One of the functions of vitamin B6 is to make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to cells and works as a co-enzyme in protein metabolism. Vitamin B6 also supports nervous system function. The Dietary Reference Intake is 1.3mg daily for individuals aged 19 to 50 years. After age 50, men need 1.7mg daily and women need 1.5mg. The Recommended Daily Value (DV) for vitamin B6 is 2mg. The percent DV for each food item shows how much it contributes toward your total daily requirement based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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Poultry, Pork and Beef
Animal foods, such as meats, are rich in this nutrient. For example, approximately 1/2 of a roasted chicken breast or a 4-oz. portion, meat only, provides .64mg, meeting 32 percent of the DV. A 4-oz. serving of roasted turkey breast provides 0.54mg vitamin B6, meeting 27 percent of the DV. A 4-oz. portion of cooked, lean pork loin provides 0.56 mg, meeting 28 percent of the DV.
Beef is another good source of this B vitamin. For example, a 3-oz. portion of cooked lean roast beef, eye of round, offers 0.32mg, meeting 15 percent of the DV. A 4-oz. serving of venison, a very lean red game meat, provides 0.43mg, meeting 21.5 percent of the DV.
Certain varieties of fish are particularly rich sources of vitamin B6. A 4-oz. portion of baked or broiled Yellowfin tuna provides 1.18mg of vitamin B6, meeting nearly 60 percent of the DV. Cod, Chinook salmon and snapper are also rich in this micronutrient. A 4-oz. portion of any of the three, baked or broiled, provides 0.52mg, meeting 26 percent of the DV.
A 4-oz. serving of halibut, baked or broiled offers 0.45mg, meeting nearly 23 percent of the DV for this nutrient. Rainbow trout is also among the vitamin B6-rich fish varieties. A 4-oz. portion, baked, offers nearly 0.39mg, meeting 19.5 percent of the DV.
Fruits, Vegetables and Legumes
While animal foods are, in general, among the best food sources of this nutrient, certain plant-based foods are also particularly rich in vitamin B6. Bananas and avocados are two fruits that provide a substantial amount of this B vitamin. One medium-sized banana offers 0.68mg, meeting 34 percent of the DV. One cup of avocado slices provides .41mg, meeting 21 percent of the DV.
Boiled spinach and baked potatoes with skin are two vegetables that are excellent food B6 sources. One cup of boiled spinach offers 0.44mg, meeting 22 percent of the DV and 1 medium sized baked potato with skin has 0.70mg, meeting 35 percent of the DV.
Other vegetarian food sources of vitamin B6 include legumes, such as beans and peas. A 1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans provides 0.57mg, meeting 30 percent of the DV while 1 cup cooked green peas has 0.35mg, meeting about 17.5 percent of the DV.