If you’ve ever been concerned with hair loss, chances are you’ve come across information on the importance of biotin. Biotin is one of the B vitamins, and has been shown to increase hair strength, thickness, and growth. It also improves the health of nails. While these may be the best known benefits of biotin, it also has other critical functions in the body. For example, biotin plays a key role in certain metabolic and energy-generating pathways by helping bread down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into usable energy. It also helps regulate blood sugar, supports healthy skin, and assists in cell signaling.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that the body cannot store significant amounts; it must be consumed regularly in the diet. The recommended daily intake of biotin for most adults is 30 mcg. The good news is that there are plenty of foods high in biotin. Consuming a variety of biotin-rich foods will help ensure adequate intake to support a healthy metabolism, energy generation, luscious locks, and youthful skin. With that in mind, pull out your grocery list and get ready to add some of the foods high in biotin shown below.
Eggs are one of nature’s little packages of vital nutrients. For example, an egg is a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids. Egg yolks are also rich in vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that plays important roles in bone health, along with iron, which helps transport oxygen in the blood to every cell and tissue in the body. Egg yolks are also rich in B vitamins, especially biotin, with 10 mcg of biotin (33% DV) per whole egg. It’s important to note that eggs must be cooked to capitalize on this biotin, as raw egg whites contain avidin, a protein that interferes with biotin absorption.
Salmon and other fatty fish are revered for their high omega-3 fatty acid content, which helps reduce inflammation in the body. Salmon is also a great source of biotin, with each 3-ounce serving of cooked salmon providing 5 mcg of biotin. Because salmon also contains healthy fats, it’s an excellent food for healthy skin and hair.
Brewer’s yeast, which is used to make bread and beer, contains a decent amount of biotin, as does nutritional yeast, a product used in many vegan cheeses and non-dairy substitutes. There are 21 mcg in every two-tablespoon serving of nutritional yeast, for example. If you’re not sure how to use it, think of it somewhat like a Parmesan cheese substitute. Sprinkle it on salads, pasta dishes, soups, or even popcorn.
If you love the carnivorous part of your diet, you’re in luck. Meats such as hamburgers and pork chops are rich sources of biotin. A three-ounce serving of ether contains 13% of the DV, or 3.8 mcg, of biotin. Opt for lean meats to maximize the health benefits.
The majority of legumes, such as beans, lentils, peanuts, and soybeans, are a great source of biotin. They also provide complex carbohydrates, plenty of fiber including prebiotics, and iron. Peanuts and soybeans contain the most biotin among this group. For example, a one-ounce (28-gram) serving of roasted peanuts contains nearly 5 mcg of biotin, which is 17% of the recommended daily value. When considering soybeans, there is a whopping 19.3 mcg of biotin (64% DV) per 3/4-cup.
Although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, liver is one of the best dietary sources of biotin because biotin is stored in the liver (in limited quantities since it’s a water-soluble vitamin). Cooked chicken liver is an extremely rich source of biotin, with an impressive 138 mcg per three-ounce serving, which is equivalent to 460% of the DV. Cooked beef liver is a slightly less potent source of biotin, but still provides 31 mcg (103% DV) per three-ounce serving. Liver can take some getting used to, with a prominent metallic flavor due to its high iron content. However, its nutritional benefits are enough to win over some initially reluctant eaters, so you might consider giving it a try.
Seeds are also frequently considered superfoods, as they provide an array of key vitamins, minerals, and essential fats. Hemp seeds, for example, also provide a lot of fiber, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and copper. Moreover, they are a rich source of biotin. Another good option for seed lovers is sunflower seeds, with each 1/4-cup (20-gram) serving of roasted sunflower seeds providing 2.6 micrograms of biotin, which is roughly 10% of the recommended daily value.
Mushrooms provide antioxidants along with minerals like selenium and magnesium. They also contain biotin, with each cup of fresh button mushrooms providing 5.6 mcg. Consider adding mushrooms to salads, stir-fries, sandwiches, or hearty winter soups.
Though the biotin content in broccoli is fairly low—at 0.4 micrograms per half-cup—it’s such a powerhouse of other key nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, water, and calcium, that it never hurts to add it to your plate.
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients such as vitamin A and beta-carotene, vitamin C, fiber, manganese, potassium, copper, and magnesium. They are also one of the best vegetable sources of biotin. There are 2.4 mcg (8% of the recommended daily value) of biotin per 1/2 cup of cooked sweet potato. Along with the vitamin A in sweet potatoes, which is also good for the eyes and skin, the biotin makes sweet potatoes a superfood for skin health. Enjoy sweet potatoes baked, microwaved, steamed, roasted, mashed, spiralized, grilled, or even riced. If you prefer less starchy root vegetables, carrots also contain a decent amount of biotin and plenty of vitamin A as well.
Canned tuna is inexpensive and convenient. Moreover, it’s a good source of biotin. A 3-oz can of tuna packed in water provides 0.6 micrograms of biotin. Canned tuna also provides nutrients like tryptophan, which can aid sleep and promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter that elevates mood.
Almonds are a good source of biotin, with 1.5 mcgs per quarter cup. Almonds also provide healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and support heart health. They also contain vitamin E, another essential nutrient for hair and skin health. To boost your biotin dose, consider pairing almonds with another biotin-rich food, such as oatmeal. If you prefer to go the trail mix route, combine almonds with peanuts, which provide about 0.8 mcg per serving.
There are many health benefits to eating your leafy greens. From fiber and foods high in vitamin C to polyphenols and antioxidants, spinach is chock full of essential nutrients. It also provides 0.5 mcg of biotin per 1/2 cup of cooked spinach.
Cheese and Other Dairy
Cheddar cheese is the best dairy source of biotin, with 0.4 mcg per 1-ounce serving. Milk and plain yogurt are also good sources. Melatonin foods such as milk can help regulate your sleep cycle to keep you from tossing and turning at night.
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