Top 5 Foods Rich in Niacin (Vitamin B3)

By Roy Krebs

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Vitamin B is commonly confused with other forms of nutrients. That’s because “vitamin B,” is a term that actually refers to a group of vitamins known as the B complex.

B complex vitamins (vitamin B) includes 8 compounds:

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6, B7 (biotin)
  • B12 along with folic acid.

While each of the B complex vitamins are important for different uses in the body, their main purpose is to provide your body with essential energy from the foods and beverages you eat.

However, vitamin B3 or niacin offers a unique set of health benefits. Here are just a few of the most notable:

  •     Cholesterol balance
  •     Skin clarity
  •     Blood sugar support
  •     Supports insulin sensitivity
  •     Reduced risk of stroke and CVD

Related: 5 Supplements To Replace Your Multivitamin

Getting Enough Vitamin B3 into Your Diet

Your standard everyday diet may not include the daily value of 20 mg of vitamin B3 (more closely 16 mg for men 14+ years of age and 14 mg for women ages 14 and up). [1]

Without enough B complex vitamins, you may suffer from any of these deficiency symptoms:  

  •     Headaches
  •     Fatigue
  •     Ingestion
  •     Circulatory problems
  •     Brain fog
  •     Dry skin
  •     Anxiety and poor mood

Related: Do B Vitamins Cause Lung Cancer?

The Top 5 Foods Rich in Vitamin B3 (niacin)

Because many people are at risk of developing a vitamin B deficiency, it is suggested that you also eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh foods with niacin.

Here is a list of the top 5 foods rich in vitamin B3 (niacin):

1. Tuna

This familiar fish is ideal for sandwiches, in salads and on crackers. It’s also loaded with essential nutrients including protein, omega fats and vitamin B3 of course! Because of the unique combination of heart healthy nutrients inside this inexpensive fatty fish tuna is ideal for those concerned about cholesterol balance.

2. Mushrooms

These come in many varieties and lend themselves to thousands of recipes. Able to beef up soups and stews, meat dishes and vegetarian meals, mushrooms also offer some of the most vital nutrients needed by your body: vitamin B and D. Without these nutrients you simply would not be able to function as they are needed not only for energy but also red blood cell production, nervous system function and muscle function.

3. Peanuts

Plain, roasted or oven-baked with seasonings, peanuts are a good source of niacin along with essential fatty acids and protein needed to boost brain function and mental energy. An ideal ingredient in baked goods and for snacking, peanut butter is a simple way to integrate this type of niacin food into your everyday menu.

4. Avocados

Sweet and buttery-rich in texture, avocados can be eaten in many ways. By the slice, cubed or prepared as guacamole, these green goodies are packed with niacin. Also an ideal thickener for smoothies.

5. Green Peas

As a vegetarian source of protein, green peas are slightly sweet and super delicious. Containing an estimated 16% of the daily value of B3 in just one cup. When reduced to a protein supplement, green pea powder adds a superfood nutrient profile to any smoothie or baked recipe. Green peas also contain a good source of vitamin C, K, B1 and B2 along with magnesium, copper, and manganese. [3]

Add these natural niacin sources to your daily menu in any way you can. You can blend them together to make a rich juice or smoothie and turn foods with niacin into a superfood energy booster! The options are endless so go ahead and get creative. You can use this basic smoothie recipe to start out using foods high in niacin in the kitchen at home.

Other niacin-rich foods include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Okra
  • Corn
  • Parsnip
  • Winter squash
  • Pumpkins
  • Asparagus
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit and other citrus fruits

How-to Make Smoothies with Niacin Sources

All you need to make superfood smoothies packed with vitamin B3 a blender and your choice of liquids. Here is a sample recipe for you to start with:

Energy Booster Niacin Smoothie Ingredients:

  •     1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries)
  •     1 ripened banana
  •     ¼ cup peanut butter
  •     1 scoop pea protein powder
  •     1 cup milk or milk substitute
  •     Water to thin

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients together in a high-speed blender and pulse until fully combined. Then, pour into a tall glass and enjoy!

Consuming a fresh smoothie made with foods high in niacin delivers a good source of B3 right into your bloodstream. Because of the liquid consistency of smoothies, they are more quickly converted into energy inside the body and thus offer a more rapid burst of energy than eating solid foods with niacin.

More About Niacin

Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that your body does not hold onto it or store vitamin B3 inside tissues.

In fact, it is eliminated via the kidneys and bladder through urination. For this reason, you need to eat foods with niacin every day and at varying times throughout the day to maintain your energy levels, lean waistline and overall health.

However, it is very important that you talk to your doctor before adding a regular dosage of niacin to your regimen. High doses of niacin are known to cause flushing of the skin due to the ability of B3 to increase circulation. Known as a “niacin flush,” this response is common but it can be painful for some people and even cause liver or digestive problems.

Like the article?

Check out this related article called 5 Powerful Supplements For Perfect Vision and Eye Health

References:

  1. Too Much Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Might Cause Eczema | American Council On Science And Health. Acsh.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 27 July 2017
  2. Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RDN, FADA, FAND, Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN. Mushrooms—Biologically Distinct and Nutritionally Unique Exploring a “Third Food Kingdom. Nutr Today. 2014 Nov; 49(6): 301–307. 2014 Dec 11.
  3. SELFNutritionData. Peas green. Nutrition Facts & Calories.
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