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Fun Facts: Which Foods Have the Most Vitamins?

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 16 Sep 2012 |
 
Vitamin A Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin

Vitamin A

Vitamin A (retinol) is a fat soluble vitamin (see ‘What Are Fat Soluble Vitamins?’) that is important for eyes (see ‘Nightblindness and Xerophthalmia: Vitamin A Deficiency’), the immune system, bones, skin, the growth and development of the unborn baby and health of the heart and blood vessels (see also ‘What Does Vitamin A do?’).

The UK Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 0.7 mg for men and 0.6 mg for women. The richest source of vitamin A is cod liver oil, with 30,000 mcg per 100 g. However, it would be hard to eat that much cod liver oil. The next highest level food is liver, containing from 3,981 mcg per 100 g in cooked chicken liver to 22,600 mcg per 100 g in cooked turkey liver.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is a water-soluble vitamin. Thiamine is important for the heart, muscles, nerves and metabolism (converting food into energy) – see also ‘The Importance of B Vitamins’). A deficiency causes beri beri (see ‘Beri Beri and Pellagra: Deficiency of Vitamins B1, B3’).

The UK RDA for vitamin B1 is 1 mg for men and 0.8 mg for women. The richest source of vitamin B1 is yeast extract, with 9 mg per 100 g. Pork and many seeds and nuts have 1 mg per 100 g. Fortified breakfast cereals are also high in vitamin B1.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is a water-soluble vitamin and is important for metabolism.

The UK RDA for vitamin B3 is 1.3 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women. The richest source of vitamin B1 is yeast extract, with 14 mg per 100 g, and yeast, with 5 mg per 100 g. Liver and kidneys have 1-4 mg per 100 g, and soy flour has 1 mg per 100 g. Fortified breakfast cereals are also high in vitamin B2.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 (niacin) is a water-soluble vitamin. A deficiency causes pellagra (see ‘Beri Beri and Pellagra: Deficiency of Vitamins B1, B3’).

The UK RDA for vitamin B3 is 17 mg for men and 13 mg for women. The richest source of vitamin B3 is yeast extract, with 97 mg per 100 g, and yeast, with 39 mg per 100 g. Anchovies have 19 mg per 100 g, liver has 12-17 mg per 100 g, tuna has 12-15 mg per 100 g, and peanuts have 14-15 mg per 100 g. Fortified breakfast cereals are also high in vitamin B3.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a water-soluble vitamin and supports red blood cell production.

The UK RDA for vitamin B6 is 1.4 mg for men and 1.2 mg for women. Peanut butter has 2 mg per 100 g, and liver, garlic, nuts, yeast, wheat germ and yeast extract have 1 mg per 100 g. Fortified breakfast cereals are also high in vitamin B6.

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate) is a water soluble vitamin, and is important in red blood cell production and in the development of the unborn child.

The UK RDA for vitamin B9 is 0.2 mg, and is 0.4 mg for pregnant women. Rice has 79-225 mcg per 100 g, pasta has 154-175 mcg per 100 g, and bread has 69-131 mcg per 100 g. Fortified breakfast cereals are also high in vitamin B9.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and is important in metabolism, blood and brain function.

The UK RDA for vitamin B12 is 0.0015 mcg. Seafood is a rich source of vitamin B12, at 10-98 mg per 100g, as is liver (21-90 mcg per 100g). Fortified breakfast cereals are also high in vitamin B12.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin (see ‘Getting the Right Amount of Vitamin C’). It is important for metabolism, and a lack causes scurvy (see ‘The role of Vitamins and Scurvy’).

The UK RDA for vitamin C is 40 mg. Acerola (a tropical fruit) has 1,677 mg per 100 g. Chillies have 143-242 mg per 100 g, guavas 228 mg per 100 g, peppers 162-190 mg per 100 g, cloudberries 158 mg per 100 g, kale 130 mg per 100 g, broccoli 93 mg per 100 g and Brussels’ sprouts 83 mg. Oranges have 45-59 mg per 100 g.

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