Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is an essential mineral responsible for preventing constipation, arthritis, cholesterol levels from rising, diarrhea, redness of the tongue, scary rash, and skin darkening.
To avoid these health issues, one must meet the required daily allowance of niacin (14-16 milligrams for adults and kids older than four) (1).
This article discusses 22 foods rich in niacin that will help you meet the required levels and avoid these health hazards.
22 Foods Rich in Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Turkey contains tryptophan which the body converts to niacin. You can obtain up to 6.3 milligrams of niacin from 85 g of cooked turkey and one more mg of niacin formed by tryptophan (2). It translates to 52% of the recommended dietary allowance for women and 46% for men.
Tryptophan also produces melatonin and serotonin hormones responsible for sleep and setting mood. Tryptophan conversion is only necessary when you have not met the daily levels of niacin.
10 grams of roasted turkey supplies 62% of the daily niacin value. (3) Turkey contains amino acids that the body converts to niacin in the presence of other nutrients such as iron, riboflavin, and vitamin B6.
Ground steak is rich in proteins, iron, selenium, vitamin B6, zinc, and niacin minerals (4). To get more niacin, opt for lean meat rather than fatty ones. For example, 85 g of fatty meat gives 72% of the daily niacin value, while the same amount of lean beef provides 97% (5). Antioxidants and fatty omega-three acids are more in beef cows that eat grass than those that eat grains.
4.8 milligrams of grilled steak contains 30% of the daily niacin value and nutrients such as a protein that repairs worn-out body tissues and iron which fastens the wound-healing process by facilitating blood clotting (6).
Salmon is rich in nutrients like protein, omega-3, healthy fats, sugar, fiber, carbohydrates, sodium, and niacin. Eating wild salmon (from natural environments such as lakes and oceans) is more nutrient-full than domestic ones (from ponds). One wild salmon supplies 61% of the required daily allowance of niacin in women and 53% in men (7).
Farmed/domestic salmon gives 49% niacin content for women and 42% for men (8). Salmon health benefits include reduced inflammation, cardiovascular ailments, blood pressure, muscle loss, and repairs of cells and tissues.
Salmon should appear at least thrice in your weekly dietary plan (9). Sockeye salmon contains vitamin D, which regulates phosphorus and calcium levels in the body and maintains bone health.
Liver is among the best natural sources of niacin. Beef liver is rife with niacin, iron, zinc, protein, chlorine, and vitamins A and B. Fried beef liver contains up to 100% of the daily requirement allowance for women and 91% for men (10).
Cooked chicken liver (3 ounces), on the other hand, grants 83% of the daily value in women and 73% in men (11). Liver should not appear on your daily menu; instead, eat it once to avoid health hazards such as osteoporosis, nausea, brain pressure, irritability, drowsiness, abdominal pain, and toxicity (12).
If you’re a regular consumer of chicken, you might have 100% of the niacin requirement level in the body. Studies show that cooked chicken contains 27 g of protein and 50% of the daily niacin requirement allowance (13).
Chicken has other health benefits, such as better sleep and mood, improved skin, muscle, and bone health, and helps in weight management (14). Eating chicken doesn’t have to be tedious due to the same cooking technique.
Try new chicken recipes (15) and enjoy a ‘plate licking’ experience.
A cup of tuna has up to 21.9 milligrams of niacin. For those who don’t eat meat but eat fish, tuna is your best source of niacin. Daily tuna intake ensures your body’s niacin requirement levels are always 100% (16). White tuna contains 31% daily value of niacin, while yellow tuna contributes 117%. Therefore, yellow tuna is the best.
Tuna contains other nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fats, and selenium. The nutrients significantly contribute to energy production, lowering cholesterol levels, improving eye, heart, and brain health, reducing blood pressure and cancer risks, improving immunity, and strengthening bones (17).
Tuna is also heart-friendly and will help manage your weight.
Anchovies are small, shiny fish that contain several nutrients such as calcium, protein, calories, fats, iron, carbohydrates, selenium, and niacin. Due to their small size, canned anchovies are cheaper. One anchovy serves up to 10% of the daily requirement. Therefore, you only require 10 anchovies to reach the required amount (18).
The selenium mineral in anchovies lowers cancer risk by 22% precisely, prostate, gut, breast, lung, and stomach cancer (19). Anchovies improve brain and heart health. You can add anchovies to pasta, salads, or sandwiches, process with seeds and nuts, top your pizza or mix them with bread.
Lean or chopped pork is an excellent source of niacin. 85 g of roasted pork serves up to 39% of the daily niacin requirement for men and 45% for women (20). This amount of fatty pork has a reduced daily value of niacin to 23% in women and 20% in men.
Pork contains thiamine, also called vitamin B1, which increases the rate of metabolism and ensures the body has enough energy supply (21). It has more niacin levels compared to plant sources. Other benefits of pork include forming and repairing blood cells and maintaining healthy digestive and brain health.
9. Portobello Mushrooms
Mushrooms are the best vegetable sources of niacin. 70 g of mushroom serves 18% of the daily requirement allowance for women and 15% for men (22). The excellent news to vegetarians is that portobello mushrooms are tasty, safe, and nutritious. They produce vitamin D, which the body requires to maintain strong and healthy bones.
Mushrooms have other nutritional content such as fiber, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, proteins, carbohydrates, calories, and iron. These nutrients are responsible for fighting cell damage, improving brain function, maintaining bone health, and reducing the risk of diabetes, depression, and allergies (23).
Avocados are both a vegetable and low-carbohydrate diet. It is rich in niacin minerals. Half an avocado is enough to provide 11% of the daily niacin value. Due to its delicious taste, you might eat the whole fruit, which serves up to 25% of the daily value for women and 21% for men (24).
Avocados contain fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins K, B6, E, and C. Potassium in an avocado is twice the one in bananas. (25) Avocados improve cardiovascular, skin, hair, eye, and brain health, reduce cancer, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and diabetes, and maintain body weight.
White potatoes are rife with niacin. Each baked potato has 4.2 milligrams of niacin or 30% of the daily value for women and 25% for men (26). For every 100 g of russet potatoes, there are 2 milligrams. Russet potatoes’ best flavor is when roasted.
Sweet potatoes also provide equal levels of niacin as white potatoes. They are also rich in potassium, vitamins A and C. Potatoes are easy for digestion and easy to include in your meals (27).
12. Green Peas
A cup of green peas serves up to 20% of the daily niacin required allowance for everyone. Green peas also supply the body with minerals such as potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium, fiber, and about 2000 calories (28). You can freeze and store green peas to ensure it’s always fresh and safe for consumption.
Green peas can accompany any meal to ensure you have a niacin-rich diet. Studies reveal that green peas can reduce cholesterol levels, cancer risks, and gastrointestinal illnesses and are rich in antioxidants (29).
13. Wheat Products
Wheat products rich in niacin are whole-wheat products that don’t have the bran content removed. Processed/refined wheat products remove bran depriving the product of niacin minerals (30). Consider whole-wheat muffin, which produces about 15% of the daily niacin value, while processed muffin has only 5%.
It’s only 30% of the niacin in whole- wheat products that undergo digestion. A slice of white bread serves the body with 10% of the daily niacin required value (31). Serve the whole-wheat products best in the morning with butter as a fortified breakfast.
Enriched white rice contains 13% of the daily niacin value. Brown rice is both sweet and nutritious compared to white rice. A cup of brown rice contains up to 5.2 milligrams of vitamin B3, or 18% for men and 23 % for women of the daily value (32). Brown rice, like other whole grains, have only 30% niacin content absorbed by the body.
Brown rice also contains long-chain fatty polysaccharides, manganese, selenium, vitamin B6 fiber, magnesium, thiamine, protein, and zinc. Brown rice has health benefits, not limited to reduced inflammation, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and aid in weight management (33).
Studies show that two spoons of peanut butter contain 4.3 milligrams of vitamin B3, meaning 25% of men’s daily value and 30% for women (34). Peanuts are a high-carb diet with other minerals such as magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. It has nutrients such as proteins and healthy fats.
Though peanuts have high calories, it helps reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes when taken daily. However, it does not reduce weight when taken daily (35, 36). If you don’t eat meat, swap it with peanuts today and enjoy the benefits of vitamin B3.
16. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is an inactive form of yeast that seasons foods and beverages. Unlike baker’s yeast, it doesn’t induce rising in food but adds flavor. (37) Nutritional benefits of nutritional yeast include niacin, sugar, healthy fats, proteins, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, and 60 calories.
The Health benefits of nutritional yeast are reduced risks of anemia, constipation, and diabetes, promoting heart health, and improving body immunity (38).
17. Fortified Cereals
Fortified breakfast cereals include cocoa and Reese’s puffs, Trix, corn, loops, and crisps. They are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B12, D, folic acid, calcium, zinc, and iron (39).
Fortified breakfast cereals improve the body’s rate of nutrient intake and lower congenital disabilities. It is important to note that these foods are high-calorie due to their high carbohydrate and sugar content.
Lentils are nutrient-full foods. They include red, brown, and French lentils. The nutrients found in lentils include protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. They also contain folate, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, thiamin, potassium, and manganese minerals (40).
Healthy benefits of eating lentils include improving cardiovascular health, preventing birth complications, constipation, cancer, and fighting fatigue.
19. Pumpkin Seeds
Aside from niacin, pumpkin seeds are awash with magnesium which is an excellent vitamin B3 source. One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 1.3 milligrams of niacin or 8% of the daily required allowance (41).
Enjoy pumpkin seeds sprinkled on salads or oatmeal for nutrients, taste, and texture.
20. Sunflower Seeds
One ounce of roasted sunflower seeds serves you with 2 milligrams of vitamin B3, or 12 % of the daily value (42). The seeds should be dried first before roasting.
Processing sunflower seeds with whole grains or sprinkling them on salads will help you easily incorporate them into your menu.
Bananas make the cut of vitamin B3-rich fruits. One banana contains 0.9 milligrams of niacin which is 6% of the daily value (43). When taken in the morning, together with nuts and cereals, it hikes your vitamin B3 levels for the day.
Bananas are also flush with antioxidants, improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels, aid in weight loss, and boost digestive and heart health. They give you a more extended feeling of fullness in between meals.
A cup of coffee contains 3% of the daily niacin value. Coffee eases fatigue and gives a workout boost. It improves attention spans and lengthens lifespan, reduces cancer, inflammation, and diabetes risks, and helps in weight loss (44). Take your coffee between mid-morning and early afternoons to boost productivity throughout the day.
Niacin (vitamin B3) decreases low-density lipoprotein (LDL), commonly known as ‘bad cholesterol.’ Increased levels of cholesterol in the body lead to the deposition of fat on the wall of blood vessels, which leads to blood pressure, heart attack, and eventually death.
Avoid these problems by incorporating these 22 foods high in niacin into your diet.