Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is prepared by the intestinal flora within the body and is easy to digest and absorb. As the supplies stored are very low, there is a continuing necessity for the nutrient. The name is derived from the color of riboflavin (In Latin, flavus means yellow color”.) The bright yellow coloration of urine, seen sometimes, is due to the removal of extra riboflavin from the body.
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Importance of riboflavin
Riboflavin has a significant role to play in metabolism. That is why, large reserves are found in the liver, heart, and kidney. Maintaining the right balance of riboflavin is crucial for good health.
Very young and very old people, infants and invalids, and people with other health issues may not have enough riboflavin levels, as the metabolism may not provide for optimum production of the nutrient. Healthy people too, need to maintain good riboflavin levels for the efficient functioning of the body. Effective food sources for riboflavin have to be identified and included in the diet.
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Food sources for riboflavin
- Collard green, spinach, turnip greens, and kale
- Calf liver
- Romaine lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, and mustard greens
- Lean beef, eggs, and almonds
- Yogurt and cow’s milk
The food sources listed above have numerous other health benefits. It makes great sense to include them effectively in your daily diet. Multivitamin supplements also provide riboflavin when there is a deficiency. More often than not, these pills contain very much higher quantities of the nutrient than the body actually requires.
Storing and cooking riboflavin food sources
The nutritive value of riboflavin is not destroyed when the food source is cooked or heated. For instance, if you immerse noodles in boiling water, they will not lose their nutritive content of Vitamin B2. But if you keep it open/exposed to light for a long time the nutritive value is decreased or destroyed.
Foods rich in riboflavin have to be cooked in pans/pots that are kept covered and then stored in containers that block light (opaque and not transparent/translucent containers). Riboflavin foods cooked without light exposure continue to retain rich levels of the nutrient, losing less than ¼ of the nutritive value due to food preparation.
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Side effects of Riboflavin
To date, there have been no studies that indicate any kind of toxicity of Vitamin B2. The Institute of Medicine (at the National Academy of Sciences) took the decision of not setting any UL (Tolerable Upper Limit) for this particular nutrient.
Recommended Intake of riboflavin
The recommended dietary allowance of the nutrient (RDA) has been set by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science.
Age RDA in micrograms
Up to ½ a year 300
Up to one year 400
Up to 3 years 500
Up to 8 years 600
Males – up to 13 years 900
Females up to 13 years 900
For women who are aged between 14 and 18 years, the RDA is 900 micrograms while it is 1.3 milligrams for males over 14 years. For women above 18, the RDA is 1.1 milligrams. For pregnant women, the RDA is 1.6 milligrams