Simply put, biotin is a B vitamin. It is also called vitamin B7 (or vitamin H) and is one of the B complex vitamins that convert food into energy. The name ‘biotin’ originates from the ancient Greek word ‘biotos’, which means ‘sustenance’ or ‘life’. Most of the foods we eat have it in small amounts, but that doesn’t mean we take it for granted. Because biotin has an important role to play in virtually all body systems.
Biotin is essential for the health of your brain, eyes, skin, hair, nails, liver, and also the nervous system. It is important during pregnancy – as it supports embryonic growth. Recent research has stated that getting additional biotin regulates blood sugar levels, promotes the health of the hair, skin, and nails, and even helps pregnant mothers have healthier babies. Additionally, biotin supports your metabolism and balances blood sugar levels. It also protects the heart as it increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Biotin is also essential for muscle health and repair.
Three ounces of cooked (beef) liver contain 30.8 micrograms of biotin. Beef liver also contains a large amount of high-quality protein. Other important nutrients include B vitamins and folate. Protein builds muscle mass and is important for cell function too. B vitamins sustain your energy levels while folate improves heart health.
One whole cooked egg contains 10 micrograms of biotin. We can’t stress enough about the importance of eggs. They are whole foods. They are a complete protein with an extensive amino acid profile. The protein aids muscle growth and helps in energy production. Eggs are also rich in zinc, iodine, selenium, and vitamins A and D – nutrients beneficial for healthy thyroid function and the entire endocrine system.
Three ounces of salmon contain 5 micrograms of biotin. Alaskan or wild-caught salmon is best and lowest in contaminants. Avoid farm-raised salmon, which is often high in mercury and PCBs. Apart from biotin (or vitamin B7), salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. And these omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) do wonders for optimal health. They reduce inflammation caused by everyday pollutants, protect the heart, improve brain health, and keep your hair and skin healthy.
Three ounces of cooked pork chop contain 3.8 micrograms of biotin. Pork chops offer a big boost of complete protein. In addition to building muscle, protein also supports the structure and maintenance of tissues. Another nutrient pork chops are particularly rich in is zinc – a nutrient that strengthens the immune system.
Half a cup of cooked sweet potato contains 2.4 micrograms of biotin. Apart from biotin, sweet potatoes are also rich in beta-carotene – a powerful antioxidant that enhances your skin’s appearance. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids found in sweet potatoes are also known to be important for healthy vision and prevent related diseases like macular degeneration.
One-fourth cup of roasted almonds contains 1.5 micrograms of biotin. Almonds are also particularly rich in magnesium and vitamin E. They are also rich in fiber that promotes satiety and aids weight loss.
Three ounces of canned tuna contain 0.6 micrograms of biotin. Just like salmon, tuna is also rich in selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce elevated cholesterol and triglycerides and have a powerful cardioprotective effect. Select smaller tuna varieties, such as skipjack, which has the lowest level of mercury and other contaminants.
Half a cup of boiled spinach contains 0.5 micrograms of biotin. Spinach is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and chlorophyll. And it is particularly rich in iron (remember Popeye?). The antioxidants in spinach help to keep you healthy, slow the aging process, and protect against disease. As with all leafy green vegetables just make sure its organically grown (i.e., free of chemicals) for the greatest health benefits. And the iron in spinach, taken along with 250-1,000 mg of vitamin C, helps to prevent anemia by improving iron absorption.
Half a cup of fresh broccoli contains 0.4 micrograms of biotin. Broccoli is often dubbed as a superfood for the simple reason that it is loaded with nutrients. It is rich in vitamin K that promotes bone and skin health. And the vitamin C and antioxidants this mini tree contains help prevent various forms of cancer.
One ounce of mild Cheddar cheese contains 0.4 micrograms of biotin. Cheddar cheese is also rich in protein (1 slice contains 7 grams), and it is complete – containing all of the essential amino acids. The cheese is a good source of calcium and phosphorus as well – the former is essential for muscle function and bone development, and the latter plays a role in kidney function and DNA production.
One cup of milk contains 0.3 micrograms of biotin. Milk is a great source of calcium, protein, and minerals that help build healthy bones and teeth. The protein it contains helps to build muscle and repair tissues, and the potassium protects the heart by maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
One cup of plain yogurt contains 0.2 micrograms of biotin. Yogurt is also super rich in calcium. And it also has good amounts of vitamin D, the deficiency of which, sadly, is commonplace today. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to hair fall, weakness, and other issues that can become severe if ignored.
One cup of oatmeal contains 0.2 micrograms of biotin. A bowl of oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfast options. Oatmeal is basically whole grain, and whole grains can cut the risk of diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. Oatmeal also helps lower cholesterol levels and protects the heart.
Half a cup of banana contains 0.2 micrograms of biotin. Bananas are known for their potassium levels and their ability to offer an energy boost when needed. They also contain fiber that improves digestive health and regularity.