Turning vegan is undoubtedly a healthy route to drive on. The popularity of veganism has made it one of the most followed diet patterns all over the world. It has unquestioned livelihood benefits and positive environmental effects.
But it’s not a fairyland diet. Your daily eating habits completely alter, causing a drift in your nutrition intake. Vegans are prone to face a deficiency of essential vitamins because of a strictly plant-based diet.
Niacin of Vitamin B3 is an important vitamin that controls major bodily reactions such as energy conversions, hormone regulation, and cholesterol maintenance. It is also vital for blood circulation throughout the body.
Poultry, Red meat, and Fish are primary sources of niacin. These foods are forbidden in a vegan diet. Not to worry, plenty of vegan niacin sources in the market have high vitamin B3 content for your nutrition. This article will walk you through every important detail on vegan sources of niacin.
What Is Niacin?
Niacin is commonly known as Vitamin B3. It is among the first three discovered B vitamins in the nutrition world. Niacin comes in two chemical compounds, namely nicotinic acid and niacinamide. It is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it’s not stored in your body. Daily intake of sufficient niacin is required for transforming food into energy sources in our bodies.
It ensures hormonal balance, which controls our stress and physical wellness. Having so many nutritional functions is an important part of our body system. Niacin is mostly packed in fish species, poultry products, and red meat. For vegans, significant vegetarian foods are high in niacin to fulfill their daily requirements.
Why Do We Need Niacin?
Niacin performs plethora of important bodily functions. It caters to many needs of our system. It is an all-rounder vitamin type. The following are its primary roles for health:
- It stimulates vital reactions in the body essential for absorbing energy from the food we eat.
- It regulates hormone production and its effect on our behavior and lifestyle.
- It maintains a healthy nervous system through proper blood circulation.
- It lowers bad cholesterol levels in the body. Instead, it promotes good fats and amino acids for a healthy heart.
- It plays a crucial role in the DNA repair process.
- It gives healthy, glowy skin. Vitamin B3 repairs skin cells. In fact, it is found in many body lotions as well.
How Much Niacin You Need Daily?
It becomes crucial when it comes to counting your daily intake of Vitamin B 3 or Niacin, measured in milligrams(mg)of niacin equivalent (NE). Therefore, one NE equals one milligram.
According to article published on Harvard, the adequate amount for adults 19+ years is somewhere around 16mg NE for men, whereas 14mg NE for women. Children require 2-16 milligrams daily, which varies according to age and growth. For pregnant women, the figure rises to 18mg NE, whereas lactating women need about 17mg of NE.
Studies recommend the tolerable upper Intake of Niacin is about 35mg NE, and therefore, you will be completely fine until you don’t overdose the limit. Make sure to get an RDA of vitamin B12, as a deficiency of niacin can lead to serious medical conditions like depression, headache, memory loss, Hallucinations, etc. It can also lead to cardiovascular diseases.
Best Vegan Sources Of Niacin That Stand At The Top
We have you covered if you are still wondering how and where to get this niacin or Vitamin B3. Many vegan foods high in niacin has a surplus amount of Vitamin B3 present in them. Here is a list of prominent vegan niacin sources:
Various plant-based grains are high in niacin. Whole wheat, the most common grain flour, has 10g of niacin per cup, a single cup of barley possesses 9.2 mg of vitamin B3, buckwheat gives 8mg of niacin per cup, and millet packs approx. 9mg of vitamin B3 in one serving. The list is non-exhaustive. All grains have more or less amount of vitamin B3 in them.
2. Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are loaded with niacin. They are also primary substitutes for protein and omega-3 fats in a vegan diet. The highest niacin-rich staple is peanuts, with a whopping 21 mg of niacin in a single cup.
Since nuts contain phytic acid eating too much of them will make nuts hard to digest for the body and cause problems like bloating, cramps, etc. Next, hemp seeds are filled with 15 mg of vitamin B3 per cup. An alone cup of raw pumpkin seeds contains 6.4 mg of niacin.
If you are watching weight and calorie levels, mushrooms are your best choice to go for the RDA of niacin. Mushrooms are one of the best sources of high protein lowest calories food, which promotes weight loss. 100 gm of mushrooms has 3.6 gm niacin and just 22 calories.
It’s a steal deal! Go for any type of oyster mushrooms and it is very easy to identify oyster mushrooms if you can’t find any then you can go for portabella mushrooms.
Tomatoes are heart-friendly fruits with antioxidant properties. Tomatoes and processed tomato products have high vitamin b3 content. A single juicy tomato has 1mg of niacin, and one cup of canned tomato gives 3.6 mg. Tomato puree cans of 6 ounces contain 5.8 mg of vitamin b3, and extracted juice of tomato provides around 2 mg of niacin.
Potato is an underground root vegetable. It is high in carbs and fats. Niacin level differs according to the potato cooking variations. A peeled baked potato has only 2.17 mg of niacin, whereas an intact skin baked potato will give 4.5 mg of niacin, nearly twice the former. 1 cup of boiled, mashed potatoes has 2.8 mg of niacin.
The Best Vegan Niacin Foods (Per 100 Grams and Calories)
|Food Item||Niacin content |
(in mg) per 100 gm
(in mg) per 100 calories
Niacin Deficiency Symptoms
Inadequate consumption of niacin-rich meals can impact your health adversely. It can take a toll on your physical, mental as well emotional health. Niacin has multifunction properties that reach many vital organs of the body. It’s important to take action if your body has a niacin deficiency. Here are some visible signs and symptoms of niacin you should look out for:
- You may experience mood swings, irritation on small things, and depression symptoms.
- A red and rough skin rash, especially under direct sunlight or heat.
- Very red shade of tongue than the usual color
- It can take a toll on your digestive system with frequent diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, and constipation issues.
- You may feel unexplained tiredness, fatigue, lethargy, and boredom.
- Serious symptoms include memory loss and hallucinations.
That’s all, Folks!
Niacin is a vital nutrient among eight types of vitamins. It improves brain function and blood circulation and synthesizes food into energy. It is present in omnivorous foods like red meat, poultry, and fish species.
Combining and including some primary vegan sources of niacin in your diet can meet your daily requirements of vitamin B3. Just focus on eating fresh green veggies, low-calorie mushroom meals, and a wholesome dose of nuts and seeds. You will have enough niacin for a healthy and happy life.