When I studied biochemistry, I realized that B vitamins from foods were absolutely essential for our body to work properly.
And vitamin B3, also known as niacin or nicotinic acid, is no exception.
First, you’ll find the 40 foods that contain the highest amount of niacin.
Then, I explain why B vitamins are important and why you want to avoid deficiencies.
I also tell you how much niacin your body needs and how to make sure you get the recommended amount if you have a vegetarian diet.
40 foods high in niacin
Foods containing tryptophan can help increase niacin intake, as tryptophan is an amino acid that gets converted by the body into niacin. These foods include poultry, red meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Note that niacin in grains is present in the bran of whole grains. This is why we need to eat grains in their whole state. The refining process will remove niacin. When you eat white pasta, rice, or corn you won’t get any vitamin B3.
Why B vitamins from foods are so important
All B vitamins help the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, which is then used to produce energy for all body processes as well as our daily activities.
B vitamins also help the body use fats and protein. They are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver, for hormone production, circulation, and for the nervous system to work properly.
According to research, symptoms of mild deficiency in niacin include indigestion, fatigue, vomiting, anxiety and depression. In fact, if you look at the biochemistry of our body, deficiencies will have many consequences at a cellular level, which can over time lead to diseases.
How much niacin do you need?
Below are the daily recommendations for niacin in the diet of healthy adults. Higher doses can be toxic over time and are usually used medically to control diseases.
Men 19 years and older: 16 mg (RDA)
Women 19 years and older: 14 mg (RDA)
Pregnant women: 18 mg (RDA)
Breastfeeding women: 17 mg (RDA)
You can perfectly get all the vitamin B3 that you need through diet.
But it is important to understand that all the B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they are not stored in your body, and that you need to consume them in your diet on a daily basis.
What if you are a vegetarian?
As most niacin is found in meat products and fish, you will need to make sure you eat foods that still contain vitamin B3 on a daily basis.
If you have a vegetarian diet, it is best to consume whole grains, mushrooms, nuts like almonds and legumes from the list above every day.
Then, as I said above, foods rich in tryptophan such as dairy products and eggs will also help you get enough niacin.
Make sure you include them in your diet!