bit of a break from posting. My parents have been to the resort we’re going to and apparently the food is amazing, so I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and get some inspiration for future posts. I’ll be back the week of January 31st. In the meantime, keep eating organic, fresh, wholesome food & stay active – it will help fight the winter blues!

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