Essential Vitamins

Vitamins Guide – VITAMIN B1

Vitamin B1-rich foods – Thiamine

Structure of Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin (or thiamine), is a water-soluble and essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy nervous system and converting food into energy. It is needed to transmit electrical messages in nerve and muscle cells like in the heart and for making red blood cells. In addition, it helps in amino acid synthesis and plays a role in digestion. It is also involved in moving glucose within cells and insulin production, so people with diabetes need it.

Delicious Foods

If you want to increase your intake of this critical vitamin, try incorporating the nine delicious and easy-to-make vitamin B1-rich foods covered at the end of this article into your diet. From breakfast to dinner, you’ll have a variety of tasty options.

About Thiamin

The sad thing about thiamin (vitamin B1) is that it is readily lost from the body through the kidneys. As a result, most of us only have stores of this vitamin to last one month or so. Therefore, a regular dietary supply of vitamin B1-rich foods is essential. Typical food sources are:

  • Whole grains: wheat, rice, barley, maize, rye, oats, buckwheat, quinoa.
  • Soy flour: fine powder obtained from grinding roasted soybeans.
  • Oats: the only cereal containing the globulin ‘avenalin’ as its major storage protein.
  • Pasta: unleavened dough of wheat flour mixed with water or eggs formed into sheets, strings, or other shapes.
  • Pork: the culinary name for pig meat.
  • Duck: the meat of several species of bird in the family Anatidae.
  • Seafood: commercially captured or farmed freshwater and saltwater fish, molluscan shellfish (oysters, mussels, clams, cockles, squid), and crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, prawns, and lobsters).
  • Nuts: dry, single-seeded fruits with high oil content. Cashews, Brazils, peanuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.
  • Pulses: the edible seeds of crops such as peas, beans, or lentils of the legume family.
  • Brewer’s Yeast: an ingredient used in beer brewing and bread making. A rich source of minerals and B-complex vitamins.

Another way to lose vitamin B1 is via food processing, that is, mincing, chopping, liquidizing, preserving, and canning. Also, boiling foods pulls the thiamin content down 50 percent because the vitamin is so water-soluble. Also, adding baking powder and cooking food at high temperatures destroys the vitamin. Toasting bread removes a third of the thiamin content while freezing meats destroys half the thiamin. Finally, roasting meat at temperatures of 200°C lowers the vitamin’s content by a fifth. So, thiamin is quite a temperature-sensitive compound in vitamin B1-rich foods. 

It Makes You Wonder

One wonders how it is possible to preserve the thiamin content of vitamin B1-rich foods. Well, there is supplementation if you must do the above things to foods that destroys the vitamin, but more about that later.

Benefits of Thiamin

Four vitamin B1 benefits have been identified to our well-being. By eating adequate levels of thiamin by consuming vitamin B1-rich foods, folks can take advantage of:

  • Better Temperament: thiamin is considered to be beneficial to our mood. It promotes calmness, happiness, and clear thinking. In studies, people with low thiamin levels were less composed or self-confident. Among you women, low levels of the vitamin seemed to cause moodiness. However, it took up to 12 weeks with vitamin B1 supplementation for their mood to improve. Low levels are also thought to increase the risk of depression. [1]
  • Vigor and Vitality: a diet containing vitamin B1-rich foods helps increase general well-being. In a trial of older folk with low thiamin levels, 10 mg of the vitamin versus a placebo helped the over 65’s reduce fatigue, boosted their appetite, helped them sleep better, increased their energy, and reduced their blood pressure. 
  • Protection against atherosclerosis: thiamin appears to have some protective effect against the narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Lab cell culture studies suggest that adequate thiamin intake may delay arterial furring and hardening associated with high glucose levels in Type 2 diabetics. [2]
  • Less painful periods: in a trial involving over 556 young women with complaints of painful periods (spasmodic dysmenorrhea), it was found that a 100 mg dose of thiamin hydrochloride (compared to women taking a placebo), nearly 8 percent were relieved of the discomfort, 5 percent still had the pain, and a massive 87 percent were cured! [3]

Vitamin B1 Deficiency

In countries where the staple diet is polished rice (as opposed to the more nutritious brown rice), vitamin B1 deficiency is common. This is because those people don’t have access to vitamin B1-rich foods. The vitamin b1 deficiency symptoms are extreme weakness and fatigue, otherwise known as ‘Beriberi.’


The disease called Beriberi is quite unpleasant, and victims experience difficulty walking and a loss of feeling in their hands and feet. Also, they have a loss of muscle function or paralysis of the lower legs, coupled with mental confusion.

Dry and Wet Beriberi

There are two forms of Beriberi: dry and wet. In the dry form, weakness, numbness, and pins and needles in the legs are typical symptoms. In the wet form, there is severe fluid retention. In people with thiamin deficiency and a high alcohol intake, there is the danger of getting Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. If left untreated, it leads to irreversible dementia.

Guillain Barré Syndrome

The Beriberi symptoms, but not the mental problems, may be confused with Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS), of which this scribe was a victim in 2010. I recall being prescribed vitamin B1 tablets by a young locum standing in for my regular, more experienced physician. The pills had no effect, but as soon as my regular doctor returned, he quickly diagnosed GBS, and before I knew it, I was in the hospital for five weeks. It took years, but I have more or less recovered. Nevertheless, it goes to show what a simple thing like not having enough vitamin B1-rich food can do to your health.

Vitamin B1 RDA

The recommended daily allowance of thiamin or the vitamin b1 dosage for adults is around 1 mg. In general, the more carbs eaten, the more thiamin is needed. Folks drinking too much coffee or tea have to be careful because these beverages destroy the vitamin. Stress quickly uses up available thiamin stores, too. Also, drinking too much alcohol interferes with vitamin B1 metabolism. All this shows that it is a good idea to keep eating vitamin B1-rich foods.

Excessive Thiamin Intake

On the whole, thiamin is relatively non-toxic because excess of the vitamin is quickly removed in the urine. However, over-supplementing with thiamin in high doses (5,000 mg of thiamin hydrochloride or more) may trigger headaches, insomnia, nausea, and fast heartbeat. Fortunately, these symptoms quickly go away once excessive supplementation ceases.

9 Amazing Vitamin B1-Rich Foods

So, here is a list of nine excellent vitamin B1-rich foods:

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods: Whole grains

Whole grains are an excellent source of vitamin B1 and other essential nutrients like fiber and iron. Some of the best whole grain options include brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal. These vitamin B1-rich foods are not only delicious and filling but can also help support a healthy nervous system and boost your energy levels throughout the day. Try incorporating more whole grains into your diet by swapping out refined grains for whole grain options whenever possible.

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods: Legumes

Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans, are a great source of vitamin B1. They are packed with this vital nutrient and provide a good source of protein, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Adding legumes to your diet can help support a healthy heart, improve digestion, and even aid in weight loss. Try incorporating legumes into your meals by adding them to salads, soups, or as a side dish.

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods: Nuts

Nuts are great vitamin B1-rich foods and also rich in other important nutrients like healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Some of the best options include pistachios. These can be easily added to your diet on top of salads, yogurt, or oatmeal or by enjoying them as a snack on their own. Just be sure to watch your portion sizes, as nuts are also high in calories.

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods: Pork

Pork is one of the best sources of vitamin B1, with a 3-ounce serving providing over half of the recommended daily intake. Other meat sources of vitamin B1 include beef, chicken, and fish like salmon and trout. These can be incorporated into your diet through stir-fries, salads, and sandwiches. Just be mindful of portion sizes and choose lean cuts of meat to keep your overall calorie and fat intake in check.

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods: Seafood

Seafood is an excellent source of vitamin B1, with options like clams, mussels, and oysters providing high amounts of this essential nutrient. In addition to being rich in vitamin B1, seafood is also a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve heart health and brain function. So incorporate seafood into your diet with dishes like seafood pasta, grilled fish, or seafood chowder. Just be sure to choose verified and sustainable options and avoid overconsumption of possible mercury-containing fish like tuna.

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods: Soy flour

Soy flour pancakes are a delicious and nutritious way to start your day. Not only are they packed with vitamin B1, but they're also gluten-free and high in protein. Top them with fresh blueberries and sliced almonds for a satisfying and flavorful breakfast.

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods: Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin B1, with just one ounce providing 0.4 mg of thiamin. They are also a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, making them a great snack option. In addition, you can add sunflower seeds to your salads, smoothies, or trail mix for a tasty and nutritious boost of vitamin B1. Sunflower seeds are one of the great vitamin B1-rich foods.

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods: Black Beans

Black beans are not only a delicious addition to any meal, but they are also a great source of vitamin B1. One cup of cooked black beans provides 0.4 mg of thiamin, which is 40% of the recommended daily intake for adults. They are also high in fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients, making them a great choice for vegetarians and vegans. Try adding black beans to your salads, soups, or tacos for a tasty and nutritious boost of vitamin B1.

Vitamin B1-Rich Foods: Asparagus

Did you know that asparagus is one of the excellent vitamin B1 rich foods? One cup of carefully cooked asparagus provides 0.2 mg of thiamine, which is 20% of the recommended daily intake for adults. Asparagus is also low in calories and high in fiber, making it a great addition to any healthy diet. Try roasting asparagus with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for a delicious and nutritious side dish.

Thiamin Supplementation

Essential 16 Vitamins

Due to the ease of destroying thiamin by cooking vitamin B1-rich foods or overdoing it with beverages or alcoholic drinks, it is wise the top-up with thiamin via supplementation. There is no better way to do this than supplementing with ALL 16 essential vitamins at the same time, not just vitamin B1. Our EV-16 Essential 16 Vitamins give you TWICE the recommended daily allowance of most of these essential vitamins. Below is a complete list of the vitamins in these supplements:

  • Vitamin A (retinyl acetate) 0.8 mg or 100% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B1 (Thaimine) 2.2 mg or 200% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 2.8 mg or 200% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 32 mg or 200% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenate) 12 mg or 200% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 2.8 mg or 200% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin) 0.1 mg or 200% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B12 (Methyl cobalamin) 5 mcg or 200% of the RDA
  • Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) 160 mg or 200% of the RDA
  • Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 10 mcg or 67% of the RDA
  • Vitamin E (DL-α-tocopheryl acetate) 24 mg or 160% of the RDA
  • Vitamin K1 (Phytomenadione) 75 mcg or 200% of the RDA
  • Choline 82.5 mg **
  • Bioflavonoids 5 mg **
  • Folic Acid 0.4 mg or 200% of the RDA
  • Inositol 50 mg **
  • ** daily value not established. Other Ingredients: Microcrystalline Cellulose, Maltodextrin, Magnesium Stearate (Vegetable Source)


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Synonymous terms: vitamin b1 rich foods; b1 vitamin foods

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