Vitamin B2 (Thiamine) Rich Foods for a Healthy Diet

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including energy production, red blood cell production, and skin and eye health.  While vitamin B2 is found in a variety of foods, some sources of vitamin B2 are better than others.

In this article, we’ll showcase the best natural food sources of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) rich foods and recipes, helping you ensure that you get enough of this essential nutrient.  

If you want to learn more, we’ll also discuss what vitamin B2 is, why it is important, and some good sources of vitamin B2 and showcase our NutriBooster recipes that contain the most vitamin B2.

Whether you are looking to boost your energy levels, improve your skin and eye health, or simply ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients your body needs, this article is for you.  

Read on to learn about vitamin B2 and how to get more of it in your diet.  

High Vitamin B2 Foods (Per Serving)

If you find yourself falling short of the recommended riboflavin intake, it’s time to focus on foods that pack more vitamin B2 per serving.  To help you get started, the infographic below shows the riboflavin provided by popular foods in the average serving sizes consumed by our Optimisers.

High Vitamin B2 Foods (Per Serving)

Once you’re ready to revitalise your diet with a wider variety of high-riboflavin foods, download our printable list of foods with more vitamin B2 per serving here.

Vitamin B2-Rich Foods (Per Calorie)

Once you know you’re getting the minimum amount of vitamin B2 your body needs, you can zero in on foods that deliver more riboflavin per calorie to increase your satiety and nutrient density.  The infographic below shows popular foods that provide more riboflavin per calorie.  For more variety, check out our printable list of riboflavin-rich foods per calorie.                                          

Vitamin B2-Rich Foods (Per Calorie)

Vitamin B2 Food Chart

Curious about how your favourite foods stack up in the thiamine game?  Dive into our dynamic chart showcasing popular foods, comparing vitamin B2 content per calorie and per serving.   For an immersive experience, explore the interactive Tableau version of this chart (on your computer).

riboflavin B2 foods per calorie vs per serving

How Much Riboflavin (B2) Do You Need?

Our satiety analysis reveals that we crave at least 1.2 mg of vitamin B2 per 2000 calories, slightly more than the Dietary Reference Intake of 1.3 g for men.  However, striving for the Optimal Intake of 4.0 mg/2000 calories from food aligns with a 24% reduction in energy intake. 

How Much Riboflavin (B2) Do You Need?

It’s hard to overdose on vitamin B2 because it is water-soluble and easily excreted in the urine.   However, it’s important to note that we don’t see a greater satiety impact with very high intakes of vitamin B2 from supplements or fortification.  You can’t hack your satiety with a multivitamin or fortified foods.  This satiety response occurs when we get plenty of vitamin B2 from foods that contain all the other essential nutrients as well. 

Vitamin B2-Rich Recipes

Elevate your culinary game with our chart, showcasing over 1400 NutriBooster recipes packed with foods that contain more vitamin B2 that we use in our Micros Masterclass.  We’ve plotted these recipes based on vitamin B2 content versus protein percentage.  The further right you go, the more vitamin B2 you can enjoy with fewer calories.

vitamin B2 recipes

Dive into the details with our interactive Tableau chart on your computer.  Click on each recipe to uncover the magic behind it and even feast your eyes on mouthwatering pictures!

pictures o vitamin B2 recipes

Why is Vitamin B2 Important? 

  • Energy production: Vitamin B2 is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which are the body’s main sources of energy.  It helps convert food into fuel that can be used by the body to carry out its functions.
  • Red blood cell production: Vitamin B2 is also involved in the production of red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues and organs.
  • Skin and eye health: Vitamin B2 is important for maintaining healthy skin, nails, and eyes.  It helps prevent skin disorders like dermatitis and supports the health of the cornea.
  • Brain function: Vitamin B2 plays a role in the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells.  It also supports healthy brain function and may help prevent certain neurological disorders.
  • Antioxidant activity: Vitamin B2 has antioxidant properties that help protect the body from oxidative stress, which can lead to cell damage and contribute to the development of chronic diseases.

Benefits of vitamin B2 in your body

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) enables your body to break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and is vital in maintaining your body’s energy supply

Riboflavin helps convert carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for use in your cells. 

You require almost twice as much riboflavin to burn fat as burning glucose for fuel.  So, vitamin B2 is particularly important if you are on a lower-carb diet and getting most of your fuel from fat. 

Riboflavin also plays an essential role in producing red blood cells and releasing energy from your food, as well as maintaining the health of your skin and digestive tract

You will require more vitamin B2 if you are losing weight or active, and even more if you are both losing and being active simultaneously.

Vitamin B2 deficiency symptoms

Symptoms of riboflavin deficiency include:

Availability of Vitamin B2 in the Food System

Riboflavin availability has increased with the fortification of grains and cereals since the 1940s and in the 1970s.  However, as shown in the chart below (data from the USDA Economic Research Service), fortification provides enough B2 to meet the Daily Recommended Intake (i.e., 1.3 mg/day).   Even with fortification, dietary thiamine declined after the introduction of the USDA Guidelines for Americans in 1977

Availability of Vitamin B2 in the diet

Vegans may need to pay extra attention to vitamin B2 intake

Without eggs, milk, liver, or a lot of fresh vegetables in their diet, vegans may struggle to get enough vitamin B2. 

People who do not consume animal products should minimise processed foods that contain minimal vitamin B2 and focus on nutrient-dense, minimally processed whole foods. 

People following a high-fat diet (e.g., keto or low carb) may also need to prioritise riboflavin, given that high-fat foods typically don’t contain a lot of it.  As noted above, you also need more vitamin B2 to convert the fat in your diet to usable energy in your cells. 

Fun fact about thiamine in vitamin supplements

It’s vitamin B2 that causes the fluorescent pee when we supplement B vitamins, so vitamin manufacturers often like to add a little bit extra to make you feel you are getting your money’s worth. 

Storage losses

Riboflavin is heat-stable, so it doesn’t break down when you cook it.  However, vitamin B2 leaches into the cooking water and degrades quickly when exposed to light (which is why milk cartons are opaque).

Processing losses

Between ten and twenty per cent of riboflavin is lost in the pasteurisation of milk and 10 to 20% in the cooking of meat.

How Can I Calculate if I am Getting Enough Vitamin B2? 

Curious about your Vitamin B2 intake?  Take our Free 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge and discover if you’re hitting the riboflavin sweet spot in your diet.

After just one week of tracking your daily meals with Cronometer, Nutrient Optimiser will unveil a personalised roadmap, your guide to a healthier, more nutrient-rich lifestyle. 

You’ll receive a curated list of foods and tantalising NutriBooster recipes that not only fill your Vitamin B2 gaps but also ensure you’re not missing out on vital nutrients like selenium.

Ready to unlock your nutrient potential?  Join the challenge and embark on a journey towards a brighter, healthier you!

Nutrient Density Starter Pack

Ready to supercharge your nutrition?  Get our Nutrient Density Starter Pack – your all-access pass to a healthier, more vibrant you!

In our quest to make Nutritional Optimization a breeze, we’re thrilled to offer you this treasure trove of tools and resources when you join our vibrant Optimising Nutrition Community:

  • Food Lists: Discover our carefully crafted lists optimised for each essential nutrient, tailored to your goals, preferences, and unique conditions.
  • The Healthiest Meal Plan in the World: Peek into a week of mouthwatering, nutrient-dense meals that’ll leave you satisfied and energised.
  • Recipes: Download delectable samples from our NutriBooster recipe books, designed to elevate your nutrition while tantalising your taste buds.
  • 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge: Unearth your priority nutrients and pinpoint the foods and meals that pack a nutrient punch so you can kickstart your journey to better health.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to transform your nutrition effortlessly.  Join our community and unlock your path to a healthier, more vibrant you!”

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