Okay, so looking back at vitamins and minerals essential to a healthy body, more and more keep popping up that for one reason or another seem like complete and utter nonsense. For instance, what the heck is riboflavin? Chances are you’ve heard of it in some capacity, but probably sit like me not really knowing why it’s important despite being touted as such. Well, let’s learn together then why riboflavin isn’t just some catchy buzz word. Here’s why your body needs riboflavin.

Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2 (I could never understand why the B vitamin has to be broken up into sub groups so regularly), is used for use with enzymes in your body, specifically in triggering reactions. Without riboflavin, these enzymes just sort of have no purpose, so getting the necessary B2 is vital for a system that works at peak efficiency. And luckily, it’s fairly easy to get enough riboflavin, though there’s a catch.

You see, riboflavin in particular is only useful when the enzymes it needs are present, enzymes that occur with food. If there is no food in your body to deal with, you won’t need much riboflavin at all, but stuff yourself silly and your riboflavin needs jump. Basically, your B2 intake is always in relation to the amount of calories you’re taking in, and because of that it can be extremely tricky to peg down precisely how much you’ll need in a given day. Even scientists and experts are at a loss as to the recommended daily dosage and give the rough estimates that men need 1.7 milligrams of riboflavin per day while women only need 1.3, though again they have no idea.

At least riboflavin is relatively easy to find as it’s in…meat, darn it. Okay, animal products in general seem to have high amounts of vitamin B2, such as milk and cheese, and also specifically cottage cheese (I love the stuff but forget it exists). There’s also a lot present in seaweed and other sea vegetables, though the downside here is that sea vegetables are pretty difficult to come by here in the US. I mean, when was the last time you knew where to look to find some seaweed?

Still, you can find a nice helping of riboflavin in all sorts of other green vegetables like broccoli, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, or peas, as well as whole wheat products, bananas, avocados, strawberries, and raspberries. If that doesn’t seem like a fair enough grouping, then you may just be spoiled.

One of the really odd things though is while dairy products are such great sources of riboflavin, vegans are rarely lacking. The reason here is that they’re still able to get all they need from the aforementioned fruits and veggies, plus nuts and legumes are chock-full of B2 as well, so again the thought of losing meat and cheese is lessened quite a bit since there’s always a meatless and dairy-free substitute if you go looking for it.

And there you have it, riboflavin explained. Now you’ll be able to look on the nutrition label with confidence that you know what at least one more says. Just a few more to go, right?