5 Delicious Vitamin B6-Rich Recipes

B6 is good for your nerves, your arteries, even your DNA—and you can get it in all sorts of tasty ways.

January 20, 2010

This easy, spicy curry is chock full of vitamin B6.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient that plays a variety of roles in our bodies, and there are as many vitamin B6 foods as there are vitamin B6 benefits. The vitamin ensures that biological processes, such fat and protein metabolism, take place properly, and plays an important part in the formation of new cells. Since B6 also helps our brain cells communicate with one another, a lack of the vitamin can cause impaired memory. The B vitamins in general are also important for healthy nerve functioning; shortages can lead to nerve damage in the hands and feet. B6 specifically might help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. And studies have shown that diabetics experience less of the numbness and tingling that's associated with diabetes-related nerve damage when they consume supplemental amounts of B vitamins like B6 and B12.

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Other studies have shown that B6 may help stop asthma attacks by lowering histamine levels. High levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that damages blood-vessel walls, are associated with low levels of vitamin B6. The vitamin has also been found to relieve PMS symptoms and to reduce the frequency and pain of migraines, perhaps due to its role in increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

And there are more reasons to include vitamin B6-rich foods on our plate. Thanks to its ability to shield DNA from tumor-causing damage, vitamin B6 may also help to prevent colon and colorectal cancers. When Swedish researchers studied 61,400 women over 15 years, they found that colorectal cancer risk was lower in those who got at least 2 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B6 daily. Harvard researchers studied 33,000 women and found that the highest daily B6 intake (8.6 mg) correlated with a 58 percent lower risk of colon cancer and a 44 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer compared with the lowest intake (1.6 mg per day). The vitamin may also strengthen immunity, lower risk of depression, and reduce risk of morning sickness during pregnancy.
Read on for vitamin B6 recipes, including banana cake, vegetable curry, and more.

We need 2 mg of vitamin B6 daily. Look for it in foods like beans, fish, bananas, chicken, turkey, avocados, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, whole grains, eggs, oats, beef, nuts, and brewer's yeast. Having so many choices makes it easy to keep your B6 levels up—especially if you try these easy, tasty recipes from the Rodale Recipe Finder.

#1: Banana Split Oatmeal. Oats, bananas, and peanuts make this a B6-rich morning dish. For a sweet breakfast treat, make Banana Pancakes with Walnut Honey.

#2: Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema. Combine fish or chicken with avocado to get a double dose of B6. Another tasty option? Key West Chicken-Avocado Sandwiches.

#3: Chicken, Bean, and Vegetable Soup. Soups are a great way to load up on vitamin B6. Frozen and canned veggies make this 20-Minute Vegetable Soup a cinch.

#4: Thai-Seasoned Beef and Noodles. At dinnertime, top spicy beef with peanuts for extra B6. Meat-free suppers rich in the vitamin include this flavorful Asian Harmony Bean and Brown Rice Salad and this veggie-packed curry.

#5: Banana Cake. Whole wheat pastry flour, bananas, and wheat germ make this a B6-rich treat. If you're in the mood for chocolate, try this banana pudding tart in a chocolate-lined shell.

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