The Best Vegan Niacin Food Sources (Per Gram and Calorie)

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Niacin, otherwise known as vitamin B3, is used to produce energy, fatty acids, cholesterol, and more.

It’s also a part of the DNA repair process.

For adults, the recommended daily amount of niacin is 16 mg for men, and 14 mg for women.

There’s also an upper limit of 35 mg. If you reach it, you will experience a “flushing” reaction, usually starting with your face. It’s not serious, but could cause some discomfort.

On to the best vegan sources of niacin.

The Best Vegan Niacin Foods (Per 100 Grams and Calories)

While most people are not deficient in niacin, you will need multiple servings of even the best vegan sources to reach the RDA.

All the data in the following table comes right from the USDA’s database.

FoodNiacin (mg) per 100 gramsNiacin (mg) per 100 calories
Seaweed (dried)12.814.49
Peanuts12.072.13
Hemp seeds9.201.66
Chia seeds8.831.81
Wheat flour (whole-grain)5.351.61
Buckwheat groats5.131.49
Sesame seeds4.520.79
Pine nuts4.390.65
Rye grain4.271.26
Almonds3.620.62
Flaxseed3.080.58
Macadamia nut2.470.34
Peas2.092.59
Barley2.061.68
Avocado1.911.15
Hazelnut1.800.29
Corn1.772.06
Date1.610.58
Cowpeas1.401.45
Cashew1.400.24
Chestnut1.340.55
Pistachio nuts1.300.23
Soybeans1.250.89
Rapini1.225.52
Kale1.183.31
Pecans1.170.17
Nectarine1.132.54
Walnut1.120.17
Guava1.081.61
Asparagus1.085.00
Durian1.070.73
White potato1.071.54
Lentils1.060.91
Artichoke1.052.23
Lima beans1.040.85
Okra1.003.06
Carrot0.982.36
Red bell pepper0.983.73
Oats0.960.25
Jackfruit0.920.97
Water spinach0.904.58
Cassava0.850.53
Peach0.812.08
Mustard greens0.802.99
Ginger0.750.75
Green bean0.732.38
Cantaloupe0.732.14
Spinach0.723.16
Adzuki beans0.720.56
Fava bean0.710.65
Garlic0.700.53
Parsnip0.700.93
Plantain0.670.55
Mango0.671.11
Banana0.660.75
Eggplant0.652.60
Navy beans0.650.46
Blackberry0.651.50
Broccoli0.641.87
Brussels sprouts0.611.69
Lychee0.600.90
Raspberry0.601.14
Turnip greens0.601.83
Apricot0.601.25
Tomato0.593.28
Kidney beans0.580.45
Mung bean0.580.55
Sweet potato0.560.65
Coconut meat0.540.15
Chickpeas0.530.32
Cauliflower0.512.01
Black beans0.510.38
Bok choy0.503.89
Pineapple0.501.00
Squash0.493.03
Green bell pepper0.482.38
Napa cabbage0.473.91
Zucchini0.452.65
Melon0.421.16
Plum0.420.92
Quinoa0.410.34
Swiss chard0.402.11
Gourd0.401.98
Orange0.400.88
Leek0.400.66
Chicory root0.400.56
Lotus root0.400.54
Fig0.400.54
Rice0.400.31
Strawberry0.391.21
Tangerine0.380.70
Beets0.330.75
Lettuce (red leaf)0.322.48
Celery0.322.28
Arugula0.311.22
Bamboo shoot0.302.54
Brazil nut0.290.04
Pumpkin seeds0.290.06
Grapefruit0.270.73
Radish0.261.53
Amaranth0.230.23
Cabbage0.230.95
Pummelo0.220.58
Watercress0.201.67
Lime0.200.67
Grapes0.190.27
Pear0.160.28
Cherry0.150.24
Onion0.120.29
Cranberry0.100.22
Lemon0.100.34
Cucumber0.100.64
Apple0.090.18
Olive0.040.03

There are a few types of foods that really stand out at the top:

  1. Grains – Buckwheat, rye, whole wheat, and barley are all excellent sources of niacin.
  2. Seeds – Sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are all in the top half of the list.
  3. Mushrooms – A great source of niacin if watching calories.
  4. Leafy greens (e.g. spinach)

Peanuts are the number 1 food, but also the only legume on the list until lentils, which are much lower.

The Most Efficient Sources of Niacin

Finally, let’s try to find the best niacin sources if you’re trying to limit how many calories and servings you need to reach your niacin targets.

We can do this by plotting the amount of niacin per serving against the amount per 100 calories.

That chart looks like this (click to enlarge) – note: mushrooms are not on the chart, but would score the best:

best vegan sources of niacin bubble chart

With this type of chart, the best food sources should be towards the top-right section of the chart.

Other than peanuts, nothing stands out too much. Still, it seems like the most balanced niacin sources are:

  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Eggplant
  • Red bell pepper

Those foods should make it as easy as possible to get in as much niacin as you need, without having too many calories.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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