Nutrient to Know: Thiamin

by in Nutrients to Know, May 26, 2011
Grilled Pork Chop Recipe
Grilled Pork Chops With Gremolata

This water-soluble nutrient can be found in a variety of foods, including some popular picnic fare. Here’s what you need to know about thiamin, plus how to get your daily dose — just in time for grilling season.

What is it?
Also known as vitamin B1, thiamin is commonly found in many plant and animal foods like whole grains, beans, fish, pork and enriched pasta. It’s also found in small amounts in fruits and vegetables. Because it’s available in so many foods, supplements typically aren’t necessary. Thiamin is often found in multi-vitamins, but luckily there’s no risk of toxic effects from taking in to much.

Why is it good for you?
The body relies on thiamin to help turn the carbohydrates you eat into energy. Since carbs are the body’s preferred fuel, getting proper thiamin is a must! This vitamin also helps maintain a healthy nervous system.

Not getting enough can cause poor appetite, depression and muscle pain. Long-term deficiency can cause severe damage to the heart and nervous system in a condition known as beriberi.

Where can I find it?
The daily recommendation for this vitamin is 1.5 milligrams per day. Try some of these tasty sources, listed from most to least of your daily needs:

4.5 ounce grilled pork chop = 0.7 milligrams (47%)
3 ounces grilled tuna – 0.4 milligrams (27%)
1 cup cooked pasta = 0.4 milligrams (27%)
3 ounces grilled salmon 0.2 milligrams (13%)
1/2 cup black beans = 0.2 milligrams (13%)
1 whole-wheat hamburger bun = 0.1 milligrams (7%)
1 cup diced melon = 0.04 milligrams (6%)

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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