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The Alphabet of Vitamins: Vitamin B

by on September 6, 2016
 
What is Vitamin B and what does it do?

Vitamin B is known as the energy vitamin! It gives your body the power source it needs to keep up with its daily processes and maintenance.  B vitamins have also been known to reduce stress, treat depression, speed up healing of cuts and wounds, help brain function, and reduce risk of heart disease. There are eight different types, and each one has an important function in the body, but they typically work together and can be found in the same foods:

B₁ (thiamin)                             Extracts energy from carbohydrates

B₂ (riboflavin)                          Helps with energy metabolism

B₃ (niacin)                               Helps break down sugar, fat, and alcohol

B₅ (pantothenic acid)         Builds amino acids, fatty acids, antibodies, and more

B₆ (pyridoxine)                      Balances sodium and potassium, and helps build red blood cells

B₇ (biotin)                              Helps cell growth and creation of fatty acids

B₉ (folic acid)                        Builds and repairs DNA and helps cell division

B₁₂ (cobalamin)                   Breaks down carbs and fats and helps produce blood cells in bones

How much Vitamin B do you need?

It’s important to get a sufficient amount of Vitamin B for healthy cells. However, too much Vitamin B can cause as many problems as too little, so be careful not to overdo it. 

Are you getting enough Vitamin B?

Without enough Vitamin B, your body could suffer from serious conditions, such as anemia, depression, eczema, or irritation of the mouth. Including Vitamin B-rich foods like the ones listed above in your diet is the best way to get what you need, but if your doctor or nutritionist is worried that you may not be getting enough, supplements can be a great help.  Vitamins B₆ and B₁₂ can be sold on their own, but you can also purchase Vitamin B-complex supplements that contain a mixture of some or all of the B vitamins.  Check the labels to be sure, or follow your doctor or nutritionist’s prescription.

What foods are a good source of Vitamin B?

Most of the types of B vitamins can be obtained in your regular diet.  Meats like turkey, tuna, and liver are high in Vitamin B, as are beans, bananas, whole grains and brown rice, egg whites, milk, and potatoes. Nutritional yeast is also a great source of Vitamin B₁₂.  Nutritional yeast can be added to raw vegan recipes to mimic a “cheese” flavor; however, since nutritional yeast itself does not contain Vitamin B12, you can get a brand that is fortified, such as Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast.  Here’s a quick and delicious raw vegan recipe:

Cannelloni di Zucchini (rich in Vitamin B)

Ingredients:

This is a pasta / pesto / ricotta combination that contains no gluten, no dairy, and no meat.

Pasta:

1 unpeeled zucchini

1 heirloom tomato

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Celtic salt

Pesto:

1/2 cup fresh arugula

1/4 cup mint

1/4 cup parsley

1 tablespoon pinenuts

1/4 teaspoon Celtic salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Ricotta:

1 cup macadamia nuts (soaked overnight)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon Celtic salt

1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

Pasta:

You will need a mandoline, two rectangular glass dishes and two sheets of parchment paper. Cover the rectangular glass dishes with the parchment paper. After washing thoroughly the zucchini and the tomato using water and lemon juice (8 to 1), run the zucchini through the mandonline set to 1/16″ thickness. Lay each “leaf” that comes out of the mandonline next to each other on one of the glass dishes. Slice the tomato in thin slices and place them on the other dish apart from each other. Drizzle olive oil over, sprinkle Celtic salt and grind fresh black pepper corns over both the zucchini and the tomato slices. Covered both dishes (the type we are recommending have their own lid) and place them in the refrigerator.

Pesto:

You will need a food processor. First pour the pine nuts in the food processor and pulse it until coarsely ground. Next add the herbs and pulse it again to break them down. Add the arugula, the Celtic salt and the freshly ground black pepper and pulse this mixture a few more times. Finally pour in the oil one tablespoon at a time, pulsing each time. There should be no chunks, only the coarse consistency of pesto. Place the pesto in a glass bowl.

Ricotta:

You will need a high-speed blender. The macadamia nuts should be soaked overnight to release the enzymes. Rinse the macadamia well and place them in the blender along with the lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast and Celtic salt. Do not add the olive oil quite yet. Blend until this ricotta mixture is smooth. Add the olive oil slowly while the blender runs at slow speed. The goal is to emulsify the mixture with the oil. If you need more salt, pepper or lemon juice, feel free to add it and blend. Place this mixture in a second glass bowl.

Assembly of Pasta / Pesto / Ricotta Elements to form the Cannelloni:

You will need a cutting board and a couple of spoons. Take out of the refrigerator the zucchini and tomato dishes. Place them on the counter next to the cutting board. On the other side of the cutting board place the pesto and the ricotta bowls. Carefully overlap 3 of the zucchini slices over the cutting board in the longitudinal position (one end point towards you and the other end towards the wall). Now add 3 tablespoons of ricotta over the zucchini slices, spreading it gently until 1/3 of the surface is covered—the surface closest to you. Next, spread the pesto until 2/3 of the surface are covered. You need to be gentle so that the 3 zucchini slices do not move. Finally, take one slice of the tomato and place it over in the center of the zucchini slices and press it slightly so that it is fixed in both mixtures. You are now going to roll the 3 slices of zucchini together. You can use a stainless steel spatula or just your fingers for this. Carefully roll the 3 zucchini slices until the end. Shape your roll by hand until it looks like the one in the picture. Place the roll on a platter using the stainless steel spatula. Repeat this process until all of the zucchini slices are gone. Serve it over a bed of arugula, and garnish it with fresh basil or fresh oregano leaves.

Vitamin B Conclusion

Vitamin B is hugely important for your cells to be as healthy as possible.  It keeps your body energized and your metabolism running.  Naturally, you should make sure that it is in balance with the intake of all the other essential vitamins, but B is the vitamin that will make sure you get through your hectic day.

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