Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is one of the essential B-complex vitamins that helps convert food into energy. This micronutrient gained attention for the role it potentially plays in hair, skin and nail health, but it also performs other important functions in the body. The recommended daily value of biotin for adults is about 30 micrograms—but how can you get more into your diet naturally?
“Adding biotin-rich foods to your diet helps to strengthen nails and perhaps hair,” says Mona Gohara, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. “It helps with metabolism and liver health as well.”
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body doesn’t store it in the same way it does fat-soluble vitamins. Because of this, you need to consume the vitamin regularly in order to maintain adequate levels. While you can find biotin in some supplements (i.e. menopause supplements) and shampoos, your best bet is to incorporate biotin-rich foods in your daily diet.
The good news is that many foods have biotin, including a mix of plant- and animal-based foods—like sweet potatoes, lentils, organ meats and nuts. So, it should hopefully not be too much of a challenge to get 30 micrograms into your day—and start embracing biotin’s health benefits.
‘Our skin cells undergo continuous turnover with biotin playing a crucial role in the regeneration of new skin cells,” explains Laura Iu, R.D.N., owner of Laura Iu Nutrition, a private practice in New York City. “When it comes to issues like wounds, cuts, rashes, dryness or skin inflammation, biotin is essential for promoting and managing healthy skin.”
Meet the Experts: Mona Gohara, M.D., is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. Laura Iu is a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified intuitive eating counselor and the owner of Laura Iu Nutrition, a private practice in New York City.
But, can you eat too many biotin-rich foods? Likely not. Because it is a water-soluble vitamin, “that means any extra that the body does not need will be excreted via urine,” says Iu. “There are exceptions to watch out for depending on the individual, of course,” she warns, “such as potential interaction with one’s medications or someone who is taking extremely high doses of biotin from a vitamin supplement.” Gohara also flags that while biotin “doesn’t alter thyroid function, it can make thyroid laboratory testing inaccurate.”
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the best biotin-rich foods to add to your grocery list.
While eggs are a nutritional powerhouse as a whole, the yolks in particular are the real stars—especially when it comes to biotin, says Iu. The yellow center of 1 large egg contains 7.8 mcg biotin (26% of your DV), according to the USDA.
There are tons of health benefits to eating spinach (hello, iron!), but a big pile of greens offers up a good dose of biotin, too. 100 grams of mature spinach has 4.25 mcg biotin, while the same amount of baby spinach contains 1.66, according to the USDA. Get your fix by whipping up a quick, healthy Spinach and Yogurt Dip.
Another food recommended for someone who is trying to get more biotin into their diet? “Nuts, such as almonds,” says Gohara. According to the USDA, 100 grams of whole, raw almonds clocks in at about 57 mcg of biotin (100 grams is equal to about 3/4 cup almonds, by the way). Pecans, walnuts, and pine nuts also rank high on the list.
Salmon is a key part of a heart-healthy diet, since it contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as iron, choline, vitamin B12 and selenium. When cooked, the fillets also consist of about 5 mcg biotin per 3 ounces. Feature it for dinner tonight with this Nori-and-Sesame Wrapped Salmon recipe from the Prevention Test Kitchen.
In 1/2 cup of cooked sweet potatoes, you will find about 2.4 mcg biotin (read: 8% daily recommended value), according to the National Institutes of Health. And who wouldn’t want an excuse to eat more sweet potatoes? These spuds taste great roasted, baked, air-fried and mashed.
“Soy products which are commonly found in East Asian cuisines, like edamame and tofu, also contain biotin,” says Iu. Throw the plant-based protein onto a sheet tray with baby bok choy, sugar snap peas and a few other ingredients for a fast, one-pan (vegan!) dinner.
You can find biotin in other legumes, including peanuts, peas, beans and lentils. Need additional dinner inspiration? “Dishes like dal, a lentil curry, are a great plant-based source of biotin,” says Iu.
This high-protein food doubles as a biotin-rich food. One 3-ounce serving of canned tuna (in water) offers up 2% the daily recommended biotin, according to the National Institutes of Health. It’s an ideal option to stash in the pantry, so you can quickly add to salads, pastas and sandwiches whenever you want.
Which fruit contain biotin? Bananas are a safe bet, clocking in at about.2 mcg per 1/2 cup. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s 1% of the daily recommended value! Blend some into a smoothie for breakfast.
If you’re looking for a reason to love (or try!) tinned fish, just know that 100 grams contains nearly 19% of the daily recommended biotin, according to Seafish.org. And, it’s high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, but low in mercury.
Broccoli is known for its health benefits—the florets are packed with vitamins C, K and A. Plus, 1/2 cup of the green cruciferous veg has 1% of the daily recommended biotin, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“Some of the richest sources of biotin come from meats like chicken, beef and liver,” says Iu. While 3 ounces of cooked beef liver provides over 100% of your daily recommended value of biotin, chicken is also an asset.
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