Published: 09/11/2014 - Updated: 03/08/2020
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei, PhD
Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine, belongs to the B group vitamins, which are hydro-solubles, soluble in alcohol. Within this group of B vitamins, B1 is the one that suffers from the most losses with contact to the air or water, caffeine, additive, alcohol, etc. That’s why it is necessary to consume the freshest foods possible, so that this vitamin may enter the body and be used. You must avoid cooking foods excessively, and try to include this vitamin in your daily diet. Vitamin B1 has a lot of important functions in the body, like:
- Helps strengthen our immune system.
- Helps regulate and keep the nervous system in good health.
- Protects the cardiovascular system (heart, arteries, veins, etc.)
- Important in the participation of enzyme and hormone production, which play a fundamental role in health.
- Participates in the metabolism of carbohydrates (generate energy).
- Contribute the cellular regeneration and skin maintenance.
- Prevents the effects of diabetes (Thiamine protects the cells from elevated glucose levels).
This deficiency can be detected through blood or urine analysis. One reason that could cause this deficiency is excessive consumption (or abuse) of alcoholic drinks.
Vitamin B1 deficiency provokes:
- Metabolism imbalance (which could be caused by anorexia, weight loss, diarrhea, polyneuropathy, and cardiac dilation)
- Loss of appetite.
- Mental irritability, constant fatigue, constant depression, etc.
- Constipation, legs falling asleep due to lowered blood pressure and body temperature.
- The disease known as beriberi.
Important sources of Thiamine or vitamin B1:
- In nearly all grains, like rice, oats, bran, etc. (keep in mind that if they are whole-grains it increases their nutritional value).
- Dried fruit
- Legumes: soy, peas (snow peas), lentils, edible beans, etc.
- Meats: chicken, fish, cow, etc.
- Cantaloupe: this fruit is rich in vitamins C, A, B1, and B2. It’s good for strengthening the immune system, and also possesses a mild laxative effect. It is rich in sodium, and very refreshing.
- Other foods: Brewer’s yeast, dried fruits, eggs, potatoes, sesame seeds, wheat, garbanzos, beans, green beans, walnuts, peanuts, soy, seafood, fish, egg yolk, etc.
Daily vitamin B1 requirements are approximately:
.06 mg for children
1.1 for women
1.2 for men, or pregnant or nursing women
Things to consider about foods that contain vitamin B1:
Foods rich in hydro-soluble vitamins, such as the case of vitamin B1, do not always provide the same amount of vitamins that they initially had, as their properties can dissolve in water, and can seep into the broth during cooking. They can even be washed out when you wash them. You must include these types of hydro-soluble vitamins in your daily diet, as they are eliminated daily through sweat and urine.
Also, you must assess that the content of this vitamin in certain foods is reduced and altered through long storage times. Very aged products (like in the case of dried fruits), can lack them.
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As mentioned before, it is important not to cook your foods too much. Include fresh salads, and try to eat meat without frying it, or cooking it too much. A good way of consuming this vitamin is by making smoothies, shakes, or fresh juices with vegetables and juices. Try not to mix them together, in order to observe their properties. A cantaloupe smoothie or juice is a very good tonic, and a great source of vitamin B1.
A bit of history about vitamin B1…
Thiamine was discovered in 1912 and was first identified in 1926 by the chemist Casimir Funk. The first hydro-soluble B group vitamin was then baptized, vitamin B1.
Smoothie rich in vitamin B1
- 2 spoonfuls of rolled oats
- 2 slices of sweet cantaloupe
- 2 cups of soy milk
- 1 Tbsp. walnuts or almonds
- 1 Tbsp. toasted or raw sesame seeds
- Honey or rice molasses.
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Blend everything and serve. Sip without straining.
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