10 Foods That Are High in Niacin

Niacin is a vital nutrient that is used by all the tissues in the body. Eating foods that are high in niacin is a good way to ensure that you are consuming enough of this important vitamin. Niacin can be found in both animal and plant foods. It is also available in B-complex vitamins and other supplements.

What Is Niacin?

Niacin

A water-soluble B vitamin. It goes by many names, including vitamin B3, niacinamide, nicotinic acid, and nicotinamide.

Sources of niacin include food and supplements. Animal protein tends to have higher amounts of niacin than plant foods, though a healthy intake of niacin can be achieved on diets that exclude animal products.

Why You Need Niacin

Niacin is associated with many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, protecting against Alzheimer’s disease, and aiding in diabetes management. The main function of this nutrient is to prevent pellegra, which is niacin deficiency. In addition, it produces NAD+ which is vital for cellular pathways including deriving energy from carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Niacin Requirements

The requirements for niacin are:

  • Adult men: 16 mg per day
  • Adult women: 14 mg per day

Note: The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for niacin depends on age and sex. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are encouraged to increase their niacin intake.

Though a niacin deficiency (pellegra) is rare in Western countries, it is still recommended to consume plenty of foods that are high in niacin to get enough of this vitamin. Severe niacin deficiency may result in diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and possibly even death.

Brown Rice

cooked brown rice
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

One cup of cooked brown rice contains 2.59 mg of niacin.

Brown rice is a popular source of complex carbohydrates. It is a great way to consume plenty of whole grains. Though many foods high in niacin come from animal sources, brown rice is an example of a plant-based source of niacin.

This grain is also a great source of fiber, protein, and minerals like magnesium and zinc. 

Tuna

tuna
Verywell / Jon Fisher

One can of tuna contains 21.9 mg of niacin.

If you have ever enjoyed a serving of tuna salad or a tuna poke bowl, you probably did not realize you were eating a niacin-rich meal. Tuna has an impressive nutrition profile, which is why it is often recommended as a source of lean protein and other vitamins and minerals. 

One serving of tuna is enough to cover most people’s niacin requirements for an entire day. If you are looking for a way to consume more niacin, reach for the can of tuna that is likely already in your pantry.

Portabella Mushrooms

portabella mushrooms
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

One cup of raw portabella mushrooms contains 3.86 mg of niacin.

Since they are low in carbohydrates and rich in vitamins and minerals, mushrooms are popular among low-carb and vegan diets.

Consuming a variety of mushrooms is a good way to consume a variety of nutrients. If you are looking for plant-based foods that are high in niacin, portabella mushrooms are a good source.

Lean Chicken Breast

Chicken breast
Verywell / Jon Fisher

A 3-ounce serving of cooked chicken breast contains 10.3 mg of niacin.

Like other animal proteins, chicken breast is a potent source of niacin. Chicken can be a healthy source of protein for meat eaters.

If you regularly consume chicken, you are likely getting plenty of niacin since a small serving size of chicken provides nearly 100 percent of the daily recommended value for niacin.

Peanuts

Peanuts in bowl
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

A 1-ounce serving of peanuts contains 3.42 mg of niacin.

Snacking on peanuts is not just for the ball game. A handful of raw peanuts or a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter can provide more than 25 percent of your daily niacin needs.

Peanuts and peanut butter are also a great source of healthy fats and protein for vegans and vegetarians. If you do not consume meat, turn to nuts and nut butter for extra niacin in your diet.

Pork Tenderloin

pork tenderloin on plate
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

A 3-ounce serving of cooked pork tenderloin provides 6.32 mg of niacin.

While pork does not contain as much niacin as other animal proteins, such as lean chicken breast and tuna, it is a richer source of niacin than plant foods.

Pork tenderloins are not as popular as other forms of lean animal protein, but they are a good source of protein and B vitamins.

Green Peas

Peas
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

One-half cup of cooked green peas contains 1.18 mg of niacin.

Green peas are surprisingly high in plant-based protein with 4.1g per ½ cup. They are also full of other nutrients like potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and niacin. Since peas can be canned or frozen, it is easy to have green peas on hand at all times.

When you want to make a niacin-rich meal, try adding a side of green peas to your plate.

Avocados

avocadoes
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

A raw avocado that weighs approximately 200g contains 3.49 mg of niacin.

Avocados are especially popular among low-carb and vegan diets. They are a delicious source of healthy fat and other nutrients.

Although you are unlikely to eat the entire avocado, even 1/2 of an avocado provides more than 10% of your daily needs.

Nutritional Yeast

nutritional yeast
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

One tablespoon of nutritional yeast seasoning contains 39.4 mg of niacin.

Popular among vegans for having a nutty flavor reminiscent of Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast is a potent source of B vitamins, including niacin. One tablespoon provides more than double the daily requirement of niacin. It is easy to add nutritional yeast to meals. Sprinkle on top of pasta, soup, and salad for a flavorful dose of niacin.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

One medium cooked sweet potato contains 2.22 mg of niacin.

Sweet potatoes are a good source of plant-based niacin, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and more. They are also easy to digest. Since sweet potatoes are delicious and comforting, it is easy to incorporate more of them into your diet. Sweet potatoes pair well with other niacin-rich foods like lean chicken and avocado. 

A Word From Verywell

Niacin is needed for a variety of bodily functions, so it is important to consume foods high in niacin. Many foods that are high in niacin tend to come from animal sources, such as tuna, chicken, pork, and beef. Plant sources of niacin include avocados, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. Seeds, green leafy vegetables, milk, coffee, and tea also contain some niacin.

Since niacin-rich foods are plenty, a niacin deficiency is rare in Western countries. As long as you consume a balanced diet, you should have no problem eating an abundance of foods that are high in niacin.

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13 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Niacin Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 1/15/2021.

  2. Niacin. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated January 15, 2021

  3. Pellagra. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.

  4. Rice, brown, medium-grain, cooked. USDA FoodData Central. Published 4/1/2019

  5. Fish, tuna, light, canned in water, without salt, drained solids. USDA FoodData Central. Published 4/1/2019

  6. Mushrooms, portabella, raw. USDA FoodData Central. Published 4/1/2019

  7. Chicken, broiler or fryers, breast, skinless, boneless, meat only, cooked, grilled. USDA FoodData Central. Published 4/1/2019

  8. Peanuts, all types, raw. FoodData Central. Published 4/1/2019

  9. Pork, fresh, loin, tenderloin, separable lean only, cooked, roasted. USDA FoodData Central. Published 4/1/2019

  10. Peas, green, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. USDA FoodData Central. Published 4/1/2019

  11. Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. USDA FoodData Central. Published 4/1/2019

  12. Nutritional yeast seasoning. USDA FoodData Central. Published 12/6/2019

  13. Sweet potato, baked, peel not eaten, no added fat. USDA FoodData Central. Published 10/30/2020