Foods rich in niacin should be incorporated in a diet in order to obtain many beneficial properties of this essential nutrient.
What is Niacin?
Niacin, also known as B3 is a member of water-soluble B vitamins. Niacin is also called nicotinic acid and it is required by the body for producing energy, reducing blood cholesterol, improving circulation, maintaining healthy skin and proper functioning of the nervous and digestive systems. Prescription niacin is used for treatment of arthritis, diabetes, skin diseases and weight loss. Niacin helps to control cholesterol levels by increasing “good” cholesterol (HDL) and lowering “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Since niacin is a water-soluble vitamin, the body doesn’t store it and it must be obtained through diet. Deficiency of niacin rarely occurs, at least in developed countries. Alcoholism can cause niacin deficiency thus heavy drinkers require increased amount of niacin. Pregnant women as well as breast-feeding women also need additional niacin. Niacin deficiency may lead to indigestion, fatigue, depression, insomnia and skin problems. Severe deficiency can lead to pellagra, a condition that causes diarrhea, dementia and cracked, scaly skin.
Daily recommendations of niacin are 14 mg for women and 16 mg for men. Niacin can be found in number of dietary forms and over the counter supplements. However, it is the best to take niacin naturally from foods since there are many rich sources of this nutrient.
Foods Rich in Niacin
Foods rich in protein are great sources of niacin. Since, animal sources are rich in protein they provide plenty of niacin. Following animal sources contain niacin in amount given bellow:
- 100 g chicken - niacin 8 mg
- 100 g pork - niacin 6 mg
- 100g turkey – niacin 7mg
- 100 g red meat – niacin 6 mg
- 100 g prawns – niacin 7 mg
- 100 g fish – niacin 6 mg
- 100 g liver – niacin 12 mg
- 100 g kidney – niacin 6 mg
- 1 cup of milk – niacin 0.53 mg
Niacin can be also abundantly found in plant sources such as vegetables and fruits. This prevents vegetarians to become deficient of niacin. Following vegetables and fruits are rich in niacin:
- 1 cup of green leafy vegetables – niacin 3mg
- 1 cup of tomatoes – niacin 1.13 mg
- 1 cup of broccoli – niacin o.51 mg
- 1 cup of carrots – niacin 1.13 mg
- 1 cup of asparagus – niacin 2 mg
- 100 g fortified celery – niacin 10 mg
Nuts, seeds grains and cereals also contain niacin. Brad and cereals are usually fortified with niacin. We will mention some of these sources:
- 100 g wheat bran – niacin up to 30 mg
- 100 almonds – niacin 4 mg
- 100 g peanuts – niacin 12.9 mg
- 1 cup of cereals – niacin up to 25 mg
- 1 cup of lentils – niacin 2.1 mg
- 100 g mushrooms – niacin 10 mg
- 100 g dates – niacin 1.27 mg