Who doesn't want healthy nerve and muscle cells? Of course you do, and this is where Vitamin B6 – also known as Pyridoxine – becomes especially important. In addition to that, it plays a part in converting carbohydrates and protein into energy, together with other B-complex vitamins, and has a role in the production of insulin, both white and red blood cells, and DNA. That means it’s pretty important!
Luckily, Vitamin B6 deficiency rarely occurs, because it’s contained in many foods. But sometimes it does, usually caused by a poor absorption of nutrients that can be a result of chronic alcoholism or chronic diarrhoea. Fatigue, anaemia, skin disorders (like eczema and seborrheic dermatitis), convulsions and seizures – these are symptoms that may point to a deficiency in Pyridoxine.
But even if there’s no full-blown deficiency, there are a number of medical conditions that may be prevented or treated with better levels of Vitamin B6, including adrenal function, asthma, kidney stones, PMS, cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis and hypertension, nervous system issues like carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, autism and epilepsy, and skin conditions like acne and eczema. The best approach in any case is to turn to whole food sources of Vitamin B6, of which there is abundance in the Paleo Diet.
How much Vitamin B6 do you need in your diet?
The daily recommended amount of Vitamin B6 is 2mg.
Which foods can you get Pyridoxine from?
- Liver – Not surprisingly, the nutrient dense liver is the first on the list. While any animal liver will provide a good amount of Vitamin B6, turkey liver is the richest choice with 52% of the daily need in a 100g portion. Pate, anyone?
- Tuna – The best fish source for Vitamin B6, tuna provides 52% of your daily need in a 100g portion. So if liver is not your thing, but you’re focused on the consumption of Pyridoxine, a good tuna salad or tuna steak for dinner is a great choice for your health.
- Summer squash – Great for grilling, salads, stir-fries, and even refreshing soups – summer squash provides 12.5% of your daily need of Vitamin B6 in 1 cup when measured raw.
- Banana – One of the best carb sources around, the banana is also good for Vitamin B6 with 21.5% of your daily need in one fruit. Of course bananas are great to munch on just by themselves, but if you’re feeling like a treat, why not prepare a Vitamin B6-filled one-ingredient ice-cream? Just toss some frozen banana pieces into a blender and watch the magic unveil.
- Pistachios – For a snack full of Vitamin B6, go for a handful of pistachios. In 100g you’ll find 85% of your daily Pyridoxine need.
- Blackstrap molasses – if you’re looking for a healthy sweetener, blackstrap molasses provides the best mineral and vitamin content. In just one tablespoon you’ll get 7% of your daily Vitamin B6 need. The taste of blackstrap molasses might be an acquired taste for some, but if you’re fond of it and are looking for something sweet, it’s a great solution.
- Paprika – Sometimes all it takes is some herbs and spices to perk up the micronutrient content of your food. Paprika is a great addition when it comes to Vitamin B6 – one tablespoon packs 14% of your daily need. Great reason to browse through some Hungarian recipes – no lack of paprika there!
What else do you need to know about Vitamin B6 consumption?
When cooking Vitamin B6-rich food, it is the acidity of the food that usually determines how much of the vitamin is retained. Thus, if you’re especially concerned with the Pyridoxine content, don’t add much acidic components to your food. In addition, processing and freezing cause a loss in the vitamin content. As the Paleo diet promotes the eating of fresh unprocessed whole foods, it is a great approach to get all the vitamins you need – fresh vegetables win over canned ones any day!
So, did reading this make you think more about Vitamin B6 consumption? Do you have any recipes to share with the specific ingredients? Do share in the comments!