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45 Foods Rich In Niacin (Vitamin B3)

1. Peanuts

12.066 mg / 100g

Peanuts can be enjoyed as an easy snack or blended to make a delicious nut butter that is packed full of goodness and is also very beneficial to maintaining good health. These tasty little nuts, that are actually legumes, also contain around 88% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B3 per cup.

2. Chicken

9.600 mg / 100g

It is always worth buying the best quality chicken you can afford in order to experience the benefits. That said, chicken provides a very good amount of essential nutrients including vitamin B3, with one pound of chicken providing, on average, 81% of the daily allowance. Chicken is very versatile and can be used in pies, curries and as a filling for sandwiches and wraps.

3. Mackerel

9.08 mg / 100g

This oily fish provides very good amounts of omega fatty acids that are essential for maintaining brain and heart health, as well as nearly 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B3 per average sized fillet. Enjoy mackerel mashed on toast for breakfast, include it in fish pies and also use it for making kedgeree.

4. Chia Seeds

8.83 mg / 100g

Throw them in smoothies, sprinkle them over cereal and yogurt, or add them to homemade bread recipes, but always try to include chia seeds into your daily diet. They are an excellent source of important vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health, and they also provide a very good source of dietary fiber.

5. Tuna

8.654 mg / 100g

There are different types of tuna fish that are consumed around the world and, therefore, the levels of vitamin B3 that they contain will vary. That said, an 85g serving of fresh tuna will contain between 37% and 65% of the recommended daily allowance. Tuna can be enjoyed grilled as a steak with vegetables, or added to fish pies, paella and chowder.

6. Sunflower Seeds

8.335 mg / 100g

Sunflower seeds are delicious when lightly drizzled with oil and salt, then roasted and enjoyed as a healthier alternative to crisps for snacking. They can also be added to homemade bread and trail mix recipes, and even work well in homemade granola. Anything they are added to will receive a nutritional boost thanks to the high levels of vitamins and minerals that they contain.

7. Turkey

8.1 mg / 100g

Turkey can be enjoyed in any dish that normally uses chicken, including curry, stir fry and roast dinner. It can also be used in a minced form in bolognaise and lasagne as a healthy alternative to beef. Depending on what part of the bird you are eating, 100g of turkey meat will provide between 17% and 34% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B3.

8. Salmon

7.86 mg / 100g

Generally speaking, the levels of vitamin B3 available in salmon depend on the type of salmon; pink salmon contains around 30% of the daily allowance per 85g serving and red salmon contains around 25% per 85g serving. Salmon is a versatile fish that is delicious in fish pie, homemade fishcakes or lightly grilled and served with vegetables.

9. Pumpkin Seeds

4.987 mg / 100g

Adding pumpkin seeds to homemade bread, flapjacks, granola and trail mix will help to significantly boost the overall levels of important vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium and vitamin B3. Pumpkin seeds are also delicious roasted with a little oil and salt and eaten as a healthier alternative to crisps.

10. Grass Fed Beef

4.818 mg / 100g

Grass fed beef is considered to be of higher quality than other beef, and it certainly has excellent quantities of nutrients that are essential for maintaining good health, including 24% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3 per 100g serving. Grass fed beef can be grilled as a steak and served with vegetables, or minced and used in bolognaise sauce or cottage pie.

11. Sesame Seeds

4.515 mg / 100g

Sesame seeds are a delicious way to help boost the overall levels of nutrients in the diet. They are an abundant source of fiber, omega fatty acids and protein.  Sesame seeds can be blended into a butter that can be used in hummus or as a spread in sandwiches, and they can be added to homemade bread and flapjack recipes.

12. Pine Nuts

4.387 mg / 100g

Pine nuts are often used as the base ingredient when making pesto. They can however also be used for making nut loaf, nut burgers and stuffing. Pine nuts are also tasty in trail mix. They are an excellent source of protein and many other essential nutrients, but like many nuts are high in fat and should be consumed in moderation.

13. Brown Rice

4.308 mg / 100g

Brown rice is healthier than white rice because it contains high levels of dietary fibre that removes cholesterol before it can enter the bloodstream and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Brown rice also contains very high levels of vitamin B3, roughly 47% of the daily requirement per cup. Use it in place of white rice in recipes like curry and egg fried rice.

14. Tilapia

3.903 mg / 100g

The name “tilapia” refers to more than one hundred species of freshwater fish that are native to Egypt, but are now plentiful in many freshwater areas around the world. They have quite a mild, musty flavour and their meaty flesh makes them an excellent alternative to fish like cod and haddock in fish pies and paella.

15. Mushrooms

3.877 mg / 100g

Because of their meaty texture, mushrooms are brilliant for use in place of mince in bolognaise and lasagne recipes. Simply grate them and then fry them with onions and other ingredients, just like you would with mince. They also taste delicious when cooked with garlic and parsley and served on toast for breakfast.

16. Corn

3.627 mg / 100g

Corn is a very versatile foodstuff. As a grain, it can be ground up to make flour that is used to thicken sauces or to make a tasty cornbread that works very well with chilli. As a vegetable, it is delicious eaten on the cob as a side to barbequed meat, or removed from the cob and added to cottage pie or risotto.

17. Almonds

3.618 mg / 100g

These creamy nuts add a wonderful marzipan flavour to trail mixes and homemade flapjacks; they also work equally well when flaked and sprinkled over cereal or fruit and yogurt. Almonds are also an abundant source of many important vitamins and minerals, including 16% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3 per cup.

18. Haddock

3.363 mg / 100g

Haddock is excellent in fish pies and delicious breaded, baked and served with sweet potato fries and peas for a healthier alternative to the traditional fish and chips. This tasty white fish is also a great source of vitamin B3, containing around 37% of the daily requirement per average sized fillet.

19. Flax Seeds

3.08 mg / 100g

Flax seeds can easily be incorporated into the diet by chucking them in smoothies, sprinkling them over cereal or yogurt for breakfast and adding them to trail mixes or homemade bread. They are bursting with essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for maintaining good health, including 2% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3 per tablespoon.

20. Adzuki Beans

2.63 mg / 100g

Adzuki beans are small, red, nutty flavoured beans that offer a distinctly sweet taste to many dishes, making them ideal for providing a flavourful oomph to bean chilli and tomato-based stews. They can also be blended with spices like chilli or cumin to make a wonderful alternative to hummus as a dip.

21. Lentils

2.605 mg / 100g

There are a number of different lentils available to buy, from green lentils that hold their shape and work well in salads, to red lentils that break down and thicken pasta sauces. They also have varying amounts of nutrients available. On average, however, a cup of lentils will provide you with around 25% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B3.

22. Macadamia Nuts

2.473 mg / 100g

Macadamia nuts are often used to make sweet treats that aren’t very healthy, but they can also work very well in trail mixes and chopped for use in homemade granola, providing a creamy, sweet flavour. Macadamia nuts can also be added to nut loaf, nut burgers and vegetarian stuffing mix.

23. Peas

2.09 mg / 100g

Despite their seemingly humble appearance, peas are an absolute powerhouse of nutrition, containing huge doses of nearly every vitamin, mineral and nutrient that our bodies need to thrive. They can be easily and regularly incorporated into the diet by adding them to pasta sauces, curries, mince and risotto, as well as serving them as a side dish.

24. Kidney Beans

2.06 mg / 100g

These creamy red beans are full of goodness and also taste great in beef and tomato based dishes like chilli. Kidney beans can also be used to make frugal, vegan-friendly, meat-style loaves and flavoursome bean burgers. A cup of kidney beans contains around 19% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3.

25. Black Turtle Beans

1.955 mg / 100g

Black turtle beans are a staple of many South American dishes including burritos, chilli and blended into a paste for use in quesadillas. They are full of important nutrients like dietary fibre and protein, which are important for maintaining good heart, digestive and general health. They contain around 18% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3 per cup.

26. Prunes

1.882 mg / 100g

Prunes are nothing more than dried plums, but the drying process does something to increase the overall level of nutrients that are available in them. For example, fresh plums contain just 3% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3 per cup, prunes contain 16% per cup. They can be blended into smoothies, but are equally tasty as a simple, on-the-go snack.

27. Hazelnuts

1.8 mg / 100g

These sweet, creamy nuts can be blended and used as a spread on toast or pitta bread, the resulting butter can also be blended with cocoa and agave syrup to provide a healthy alternative to commercially produced chocolate spread. Hazelnuts are also great as a snack and can be chopped and added to homemade granola.

28. Avocados

1.738 mg / 100g

Avocados are very popular amongst vegans and dairy-free individuals because they provide a wonderfully creamy texture to dishes. They can be blended with fruit, or honey and cocoa, to create a nutritious and healthy dessert, or added to sandwiches in place of mayonnaise. Avocados are also rich in many nutrients including 13% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3 per cup.

29. Mussels

1.6 mg / 100g

30. Garbanzo Beans

1.541 mg / 100g

More commonly referred to as chickpeas, garbanzo beans are the main ingredient in hummus, but can also be used to boost the protein content of pasta sauce, curry and casserole, especially if they are vegetarian or vegan based. Garbanzo beans can also be flavoured with garlic or chilli and baked to provide a delicious, healthier alternative to crisps.

31. Lima Beans

1.537 mg / 100g

Perhaps better known as butter beans, lima beans are a mild tasting, creamy bean that can be blended into a delicious bean dip and flavoured with ingredients like garlic, lemon and basil. They also work incredibly well in pasta dishes and can be used to make a recipe called gigantes plaki, which is basically giant baked beans, only healthier.

32. Quinoa

1.52 mg / 100g

Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that is considered to be a complete protein, which means that it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs to thrive, but cannot make itself. It can be used to make delicious hot and cold salads, or in place of rice as a side to meats and vegetables.

33. Passion Fruit

1.5 mg / 100g

You can enjoy the exotic, fragrant flavour of passion fruit easily by simply adding it to smoothies, sprinkling the seeds over yogurt and including it in fruit salad. Passion fruit also really helps to bring together the flavours of other exotic fruits like mango and pineapple in a delicious, refreshing summer punch.

34. Pistachio Nuts

1.3 mg / 100g

Pistachio nuts are an excellent source of important omega fatty acids that have been shown to support heart and brain health. They also contain around 8% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3 per cup. Enjoy pistachio nuts as snacks, blend them into a nut butter for use on bread or toast and chuck them in trail mix.

35. Dates

1.274 mg / 100g

Dates offer a tasty, healthier alternative to sweets and cakes for those people who have something of a sweet tooth and because they are so sweet you actually eat less of them, which is good news for teeth. They are excellent for using as a natural sweetener in homemade smoothies and cakes, and are also delicious when added to dishes like lamb tagine.

36. Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)

1.221 mg / 100g

Rapini can often taste bitter, which puts many people off trying it. But it is so packed full of goodness that it is worth learning how to cook rapini well. The best way to prepare it is to blanch it in very salty water, then, whilst still wet, dip it in oil and garlic before grilling it or using in other recipes like stir fry.

37. Spirulina

1.196 mg / 100g

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is believed to be something of a superfood within the circles of the health conscious, and when you check out its nutritional profile it isn’t hard to understand why. Dried, it can be added to smoothies and juices or, in its fresh form, can be cooked into pasta and bolognaise sauces to provide a boost of nutrition.

38. Pecans

1.167 mg / 100g

Like most nuts, pecans contain very good amounts of dietary fiber and minerals that are important for good health; they also contain around 6% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3 per one cup serving. Pecans can be included in nut loaf and stuffing mixtures, and taste great chopped into porridge with honey.

39. Walnuts

1.125 mg / 100g

By including walnuts in your diet, you can hope to significantly increase the overall levels of nutrients in your body including vitamin B3, with one cup of walnuts containing around 7% of the recommended daily allowance. Walnuts provide a delicious smoky flavour to nut burgers and nut loaf, and are really tasty in trail mix.

40. Guavas

1.084 mg / 100g

This pink, fragrant fruit really helps a fruit salad to come alive and also adds an exotic flavour to smoothies and juices. Guava, like most fruits, is high in fibre and contains very good levels of vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent food to include in a healthy diet.

41. Cashew Nuts

1.062 mg / 100g

Cashew nuts can be blended into a nut butter that can then be flavoured with a number of herbs or spices to provide a delicious alternative to hummus. The creamy nuts also work very well in curries and stir fries, providing a mild, nutty texture whilst taking on the other flavours in the dish.

42. Artichokes

1.046 mg / 100g

When prepared and cooked properly, artichokes are an absolute delicacy! Artichoke hearts are often canned in flavoured oils that make them perfect for chopping and adding to salads or using as a topping on homemade pizza. The main bulb itself can be steamed, then lightly barbequed and served with other vegetables as a side to meat.

43. Potatoes

1.033 mg / 100g

There’s nothing quite like a baked potato smothered in tuna, beans, chilli or cheese for providing the ultimate comfort food that can be as high or low in fat as you choose to make it. Potatoes are also delicious mashed, but keep their skins on to help retain the nutrients that would otherwise be lost if they are removed.

44. Okra

1 mg / 100g

For a tasty way to thicken soups add chopped okra, an ingredient commonly used in gumbo for just such a reason. Okra can also be enjoyed pickled as a snack, fried as a topping for salad and used to make a delicious okra curry that is hearty and warming, just like a traditional winter stew.

45. Kale

1 mg / 100g

Kale can be sprayed with oil and sprinkled with salt, then baked in the oven as a healthy alternative to crisps. It can also be added to savoury smoothies and pasta sauces to help boost the overall vitamin and mineral content. Indeed, it contains such good quantities of so many nutrients that it is often referred to as natures multivitamin.

About Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Vitamin B3 is more commonly known as niacin, although there are actually two other forms of vitamin B3 as well: niacinamide/nicotinamide and inositol hexanicotinate. Each of these three forms have different effects from each other, however the most commonly available form in our diets is niacin.

Vitamin B3 is water soluble, which means that our bodies do not store it and, therefore, we have to get it from our diets on a regular basis. Some of the best sources of vitamin B3, or niacin, are beef, especially kidneys and liver, yeast extract and fish like tuna and salmon.

The niacin form of vitamin B3 plays an important role in the adrenal glands, helping to create hormones. It is also thought to help the circulatory system to function properly and, like most B vitamins, helps the body to turn carbohydrates into energy.

Why Is Vitamin B3 Important?

Vitamin B3 has a number of important roles in helping to maintain good health, many of which have now been scientifically proven as fact, such as the role that niacin, one of the forms of vitamin B3, can have on lowering levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. There are however dangerous side effects to consuming high doses of niacin and, therefore, patients need to be regularly monitored by health professionals, with this treatment not being suitable for everyone.

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries whereby plaque builds up and then blocks the proper flow of blood around the heart and other organs; this in turn leads to increased blood pressure, heart attack and even death. Studies have shown that vitamin B3, in the form of niacin, has an extremely positive impact on slowing the onset of atherosclerosis.

Another form of vitamin B3, nicotinamide, is thought to help improve the symptoms associated with diabetes. A small 2013 study found that children who were treated with nicotinamide had a reduced risk of developing type 1 diabetes, despite being indicated as being at high risk of developing the disease. Of course, there are conflicting views about the efficacy of vitamin B3 supplements in treating diabetes and further research needs to be done in this area, but the results are promising.

A nine year study, published in 2004, examined the effects of niacin supplementation on people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s, namely those aged 65 years and above. The findings suggest that having very good levels of niacin, or vitamin B3 in the diet had a protective effect and helped to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other age-related cognitive decline.

Other possible health benefits that are linked to the consumption of B3 are currently being investigated by scientists and include reducing alcohol dependency, motion sickness, ADHD and depression.

Recommended Intakes

Infants under a year old do not have a recommended daily intake for vitamin B3, instead they have guidelines that enable them to receive an adequate intake; this is 2mg for babies under six months and 4mg for those between seven and twelve months of age.

Children and young people up to the age of thirteen years old have the same recommended daily intake, regardless of gender; this changes from the age of fourteen. Infants aged between one and three years old require about 6mg of vitamin B3 per day; four to eight year olds need 8mg; and nine to thirteen year olds need 12mg per day.

From the age of fourteen onwards, all males require about 16mg of vitamin B3 per day; females require 14mg per day unless they are pregnant or breastfeeding, in which case, pregnant women need 18mg and breastfeeding mothers need 17mg per day.

Vitamin B3 Deficiency

The most common symptom of severe vitamin B3 deficiency is a disease known as Pellegra. It is a condition that is often referred to as the “disease of the four D’s”, with the D’s being diarrhoea, dermatitis, dementia and death.

Thankfully this disease is incredibly rare in most developed nations, mostly due to improvements in diet, but it is still a risk for many people in developing countries, as well as those who have unhealthy or generally poor diets.

Symptoms associated with a mild deficiency in vitamin B3 include fatigue, mouth ulcers, nausea, vomiting, seizures and problems with balance. Mild deficiencies are understood to be primarily caused by excessive alcohol consumption in developed countries.

Risks and Warnings

High doses of vitamin B3, or niacin, can result in a condition known as “niacin flush”. The symptoms of niacin flush include flushed skin and a burning or tingling sensation in the face and chest. Other side effects that can occur from taking high doses of vitamin B3 include liver damage and stomach ulcers.

Because of this, it is understood that people suffering with or who have a history of stomach ulcers, kidney or liver disease should refrain from taking vitamin B3 supplements.

It is also understood that vitamin B3 can increase the levels of histamine in the blood stream, therefore it is not recommended for allergy sufferers to take vitamin B3 supplements. People who have low blood pressure may experience issues if they take supplements because they can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure to occur.

As well as causing potential problems to health if taken in high doses, vitamin B3 supplements are also understood to interact negatively with a number of medications including some antibiotics, diabetes medication, isoniazid used to treat tuberculosis, and anti-seizure medication.

Always check with a doctor if you are taking medication, before taking vitamin B3 supplements.