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13 Foods Rich In Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) You Should Try

Foods Rich In Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Thiamine- or vitamin B1-rich foods cover crowd-pleasers like pork and delicious seafood, vegan staples like beans and lentils, and vegetables like asparagus or Brussels sprouts. Fill in the gaps with sweet potato, macadamia nuts, and sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds. Enriched foods like whole grain bread and cereal also have thiamine.

If you are aiming to ramp up that vitamin B1 intake, it doesn’t have to be too hard. In fact, you’ll find a lot of favorites on this list of the best thiamine-rich foods to include in your diet. Add these to your meal plan for the week and you’ll be well on your way to getting to those dietary intake target numbers for the nutrient.

Vitamin B1 Is Essential For Your Health

One of the eight B vitamins, thiamine or vitamin B1 is important for the growth and development of your cells due to its key role in energy metabolism. It helps you use the carbs and proteins you consume for energy.1 Not getting enough leaves you vulnerable to problems like beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. These can result in symptoms ranging from general weakness, nausea, tingling or numbness in extremities, and constipation; to confusion, pain, gait abnormalities, weight loss; and even cardiac symptoms like rapid heartbeat or low blood pressure and fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). If left unchecked, the consequences of a severe deficiency can be potentially life-threatening. Which is why it is so important to ensure you are getting the recommended levels of vitamin B1 that your body needs.2

You Need 1.1–1.2 mg of Vitamin B1 Every Day

How much thiamine you need can vary depending on whether you are male or female, and whether or not you are pregnant or breastfeeding. In general, adult men need 1.2 mg a day while women’s needs are marginally lower, at 1.1 mg daily, according to the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) set by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine. With a baby on board as well as when you are nursing the baby, you’ll need 1.4 mg daily.3

When it comes to dietary sources of vitamin B1, their nutrient richness is tracked against the daily value (DV) which measures how much a serving of food contributes to your daily intake of a nutrient. This stands at 1.2 mg for adults. In other words, for a food to be considered very rich in vitamin B1, it will need to have at least 0.24 mg of the vitamin, which is 20%.4 With that information, let’s dive right into the best sources of vitamin B1!

1. Pork

Pork loin/tenderloin (roasted), 3 oz: 0.81 mg (67.5% DV)

If you enjoy your pork, you’ll probably be delighted to hear it’s a great source of vitamin B1. But for your own sake, stick to the leaner cuts! You stand to gain anywhere from 33–68% DV from a 3-ounce serving.

  • Pork loin/tenderloin (roasted), 3 oz: 0.81 mg (67.5% DV)5
  • Pork chop, bone-in, broiled, 3 oz: mg 0.4 mg (33.3% DV)6

Use a good spice rub on the pork and bake or grill it off before serving it with some vegetables. Or bake it in the oven after generously dousing it in orange juice, brown sugar, and Italian herbs and spices. A mustardy pork loin roast is a delicious option too. Asian recipes with soy sauce, sesame seeds, and greens will take you to sweet-savory heaven!

2. Beans And Lentils

Navy beans, 1 cup, cooked (boiled): 0.43 mg (35.8% DV)

Vegans and vegetarians, as well as anyone trying to diversify their palate to include vegetable proteins, can get their thiamine from the wide range of lentils and beans on offer. Use them in stews, casseroles, bean soups, tacos, Indian curries, and more. Beans can be quite versatile. If you are in the mood for something Mediterranean, make a lovely creamy Greek-style bean dip to kick off your meal. Or try a Mexican style chili or bean enchiladas. Those who like their Indian food may enjoy a spiced curry with fragrant rice on the side. Many beans can also make a salad heartier. Here are some of the many options you have when it comes to beans:

  • Navy beans, 1 cup, cooked (boiled): 0.43 mg (35.8% DV)7
  • Black beans, 1 cup, cooked (boiled): 0.42 mg (35% DV)8
  • Mung beans, 1 cup, cooked (boiled): 0.33 mg (27.5% DV)9
  • Lentils, 1 cup, cooked (boiled): 0.34 mg (28.3% DV)10
  • Mungo beans,1 cup, cooked (boiled): 0.27 mg (27.5% DV)11
  • Kidney beans, 1 cup, cooked (boiled): 0.28 mg (23.3% DV)12
  • Lima beans, 1 cup, cooked (boiled): 0.24 mg (20% DV)13
  • Fava beans/broad beans, 1 cup, cooked (boiled): 0.17 mg (14.2% DV)14

3. Fish And Shellfish

Trout, cooked (dry heat), 3 oz: 0.4 mg (33.3% DV)

Seafood is another alternative for boosting your thiamine intake. Cook up a delicious fisherman’s stew or seafood chowder, or enjoy a simply cooked filet of any of these fish to bump up that B1 intake. Smoked trout is delicious too. Or enjoy bluefin tuna in its pristine glory as sushi or sashimi. Marinate and grill the fish as meaty steaks. Ginger, soy, and a little lime or perhaps even some honey make for a great combination. Here are some of the best seafood sources of vitamin B1:15

  • Trout, cooked (dry heat), 3 oz: 0.4 mg (33.3% DV)
  • Mussels (blue), cooked (moist heat), 3 oz: 0.3 mg (25% DV)
  • Bluefin tuna, cooked(dry heat), 3 oz: 0.2 mg (16.7% DV)

4. Acorn Squash

1 cup of baked cubed acorn squash: 0.4 mg (33.3% DV)

1 cup of baked cubed acorn squash: 0.4 mg (33.3% DV)

Roast acorn squash to eat along with a main meal or whizz it into a hearty acorn squash soup. You may also like the squash stuffed with your choice of fillings – whether that’s meat, rice or quinoa, nuts, or even beans. You might even want to try a squash salad with a ginger dressing. A cup of baked cubed Acorn squash has 0.4 mg of thiamine, that’s 33.3% DV.16

5. Green Peas

1 cup of boiled peas: 0.41 mg (34.2% DV)

1 cup of boiled peas: 0.41 mg (34.2% DV)

There is 0.41 mg of vitamin B1 in a cup of boiled green peas. That’s 34.2% DV of the nutrient.17 Green peas are divine in risotto and pasta, paired with ham and your choice of cheeses and herbs. They are also an evergreen side to go with a pot roast or grilled meat. Make yourself a delicious chicken pot pie with liberal handfuls of peas. Or try a fried rice with peas along with your choice of meats and vegetables. Just swap out the rice with quinoa or cauliflower rice if you’re cutting carbs.

6. Edamame

1 cup of cooked edamame: 0.31 mg (25.8% DV)

1 cup of cooked edamame: 0.31 mg (25.8% DV)

There is 0.31 mg of thiamine (25.8% DV) in a cup of prepared edamame, so you may want to consider adding it to your regular diet.18 They are actually really easy to use – have them steamed, roasted, or even fried. You can let its own flavor shine in a snack or appetizer or use it as one among many delicious and fresh ingredients in a gumbo or a quinoa salad.

7. Asparagus

1 cup of cooked asparagus: 0.29 mg (24.2% DV)

1 cup of cooked asparagus: 0.29 mg (24.2% DV)

Those delicate green stalks of asparagus are a delicious way to get your thiamine. A cup of cooked asparagus has 0.29 mg of vitamin B1 or 24.2% DV.19 Grill or saute the stalks in a pan with some olive oil, garlic, and a cracking of fresh pepper and salt. Add them to a pizza or pasta primavera for a real ode to springtime. Or make a delicate asparagus soup. French-style open sandwiches or tartines pair asparagus to perfection with light cheeses like ricotta.

8. Seeds

An ounce of toasted sesame seeds has 0.23 mg or 19.2% DV of thiamine.

Certain “foods” aren’t really used in cooking as such but are good dietary sources of vitamin B1. Take, for instance, spirulina, a form of seaweed. A tablespoon of dried spirulina contains 0.17 mg of thiamine or 14.2% DV.20 Depending on the brand you use, 1.5 tablespoons of nutritional yeast has as much as 10 to 12 mg of thiamine – that is 833–1000% DV or 8 to 10 times your DV.2122

Seeds clearly can get you a leg up in your attempt to increase B1 intake. But how do you best use them? Some like sesame seeds can be blended to create Middle Eastern tahini or used along with chickpeas in making hummus. They also liven up Asian style stir-fry recipes. Sesame seed brittle can be a fun treat for kids – or you! Flax seeds or sunflower seeds, on the other hand, are great added to home-baked bread for crunch or in smoothies for that extra nutrition. You might even want to just scatter some over your cereal or oatmeal.

  • An ounce of toasted sesame seeds has 0.23 mg or 19.2% DV of thiamine.23
  • An ounce of toasted sunflower seed kernels has 0.1 mg or 8.3% DV of vitamin B1, but if you use more in a recipe, like say half a cup worth, you’ll get 0.22 mg of the nutrient, or 18.3% DV.24
  • Using as little as a tablespoon of flaxseeds gives you 0.17 mg of thiamin, or 14.2% DV.25

9. Sweet Potato

1 cup of baked sweet potato: 0.21 mg (17.8% DV)

1 cup of baked sweet potato: 0.21 mg (17.8% DV)

A cup of baked sweet potato flesh has about 0.21 mg of thiamine or 17.8% DV.26 So dig out those recipes for sweet potatoes and get cooking! Spuds are back in business with this nutritious avatar of the potato. Trade in regular potato mash for sweet potato mash. Skip the French fries and make oven-baked sweet potato fries instead to get that thiamine intake going.

10. Macadamia Nuts

1 ounce of dry roasted macadamia nuts: 0.2 mg (16.8% DV)

1 ounce of dry roasted macadamia nuts: 0.2 mg (16.8% DV)

An ounce of dry roasted macadamia nuts has 0.2 mg of thiamine, which is around 16.8% DV of the nutrient.27 While other nuts do have thiamine, macadamia nuts are your best bet. For instance, pine nuts contain about 0.1 mg or 8.6% DV, which is not bad but not as much as what macadamia nuts contain.28 Other popular nuts like almonds contain even less.

Macadamia nuts take well to baking so make your cookies tastier with this nutty addition! They also taste divine in a chocolate tart or brownie. Combine them with coconut for an inspired twist on pancakes. Or try your hand at macadamia nut relish made from the nuts along with garlic, herbs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and oil. It also pairs well with fish like cod.

11. Brussels Sprouts

1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts: 0.17 mg (14.2% DV)

1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts: 0.17 mg (14.2% DV)

A cup of cooked Brussels sprouts has 0.17 mg of vitamin B1 or 14.2% DV.29 Roast off your Brussels sprouts so they take on another dimension of rich flavor. Play around with how you season them to make them taste different each time. Cook them with garlic butter or bacon or even sriracha sauce. Or make a cheesy dip with Brussels sprouts chopped into it. You could even make latkes with the vegetable!

12. Leafy Greens

1 cup of boiled spinach: 0.17 mg (14.2% DV)

1 cup of boiled spinach: 0.17 mg (14.2% DV)

Some green leafy vegetables can also supply you with vitamin B1 in good amounts. For instance, a cup of boiled chopped beet greens or a cup of boiled spinach has 0.17 mg of the nutrient, meeting 14.2% DV.3031 Add the greens to a stir-fry or pasta recipe, a green smoothie, or a soup. Use them in an Indian style lentil based curry or just saute them with garlic and oil.

13. Fortified Foods

Breakfast cereals, fortified, 1 serving: 1.5 mg (125% DV)

To avoid vitamin B1 deficiency, many foods are fortified with the vitamin. While exact numbers will vary from brand to brand, this list is indicative of the amount of the nutrient you could, on average, expect to get from these standard serving sizes of the foods:32

  • Breakfast cereals, fortified, 1 serving: 1.5 mg (125% DV)
  • Rice, white, long grain, enriched, parboiled, 1 cup: 2.8 mg (233.3% DV)
  • Egg noodles, enriched, cooked, 1 cup: 0.5 mg (41.7% DV)
  • Macaroni, whole wheat, cooked, 1 cup: 0.2 mg (16.7% DV)
  • Rice, brown, long grain, not enriched, cooked, 1 cup: 0.2 mg (16.7% DV)
  • Oatmeal, regular and quick, unenriched, cooked with water, 1 cup: 0.2 mg (16.7% DV)
  • Bread, whole wheat, 2 slices: 0.2 mg (16.7% DV)

While thiamine supplementation may be needed for those with a deficiency or health problems like metabolic disorders that may put them at greater risk of a deficiency, it is a good idea to aim at getting the vitamin through your diet. And as you’ve seen, there’s plenty of variety to choose from.

References   [ + ]

1, 15, 16, 32. Thiamin. Office of Dietary Supplements.
2. Martel, Julianna L., and David S. Franklin. “Vitamin, B1 (Thiamine).” (2017).
3. Thiamin.Office of Dietary Supplements.
4. Labeling Daily Values. National Institutes of Health.
5. Pork, fresh, loin, tenderloin, separable lean only, cooked, roasted. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
6. Thiamin. Office of Dietary Supplements.
7. Beans, navy, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
8. Beans, black, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
9. Mung beans, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
10. Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
11. Mungo beans, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
12. Beans, kidney, all types, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
13. Lima beans, immature seeds, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
14. Broadbeans (fava beans), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
17. Peas, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
18. Edamame, frozen, prepared. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
19. Asparagus, cooked, boiled, drained. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
20. Seaweed, spirulina, dried. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
21. SAVORY NUTRITIONAL YEAST FLAKES, UPC: 017929745608. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
22. LARGE FLAKE NUTRITIONAL YEAST, UPC: 039978005465. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
23. Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, roasted and toasted. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
24. Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, toasted, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
25. Seeds, flaxseed. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
26. Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin, flesh, with salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
27. Nuts, macadamia nuts, dry roasted, without salt added. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
28. Nuts, pine nuts, dried. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
29. Brussels sprouts, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
30. Beet greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
31. Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.