Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin or lactoflavin, is a water-soluble vitamin. It aids in energy production, cell growth and development, hormone production, and maintaining the health of the skin, eyes, and nervous system. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, vitamin B2 can fight free radicals and prevent diseases.
Our body cannot store the vitamin, so it should be obtained daily through food intake. You can refer to the above vitamin B2 food table to find plant-based and vegan foods along with their respective B2 contents.
Who Has A Higher Need For Vitamin B2?
The amount of B2 needed depends on various factors such as age, gender, dietary habits, and specific physical conditions. The following list shows groups of people who may have a higher need:
- During pregnancy and lactation, the body requires additional vitamin B2 to support the growth and development of the fetus or newborn. It is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women take a higher dose of vitamin B2.
- Certain chronic conditions like Crohn's disease can affect nutrient absorption, including vitamin B2. Adequate vitamin B2 intake should be sought.
- Older people may have a higher need for vitamin B2. With age, nutrient absorption in the body can be impaired, so they may require a higher intake of B2, which can be balanced through vitamin B2-rich foods.
- Smoking and alcohol can also impair the absorption of vitamin B2 in the body.
- An overactive thyroid can accelerate metabolism in the body, increasing the need for vitamin B2.
- Some medications, such as antibiotics or antidepressants, can also negatively affect the absorption of vitamin B2 in the body. To avoid potential deficiency, they should also rely on foods high in vitamin B2.
The need for Vitamin B2 can be easily met with a varied vegan diet, as long as it is balanced and diverse. Vitamin B2 is found in many plant-based foods, so it is unlikely to lead to a deficiency with the following symptoms:
- Inflammation of the skin, especially the lips, mouth, and tongue
- Cracks and scaling of the lips and corners of the mouth
- Vision problems and light sensitivity
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Dizziness and headaches
- Digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
A severe Vitamin B2 deficiency can also lead to anemia. This condition results in a shortage of red blood cells, leading to weakness and fatigue. In severe cases, it can also cause skin rashes, mucous membrane inflammation, and seizures.
Vitamin B2 Foods
The following list shows some plant-based vitamin B2 foods that you can incorporate into your diet:
- Whole grains are rich in vitamin B2 and offer many other health benefits, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Some examples include whole grain bread, oats, brown rice, quinoa, and bulgur. This table shows more grain products with vitamin B2.
- Legumes are also an excellent source of vitamin B2 and provide high-quality plant proteins, fiber, and minerals. Examples include lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and peas. This table shows which legumes contain a lot of vitamin B2.
- Nuts, seeds, and kernels are rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin B2. According to the table, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cashews, and hazelnuts are foods that contain vitamin B2. You can find a table of nuts and seeds with their B2 contents here.
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and chard are particularly rich in vitamin B2. Other vegetables include broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, and tomatoes. You can find the vitamin B2 vegetables table here.
- Fruits also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B2. Fruits such as avocados, bananas, peaches, plums, and raspberries are good sources of vitamin B2 according to the table. You can find the vitamin B2 fruit table here.
- Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin B2. You can incorporate mushrooms such as champignons, shiitake, oyster mushrooms, chanterelles, and morels into your vitamin B2 diet. This table shows other mushrooms rich in vitamin B2.
- Herbs and spices are often used in small quantities, but they can provide a significant amount of vitamin B2. Examples of herbs with a high content of vitamin B2 include parsley, thyme, rosemary, mint, and turmeric. This table reveals other herbs and spices that are rich in vitamin B2.
- Plant-based and vegan beverages such as soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, and coconut milk can be good sources of vitamin B2. Juices like orange juice, grapefruit juice, and tomato juice also contain vitamin B2. You can access vitamin B2 beverages here.
Vitamin B2 Is Heat-Sensitive
During the cooking or heating of foods containing vitamin B2, a significant amount of this vitamin can be damaged and destroyed. This is especially true for vitamin B2 in the form of riboflavin, which is more sensitive to heat than other forms of vitamin B2. As a result, the vitamin B2 content in the foods decreases. The loss of vitamin B2 can be increased at temperatures above 100°C, especially when the food is heated for an extended period. The loss of vitamin B2 during vegetable preparation can be up to 30%.
Blanching vegetables in boiling water or shorter cooking times can reduce the loss of vitamin B2 since the heating is brief. Gentle cooking methods such as steaming and simmering are also useful in minimizing the loss of vitamin B2.
Vitamin B2 Nutrition
Here are some simple recipes you can try if you want to enrich your diet with more vitamin B2-rich foods:
- Green Smoothie: Blend spinach, kale, avocado, banana, and almond milk. This smoothie is rich in vitamin B2 and other important nutrients.
- Vegetable Stir-Fry: Sauté broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms in olive oil and season with garlic, salt, and pepper. Serve the vegetables with whole grain rice or quinoa.
- Lentil Salad: Cook lentils and serve them with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and cilantro. Dress the salad with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Vegan Bolognese: Sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and cooked lentils, and season with oregano, thyme, and paprika. Serve the bolognese with whole wheat pasta or zucchini noodles.
- Avocado Toast: Toast whole wheat bread and top it with mashed avocado, tomato slices, and watercress. Season with Kala Namak and pepper.
- Quinoa Salad: Cook quinoa and mix it with chickpeas, bell peppers, cucumbers, olives, and parsley. Dress the salad with lemon juice and olive oil.
- Vegan Burger: Shape a patty using chickpeas, onions, garlic, and spices, and fry it in a pan. Serve it in a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, and vegan cheese.
- Broccoli Soup: Cook broccoli, potatoes, and onions in vegetable broth and blend it all together. Season the soup with nutmeg and serve it with toasted whole grain bread.
- Vegan Pizza: Top whole wheat pizza dough with tomato sauce, mushrooms, bell peppers, and olives. Sprinkle vegan cheese on top and bake it in the oven.
- Red Lentil Curry: Cook red lentils and mix them with coconut milk, carrots, sweet potatoes, and curry powder. Serve the curry with whole grain rice.
- Beetroot Hummus: Blend cooked chickpeas, beetroots, tahini, and lemon juice in a mixer to obtain a creamy hummus. Serve it with vegetable sticks or whole grain crackers.
- Nut Butter: Blend almonds, cashews, or peanuts to make a creamy nut butter. Serve it on whole wheat bread or use it as a dip for fruits and vegetables.
- Spinach Salad: Mix spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, and sunflower seeds and dress the salad with balsamic dressing.
- Mushroom Risotto: Sauté mushrooms, onions, and garlic in olive oil and add Arborio rice and vegetable broth. Serve the risotto with chopped parsley.