Whether you are following a vegan, vegetarian, or keto meal plan, you must include healthy, nutritious foods. These foods must meet your daily nutritional needs. There are nutrients that your body does not make, meaning you have to consume foods rich in those respective nutrients. One of the vitamins your body needs but does not make is biotin. It is required for several body processes and functions. We have rounded up a list of the best biotin rich foods vegetarians can consume to get this essential vitamin in their diet. Look and see.
What Is Biotin?
It is a water-soluble vitamin that helps with the metabolism of carbs, fats, and protein in your body. Sometimes it is also referred to as vitamin H or B7 (12). Please note, your body does not store any meaningful amounts of water-soluble vitamins. This means that you have to consume foods rich in water-soluble vitamins daily.
Before we look at the best food sources of biotin for vegetarians it is essential to understand why we need this vitamin in our bodies. So, here are some reasons or health benefits associated with vitamin H or B7:
- Healthy Pregnancy. Some women experience mild biotin deficiency during their pregnancy. This can be serious as it is required for fetal development. In addition to folic acid, pregnant women should look for at least 30 mcg biotin in their daily prenatal supplements (12).
- Nerve Health. According to WebMD, biotin is thought to help your nerves recover from damage associated with health issues such as multiple sclerosis, although studies have not demonstrated any long term benefit (3).
- Healthy Nails, Hair, and Skin. Some studies reveal that biotin might enhance your skin and hair health and improve the strength and durability of your fingernails (12). However, overall scientific evidence is limited.
- Reduces Blood Glucose Levels. Experts have also discovered promising early results on the effects of biotin on lowering blood glucose levels in individuals with type 1 and 2 diabetes (1). More research is still needed to confirm these findings.
- Promoting Better Digestive Health. Biotin helps in metabolizing compounds such as carbs and protein from our foods. Similarly, it converts folic acid into its active form, which enables your body to form new red blood cells (3).
- Treating Biotin Deficiency. There is no standard test for low biotin levels. However, you can look for symptoms of biotin deficiency, including hair loss (alopecia), lethargy (lack of energy), hallucinations, depression, and numbness of your hands and feet (3). Experts also suggest you watch out for scaly rash, particularly around your eyes, mouth, nose, and genitals (3).
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Biotin Rich Foods Vegetarian-Based
Before we look at foods that are high in biotin and are vegetarian-based, we must remind ourselves of the vegetarian diet principles. Individuals following such a diet do not consume meat or fish but may eat eggs and dairy products (9).
There are a variety of vegetarian diets, and the foods you consume will be based on the type of diet you are following. The varieties are as follows (9):
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Such vegetarians do not consume meat or fish but eat eggs and dairy products.
- Lacto-vegetarians. Individuals in this category can consume meat, fish, and dairy products but not eggs.
- Ovo-vegetarians. If you follow this vegetarian variety diet, you can consume meat, fish, and eggs but not dairy products.
With this insight, we can tell that if eggs and dairy products make it to the list, some vegetarians will consume them, and others will not. That said, here are some biotin food sources:
Sweet potatoes are among the staple foods found in most households. They are rich in fiber, potassium, and other essential nutrients. These potatoes have a variety of possible health benefits, including (10):
- Improving insulin sensitivity among individuals with diabetes.
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
- Improving digestion and regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
- Reducing cancer risk.
- Enhancing eye health due to their excellent source of beta-carotene.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Supporting the immune system.
In addition to the listed benefits, food experts also acknowledge sweet potatoes are an excellent source of biotin. A half-cup of cooked sweet potatoes has roughly 2.4 mcg of biotin or vitamin B7 (11).
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Next, we have the nutritious mushrooms that people buy when fresh, dried, or canned. There are several varieties of mushrooms, such as truffles and puffballs. Therefore, the nutrition profile varies depending on the type of mushroom you consume.
Eating mushrooms has various potential health benefits, including (7):
- Reducing risk of breast, lung, and prostate cancer due to high antioxidant content.
- Helping with type 2 diabetes management due to its high fiber content.
- Enhancing cardiovascular health due to fiber, vitamin C, and potassium richness.
- Promoting a healthy pregnancy due to the provision of folate.
- Packing your body with B vitamins, such as B-2, B-1, B-9, B-5, and B-3.
Although food experts acknowledge mushrooms are rich in biotin, they still cannot tell the exact quantity of these foods’ nutrients. However, it is believed that a serving of mushrooms can provide up to 10% of your daily value (3).
Broccoli is one of the most highly versatile and nutritious vegetables. There are numerous ways you can cook it and obtain its benefits. For example, you can steam it, roast it, sauté it, have it raw in a salad, soups, pasta, stir-fries, or casseroles.
Eating broccoli may have a variety of health benefits, including (6):
- Reducing cancer risk.
- Lowering cholesterol levels.
- Promoting better eye health due to its richness in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Promoting better weight management due to its low-calorie count.
- Improving overall health.
According to Medical News Today, a half cup of fresh broccoli contains 0.4 mcg of biotin (11). Therefore, it is an excellent vegetable of choice for vegetarians and among the best biotin vegan sources.
Eggs are some of the most nutritious foods in food history. They are excellent protein sources, contain choline, antioxidants, biotin, vitamin A, and other B vitamins (2). Research has linked egg consumption to the following health benefits (2):
- Better heart health as it is an excellent source of compounds that promote heart health, such as choline and betaine.
- Better brain health and function due to its richness in choline.
- Better eye health as eggs contains antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that have significant eye benefits.
- Promote weight loss or better weight management due to their filling effect.
One cooked egg provides 10 mcg of biotin (3). However, remember that not every vegetarian can consume eggs. These are highly restricted to Lacto-ovo-vegetarians and Ovo-vegetarians.
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Milk is one of the best dairy products, and of course, it is a staple in most households due to its impressive nutrition profile. Milk provides numerous nutrients, including calcium, protein, vitamin D, and potassium (8). It can also help you reap the following health benefits (8):
- Building healthy and stronger bones and teeth due to its high calcium content.
- Maintaining a healthy blood pressure level due to its richness in potassium.
In addition to milk, food experts also reveal other dairy products like cheese and yogurt are good biotin sources. Here is an overview of these foods and their biotin content as discussed by Medical News Today (11):
- One cup of plain yogurt- 0.2 mcg
- One cup of 2% milk- 0.3 mcg
- One ounce of cheddar cheese- 0.4 mcg
Not everybody following a vegetarian diet can consume dairy products despite this insight. Remember, we earlier discussed there are different varieties of this diet. Only Lacto-ovo-vegetarians and Lacto-vegetarians encourage the consumption of dairy products.
Avocados are other excellent biotin rich foods that are vegetarian-based. They are a favorite for most people, mainly due to their health benefits, flavor, and versatility. Avocados have been associated with the following potential health benefits (1):
- Reduced risk of colon and prostate cancer due to high folate content.
- Reduced risk of arthritis and osteoporosis due to high vitamin K content that slows down bone loss.
- Reduced chronic inflammation, which is linked to several health conditions, including diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Better digestion due to high fiber content.
- Reduced blood pressure and associated health conditions as avocado contain a decent amount of potassium.
- Better heart health as avocados contains heart-healthy compounds, such as a monounsaturated fatty acid known as oleic acid.
- Better eye health as these fruits contain antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Safer pregnancy due to their high content of folate that prevents the risk of congenital malformations in your baby’s spine and brain.
- Better skin health as they are rich in vitamin E.
According to Medical News Today, a 100-g serving of avocado provides 3.2 to 10 mcg of biotin (11). So, you can consume it and obtain this, plus other essential nutrients.
Seeds And Nuts
Aside from being excellent snack options, seeds and nuts are also biotin-rich foods. There are different types of seeds and nuts, meaning the nutrition profile varies depending on the variety you choose. Nevertheless, they all have similar possible health benefits, including (5):
- Supplying your body with essential nutrients, such as protein, antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber.
- Stabilizing blood sugar levels due to the high protein and fiber content.
- Better weight management as they increase satiety.
- Healthy circulatory system maintenance due to richness in vitamin E.
- Improving insulin sensitivity and lowering diabetes risk.
- Maintaining a healthy calcium-potassium balance in the body.
The amount of biotin found in seeds and nuts also varies depending on the type of seeds and nuts you consume. However, research shows that pecans, walnuts, peanuts, and almonds have decent traces of this vitamin.
A quarter cup of roasted almonds provides 1.5 mcg of biotin, while the same serving of sunflower seeds provides 2.6 mcg of biotin (11). Similarly, a serving of walnuts provides you with 9.5 mcg of biotin (3).
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These fruits are also excellent biotin-rich foods vegetarians should consider in their diet plan. They have numerous possible health benefits, including (3):
- Improving digestive health.
- Promoting weight loss by making you feel fuller and preventing overeating.
- Improving heart health due to its high profile of heart-healthy compounds.
- Packing your body with essential nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins C and B-6.
Eating bananas also provides you with decent amounts of vitamin B7. According to WebMD, a 100 g serving of banana provides you with 0.2 mcg of biotin (3).
How Much Biotin Should You Consume?
Now that you know the foods to consume for biotin when following a vegetarian diet, it is essential to understand the limits. Unfortunately, scientists are yet to discover the exact amount of biotin that a person needs to consume daily (11). However, research shows that the average diet of most Western populations provides individuals with 35 to 70 mcg of biotin daily (11).
Even so, for adequacy and safety purposes, adults are advised to consume at least 30 mcg. On the other hand, breastfeeding women are advised to get 35 mcg of vitamin B7 daily (11). It would be best to consult with your doctor for more insight if you are pregnant or have underlying medical conditions such as anemia or diabetes.
The Bottom Line
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that your body needs to perform different roles such as carbs, fats, and protein metabolism. Vegetarians can acquire this vitamin from several foods aligning with their diet principles.
Some biotin rich foods vegetarians can consider are sweet potatoes, avocado, broccoli, bananas, mushrooms, seeds, and nuts. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians and lacto-vegetarians can also get some biotin from dairy products. However, egg consumption is limited to Lacto-ovo-vegetarians and Ovo-vegetarians. Be sure to talk to your dietitian or doctor before making any major dietary changes.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Avocado (2020, webmd.com)
- Eggs (2022, hsph.harvard.edu)
- Foods High in Biotin (2020, webmd.com)
- Liver: Is It Good for You? (2020, webmd.com)
- Nuts & Your Health: What to Know (2014, webmd.com)
- Vegetable of the month: Broccoli (2018, health.harvard.edu)
- What is the nutritional value of mushrooms? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What Milk Can Do for You (2022, webmd.com)
- What to know about the vegetarian diet (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What’s to know about sweet potatoes? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Which foods provide biotin? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why do we need biotin (vitamin B7)? (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)