Vegetarian Sources of Niacin

Niacin is also known as vitamin B-3 and helps your body convert food into energy, plays a role in sex and stress hormone production, reduces cholesterol and improves circulation. A niacin deficiency is rare, but a vegetarian diet poses a higher risk since many meats are good sources of this vitamin. Many vegetarian foods contain a healthy dose of niacin and can help you meet the daily intake recommendation, which is 14 milligrams to 16 milligrams.

A close-up of brown rice in a bowl. (Image: ognoc/iStock/Getty Images)

Grains With Niacin

Many grain foods are good sources of B vitamins and are a healthy addition to a vegetarian diet. Brown rice contains roughly 9 milligrams of niacin per cup, barley and wheat durum contain over 8 milligrams per cup, buckwheat has over 2 milligrams per 1/4 cup and millet has over 9 milligrams per cup. Cornmeal and couscous also contain niacin, with 5 to 9 milligrams and 6 milligrams, respectively. Many types of bread, bagels and breakfast cereals are fortified with niacin, making them a good way to increase your intake as well.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are good alternative sources of protein in a vegetarian diet, and they also contribute to your daily niacin intake. One cup of roasted almonds contains 5.9 milligrams of niacin, and peanut butter contains about 4.3 milligrams per 2-tablespoon serving. Ginkgo nuts have 5.6 milligrams per cup, and 1 cup of sunflower seeds contains nearly 9 milligrams.

Potatoes and Niacin

The amount of niacin in a potato varies slightly depending on how it is cooked, and adding potatoes to your vegetarian diet will increase your niacin intake. A baked potato with the skin contains about 4.5 milligrams of niacin, and one that is baked without skin contains 2.17 milligrams. Homemade hash browns contain about 3.6 milligrams of niacin per cup, but store-bought ones contain less than 1 gram per patty. Homemade mashed potatoes have about 2.3 milligrams of niacin per cup.

Niacin in Tomatoes

Tomatoes and tomato products contain niacin and are part of a healthy vegetarian diet. A raw tomato contains roughly 1 milligram of niacin, and a 6-ounce can of tomato paste contains 5.2 milligrams. Canned tomatoes contain up to 3.6 milligrams per cup. Tomato juice will also increase your niacin intake with nearly 2 milligrams per cup.


There are a variety of mushrooms with variable amounts of niacin in each. Canned mushrooms contain about 2.4 milligrams of niacin per cup, and the same amount of boiled, fresh mushrooms contain nearly 7 milligrams. White, raw mushrooms have 2.5 milligrams per cup, and raw, diced portabella mushrooms have 3.8 milligrams per cup. Cooked shiitake mushrooms have about 3.4 milligrams per 1-cup serving.

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