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Sources of Thiamin in Diet

written by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 6/29/2011

Thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, helps the body maintain normal energy levels, supports heart function and helps the muscles and nerves work together. Several good sources of thiamin will help you meet the recommended daily intake for this important nutrient.

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    Sunflower Seeds

    Sunflower seeds have 54.7 of the recommended daily value for thiamin and also have protein, vitamin E, copper, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, folic acid and manganese. These seeds also contain phytosterols, which are plant compounds that reduce blood cholesterol levels. They may also decrease the risk of some cancers and improve the function of the immune system.

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    Black Beans

    Black beans are one of the healthiest foods in the world, according to the George Mateljan Foundation. They contain 0.42 mg of thiamin in a one-cup serving, accounting for 28 percent of the recommended daily intake for this nutrient. Black beans also contain magnesium, molybdenum, fiber, folic acid, manganese, tryptophan, protein, iron and phosphorus.

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    Yellow Corn

    Corn has several health benefits and contains a number of important nutrients. Corn contains folic acid, which reduces the amount of homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine causes blood vessel damage, so reducing the amount of substance in the blood has important benefits. Homocysteine increases the risk of vascular disease, heart attack and stroke. Folic acid also plays a role in reducing cancer risk. One cup of cooked yellow corn contains 24.0 percent of the recommended daily intake for thiamin, along with dietary fiber, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin B5 and manganese.

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    Yellowfin Tuna

    One of the best sources of thiamin is yellowfin tuna. Tuna has omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the heart and blood vessels. These substances prevent abnormal heart rhythm, reduce the risk of arterial blood clots and improve the ratio of high-density lipoprotein (“good” cholesterol) to low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol) in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation. Four oz. of baked or broiled tuna contains 38.0 percent of the recommended daily intake for thiamin. It also has selenium, vitamin B6, protein, potassium, niacin, magnesium and phosphorus.

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    Navy Beans

    Navy beans contain dietary fiber, which reduces cholesterol and prevents rapid increases in blood sugar levels after eating. They have very little fat and also contain protein, which keeps you full for longer periods and prevents snacking in between meals. Navy beans also contain magnesium and folic acid, which reduce the risk for heart disease and cardiovascular complications. One cup of navy beans contains 24.7 percent of the daily value for thiamin. This nutritious food also contains tryptophan, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese.

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    Asparagus packs 20 important nutrients into a one-cup serving, making it a nutritious addition to any diet. One of the carbohydrates in asparagus promotes healthy digestion by increasing the number of good bacteria in the intestinal tract. The combination of potassium and asparagine (an amino acid) in this food make it a natural diuretic, which helps relieve water retention and swelling. Asparagus contains 14.7 percent of the recommended daily value of thiamin. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin B2, tryptophan, fiber, manganese, copper, niacin, protein, iron and phosphorus, along with several other nutrients.

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    One cup of spinach has just 41 calories and contains over a dozen nutrients, making it one of the most nutritious sources of thiamin. This vegetable is rich in vitamin K, which help the blood clot properly. It also contains 377.3 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A, which has antioxidant properties. One serving of spinach contains 11.3 percent of the recommended daily intake for thiamin, along with potassium, vitamin E, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, protein, selenium, iron and manganese.

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    All nutrition data courtesy of The World's Healthiest Foods, sponsored by the George Mateljan Foundation.