Healthy Foods High in Riboflavin

Riboflavin (also known as Vitamin B2) is an important, water-soluble (dissolves in water) vitamin found naturally in many different foods as well as added to some fortified foods. It is necessary for the growth, development, and overall function of cells. Riboflavin also helps turn the food you eat into the energy that fuels your body.

Why You Need Riboflavin

Riboflavin is essential for your health in a number of ways. Most people get enough riboflavin from the foods they eat, and deficiencies are rare. However, some groups of people, such as vegetarians and pregnant or breastfeeding women, are more likely to benefit from riboflavin supplementation. On average, adults need between 1.3 and 1.6 milligrams (mg) of riboflavin every day to avoid a deficiency.

Riboflavin plays an important role in regulating body systems, including:

Energy Metabolism

Along with the other B vitamins, riboflavin works to help your body convert carbohydrates into fuel. It plays a big role in helping you derive energy from the foods you eat. Because riboflavin is so important to the overall function of the cells in your body, it's important to avoid a deficiency. 

Migraine Prevention

There is some evidence to show that riboflavin supplementation may help prevent migraine headaches in adults. More research is needed to prove the preventative effects of riboflavin against migraine headaches, but preliminary studies show that it may help to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

Foods With Riboflavin

Many foods naturally contain riboflavin or are fortified with riboflavin, so it’s generally easy to get your daily requirement of this vitamin from your diet. These eight foods are some of the best sources of dietary riboflavin available:

1. Beef Liver

Beef liver is the richest source of riboflavin outside of supplements. A single three-ounce serving of cooked liver contains as much as 2.9 milligrams of riboflavin, or twice your daily requirement. 

2. Breakfast Cereals

Most breakfast cereals are fortified with riboflavin and other B vitamins. Typically, one serving of fortified breakfast cereal contains 100 % of your daily recommended value of riboflavin or 1.3 milligrams. 

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3. Dairy

A cup of milk or yogurt contains about one-third of the riboflavin you need to consume in a day. Whether you’re consuming dairy plain or in a smoothie, milk, and yogurt are great ways to get calcium and protein at the same time. 

4. Beef

Although many people avoid red meat because of the fat content, lean beef can be a healthy source of many B vitamins, including riboflavin. Three ounces of beef tenderloin contains 0.4 milligrams of riboflavin, or 31 % of your daily recommended value. 

5. Clams

If you enjoy a clambake, there’s good news: clams contain about a third of the riboflavin you need to consume in a day. And unless you have an allergy to shellfish, clams are part of a heart-healthy diet.

6. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are another great source of riboflavin, especially for vegetarians who may have trouble getting riboflavin from other foods. A ½ cup serving of portabella mushrooms contains 23 % of the daily value of riboflavin. 

7. Almonds

You may already know that almonds are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and health fat, but did you know that they’re also a good source of riboflavin? An ounce of dry-roasted almonds has 23 % of the riboflavin you need in a day. 

8. Eggs

Egg yolks are rich in B vitamins, including riboflavin. One whole egg has 0.2 milligrams of riboflavin, or about 15 %of the daily recommended value. Although eggs tend to be high in cholesterol, the amount of overall nutrition they contain makes them part of a healthy diet for most people.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 05, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

FoodData Central: “Almonds.”

Harvard Medical School: "Eggs and your health."

Harvard Medical School: "Heart Beat: Shellfish for the heart?"

Mount Sinai: “Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).”

National Institutes of Health: “Riboflavin.”

Oregon State University: “Riboflavin”

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