Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor to prevent nutritional deficiencies – Vitamin B3 – Niacin

In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B3 is also known in different forms as Niacin, Nicotinic Acid, Nicotinamide and Nicinamide. When the vitamin was first discovered it was called nicotinic acid but there was a concern that it would be associated with nicotine in cigarettes, leading to the false assumption that somehow smoking might provide you with nutrients. It was decided to call it Niacin instead.

It works with other nutrients, particularly B1, B2, B5, B6 and biotin to break the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in food down into energy. B3 itself is essential in this process and it goes further by aiding in the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach to aid the digestion of food. It is actually involved in over 40 metabolic functions which shows how important it is in our levels of energy on a daily basis.

We are at the mercy of toxins and harmful chemicals in the body that need to be eliminated efficiently to prevent build up and illness. B3 works with the body and other nutrients to achieve this. Additionally when we are under attack from bacteria and viruses that we have not managed to eliminate fast enough, B3 will also assist in the antioxidant processes within the body to help us heal faster.

Enzymes in the body are unique substances that speed up chemical reactions in the body. They are responsible produce the energy we need, the breakdown of dietary fats, the production of certain hormones and cholesterol. In addition they are needed for the processing of genetic material (DNA) and the growth and healthy maturing of cells. B3 is essential for the efficiency of many of these enzymes.

One of the areas that B3 is used therapeutically is in the lowering of cholesterol. B3 actually lowers LDL (lousy cholesterol) and raises HDL (healthy cholesterol). In tests, supplemented B3 proved more effective than many of the normal cholesterol lowering drugs although there have been instances of side effects in the form of excessive flushing. To prevent this you can take time release tablets and also begin on a low dose, gradually building up to the therapeutic level.

High dosage of any vitamin therapy should only be undertaken with the supervision of a medical professional and there are a number of different forms of B3 supplementation that can be used to minimise side effects whilst still acting to reduce LDL and raise HDL.

People at risk of being Vitamin B3 deficient.

It is not considered to be a common deficiency but even a mild one can have an impact on your health. People who are intolerant to gluten are at risk as are those with other intestinal problems including Crohn’s Disease and IBS.

Also when considering a vegetarian or vegan diet it is important to substitute animals products with foods that contain all the B vitamins, and may need additional supplementation too.

The elderly and those suffering from a decreased appetite also may need additional B vitamins in supplement form.

The mild symptoms of a deficiency.

General fatigue
Being cold all the time,
Mild depression
Muscle cramps
Tingling in the fingers
Depressed appetite
Digestive problems

Severe deficiency of the vitamin leads to Pellagra and can be fatal

Skin disorders including dermatitis

B3 is water soluble and therefore needs to be replenished daily from your diet it is found in liver, chicken, Turkey, salmon, swordfish, tuna, venison, eggs, cheese and milk. Plant sources include green leafy vegetables such as Asparagus, broccoli, carrots, dates, mushrooms, peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, sunflower seeds and wholegrains.

I am now going to hand over to Carol who has whipped up some delicious dishes for the whole family using some of the B3 rich foods as ingredients.

I am thoroughly enjoying this new series as it is helping me to know which of the foods I eat are the ones I need for my optimum health…I hope you are also finding this series helpful with your healthy eating plans.

Cauliflower cheese with broccoli

My go to dish when I want something that reminds me of home…Broccoli and cauliflower cheese…

I will let you determine how much you use because you know how much you eat and how many you are cooking for.


• Broccoli… cut into florets.
• Cauliflower cut into florets.
• Steam the vegetables lightly as they will finish cooking when the sauce is added.
• Tomatoes for decoration.
• For the Sauce:
• 2 tbsp Corn flour
• 1 0z/25gm Butter… I generally just slice it off the block so probably use a tad. more
• 3/4 pint Milk
• Salt
• Freshly ground Pepper.
• 3 oz/70gm Cheddar cheese plus extra for topping.
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard.

I have always used a flour/butter roux to make a white sauce and if that’s how you roll then that’s fine.

My son (bless him) has turned it on its head and asked me why did I make it hard for myself….mmm…teaching mum to suck eggs?

His version and now I have got used to it…it is easier. But am I going to tell him that…Nope!

Let’s Cook

  1. Mix the corn flour to a smooth paste with a little of the milk set aside.
  2. Bring your milk to a slow boil, add the butter and let it melt.
  3. Now…pour your corn flour mix into the milk in very small amounts stirring as you pour, repeating until all the corn flour is incorporated you now have a very smooth sauce.
  4. Season with Salt and pepper and add Dijon mustard again stirring the entire time cook for 1-2 minutes stirring to cook off the taste of the corn flour.
  5. Stir in your cheese I use a strong English cheddar but you can use gruyere cheese or another cheese of your choice or mix your cheeses.
  6. Put steamed vegetables into an ovenproof dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Grate some more cheese over the top you could also mix the cheese with breadcrumbs to make a crispier topping.
  7. Put halved small tomatoes or sliced larger ones around the edge of the dish.

Yes, you will notice a gap…No I didn’t run out of tomatoes….We have… he who shall remain nameless who doesn’t like tomatoes anywhere near his portion.

I am saying no more!


Lemon Chicken with Asparagus


• 4 chicken breasts
• 2tbsp coconut oil
• 4 cloves of garlic crushed
• 8 oz mushrooms sliced
• ¾ cup of milk/cream
• Juice of a Lemon
• Lemon slices
• Couple sprigs fresh thyme
• Salt and pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Heat pan and add 1 tbsp of the oil when the oil is hot add the chicken skin side down, cook for about3 mins both side and set aside.
  2. If required add the remaining oil to the pan and add the garlic, asparagus and mushrooms saute until the asp is lightly browned about 8 mins.
  3. Return the chicken to the pan, add the milk and lemon juice slowly heat, throw in thyme and arrange lemon slices on top of the chicken bring to a very slow simmer then cover the pan and put in a preheated oven until chicken is cooked or if you prefer carry on cooking on the stove top.
  4. Taste and then season.
  5. Serve with steamed rice, pasta or zucchini ribbons (zoodles)

Thai Mushroom Larb

As I have been trying to find some nice flavoursome meatless recipes I came across this one and as Larb is a favourite here I decided to give this version a go… The initial reaction from
the meat eaters in this house were not one of joy…ha-ha but on reflection they had to admit it was nice.

Made using the shiitake mushroom which is great in stir-fries, soups and with pasta, it also apparently makes tasty veggie bacon.


• 12 oz shiitake mushrooms cut into 1/2 in pieces…Remove stalks and reserve for stir fry etc
• 3 spring onions chopped
• 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
• 1 clove of garlic finely diced
• 1 small shallot sliced thinly
• 1 tsp dried chilli or 1 fresh chilli finely sliced
• 1 tbsp fish sauce
• A handful of mint leaves
• Lime Juice plus wedges to serve
• Few peanuts roughly chopped.
• Oil to cook mushrooms.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Add 2 tbsp oil to pan over a medium to high heat add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 mins, shake and cook for another 3-4 mins until mushrooms are crispy…Do not add salt or they won’t crisp.
  2. Add ginger and garlic and remove from the heat.
  3. Add spring onions, chilli, fish sauce and half the nuts stir to combine and add mint leaves.
  4. Taste and add a squeeze of lime juice adjust seasoning if required…
    Peanut butter

Quite by accident (we were drying) peanuts some must have escaped and took root so I can now say I grow my own peanuts.

I am not talking about the salted peanuts that you buy in packets in the shop or supermarket but peanuts grown naturally and roasted or made into healthy peanut butter.

These peanuts are high in monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that is vital in the heart healthy Mediterranean diet. There have been many studies on peanuts and they have shown that this little legume is very vital for heart health.

Peanuts are a good source of Vitamins as well as providing resveratrol, the phenolic antioxidant also found in red grapes and red wine. While it cannot compare with the fruits highest in antioxidants i.e. pomegranate, roasted peanuts do compare with the antioxidants of apples, carrots and beets.

Rather than buying store bought peanut butter which is full of nasties it is easier and it is very quick to make your own. It is the quickest easiest recipe to make ever, the kids can help blitz it and as well as being tasty it has no nasties.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Take 500 gm raw peanuts. Put in oven on tray and cook on high for 10 mins.
  2. Take out of oven and reserve a few (if you like crunchy peanut butter) like me. Put the remainder of nuts in a food processor and blitz at 1 min intervals scrapping down the sides. Do this for 4 mins or until smooth.
  3. Add 1tsp of salt, 1 tbsp oil and remainder of reserved nuts if using. If you want to add honey, Nutella or flavouring of your choice then add now.
  4. Blitz again for 1 min and put in a suitable container. Stores in fridge for 3/4 weeks…….IT’S DELISH!

Sunflower seeds…

Sunflower seeds are a little powerhouse of nutrients they can be added to a crumble topping, roasted as a snack or with scrambled eggs which is a new one on me …What do you think…?

For a crumble topping

Make the topping and then layer with the stewed fruit as pictured above.


• 150g/5½oz light muscovite sugar
• 150g/5½oz walnuts, roughly chopped
• 50g/1¾oz sunflower seeds
• 100g/3½oz softened butter
• 50 g/1 ¾ oz plain flour
• 50 g/1 ¾ oz porridge oats

Let’s Cook

  1. Put the dry topping ingredients in a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until it is evenly distributed and the mixture has formed small clumps.
  2. Spread the mixture evenly over a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp.
  3. Stir to break up the crumble and sprinkle over the hot fruit of your choice…

That’s all for this week I hope you enjoy the recipes please let us know in comments if you have any questions or queries we love to hear from you.

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog:

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

As I move from Facebook to share my posts, you will find me with some other blogging friends on a relatively new, and friendlier site called MeWe….you can find me on

32 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor to prevent nutritional deficiencies – Vitamin B3 – Niacin

  1. This comes at a perfect time as my mom has recently been diagnosed with a very low B12 deficiency. The doctor recommended shots every day for a week and then once a week for six months. I’ll share this post with her for the info and recipe ideas, thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sorry to hear about your mum, Jacquie my friend had a B12 and when she was due to get her shots (or forgot) she felt awful…I hope these recipes help your mum to feel much better and build up her B12 🙂 xx

      Liked by 2 people

    • Glad it is useful Jacquie.. we will be featuring B12 specifically in a few weeks but most of these recipes have B Vitamins in general. Here is the run down and the B12 rich foods your mom might focus on….
      B12 is present in meats apart from offal, eggs and dairy products. It is better to drink a cold glass of milk than to eat yoghurt as the fermentation process destroys most of the B12 as does boiling milk. There are very few sources if any of B12 in plants although some people do believe that eating fermented Soya products, sea weeds and algae will provide the vitamin. However analysis of these products shows that whilst some of them do contain B12 it is in the form of B12 analogues which are unable to be absorbed by the human body.

      Eating foods containing Vitamin E may help the absorption process and the best sources for this are in nuts such as the walnuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, eggs, spinach, apples, bananas, broccoli, brown rice, carrots, onions and oily fish.

      Most cereals and breads today are fortified with B12 as are yeast extracts (marmite) and vegetarian products.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor to prevent nutritional deficiencies – Vitamin B3 – Niacin – ❧Defining Ways❧

  3. Reblogged this on Retired? No one told me! and commented:
    Time for the next post in this series as you know over the next few months Sally and I are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient. We hope you both benefit nutritionally and enjoy the recipes xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor to prevent nutritional deficiencies – Vitamin B3 – Niacin — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine –

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  6. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Weekly catchup…Plastic, Cloud Eggs, B3, Komoto Dragons and Dare to Dream! | Retired? No one told me!

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