In Elementary Science, we were taught that there were classes of food. Carbohydrates, Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals, Fat..water. As you grow older, the way you eat is mostly ‘I’m hungry and I want to eat’ not exactly ‘I need to eat a balanced meal’ but these things are very important. Over the next few days, I will be posting on the B Vitamins.
The B Vitamins are inter-related group of water-soluble nutrients that occur together in foods. Water-soluble means that they are easily lost/absorbed into water, destroyed by overcooking, processing, exposure to air, alcohol, food additives e.t.c so they need constant replenishment. These vitamins are also known as B-Complex, they comprise of B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 with the addition of folic-acid and biotin some times.
Jointly, they are responsible for the maintenance of the nervous system , good mental health, energy metabolism, efficient digestion and some other essential body functions.
B1 also known as Thiamine
This vitamin is essential for energy production, particularly in the brain which aids memory. It has been considered the ‘Morale’ Vitamin because of its positive effect on mental outlook.
Natural Sources – From the highest content to low contents
Yeast extract, Wheat Germ, Sunflower seeds, Peanuts, Dry Soybeans, Brazil Nuts, Red and Pinto Beans, Millet, Buck Wheat, Pork chop, Oatmeal, Whole grains, Hazel nuts, Brown Rice, Walnuts, Garlic, Brewer’s Yeast e.t.c
Other Sources – Taking B1 in a B-Complex supplement can be helpful, but in recommended doses 10-100mg per day. But excess thiamine is usually excreted if kidney function is normal.
If you smoke or drink alcohol regularly, you need to increase your intake, get supplements. Also, a cup of coffee or tea with morning cereals is not a good idea if you want to absorb the thiamine present in your whole grains because the caffeine present prevents absorption. Anti-biotics decrease Thiamine levels.
Many patients in psychiatric wards and the elderly are thiamine-deficient, therefore to avoid poor mental health, increase your intake. It treats Beri-Beri, promotes proper growth and development of brain and nervous system. It may also reduce depression, fatigue. Improves appetite and mental alertness. Protects against imbalance caused by alcoholism.
Deficiency Symptoms – Fatigue, Poor Memory, Lack of concentration, Depression, Indigestion, Nausea and/or Constipation, Pins and Needles or numbness of feet and legs, Rapid heartbeat, Eye pains, Muscle weakness, Loss of Appetite.
A bowl of porridge with wheatgerm taken with fresh orange juice. Whole Grain cereal alone, with some nuts in the morning.
- Vitamins, Herbs, Minerals & Supplements : The complete guide by H.Winter Griffith, M.D
- Vitamins and Minerals by Denise Mortimore
- Foods for Mind and Body by Michael Van Straten