Vitamin B6 Foods

Vitamin B6 Foods

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary to the formation of red blood cells. This B vitamin also helps convert tryptophan to niacin and serotonin and is involved in the metabolism of amino acids and fatty acids.  Low levels of Vitamin B6 have been associated with depression and decreased immune and cognitive functions.

Strict vegetarians should be particularly aware of their intake of Vitamin B6, since it appears that the plant forms of this vitamin are not as available to your body as those from animal sources.

Here is a list of foods that are good sources of this important B vitamin.

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Vitamin B6 Foods



Fortified and Enriched cereals and grains and products made with them.

Tomato Juice

Chicken breast



Lima Beans

Garbanzo Beans

Soy Beans

Brussels Sprouts




Winter Squash

Sweet Potatoes





More Information

Water-soluble vitamins, as the name suggests, can be dissolved in water, so they are absorbed directly into your blood stream. They travel freely though the blood to the sites in your body where they are needed and any excess can be removed by the kidneys and excreted through the urine.

Vitamins in foods can be destroyed by light, heat and oxygen. Storage methods and food preparation techniques will affect the amount retained by the foods. To minimize this problem, refrigerate produce in airtight containers, and during preparation, steam or cook vegetables lightly, avoiding high temperatures and extended cooking times whenever possible.Note: The consumption of alcohol destroys Vitamin B6 and can be linked to an increased risk of heart disease. 

Fun Fact for Vitamin B6 Foods: When you add fresh or frozen vegetables to soup or stew, the nutrients go into the broth of the soup rather than being washed down the drain, as is the case when you cook vegetables in water and throw away the cooking water.

Here is a recipe that uses several Vitamin B6 foods.

FOUR-BEAN CHILI (Vegetarian)

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 stalk of celery, coarsely chopped

1 green, red, yellow or orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped

2  Tablespoons olive oil

2  15 oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1  15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1  15oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1  15 oz.can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2  15 oz. cans diced tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses

1 teaspoon good quality salt (more or less to taste)

1 teaspoon cumin (more or less to taste)

1-3 teaspoons chili powder (more or less to taste)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric* (optional)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, more if you like “hot” chili)

4 cups vegetable stock or water (more or less depending on soup thickness you prefer)


(1) Sauté chopped onion, celery and pepper in olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven until partly soft.

(2) Add remaining ingredients and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. Adjust liquid and spices to your taste.

(3) Serve with cornbread and a sprinkle of Parmesan or other cheese, if desired.

Chili, like most soups, gets more flavorful after being refrigerated for 24 hours. This recipe will keep up to one week in the refrigerator and may be frozen as well.

Notes for Recipe Chili:

-You can use other types of beans and more of one or the other according to your taste or what you have on hand.

-You can use dry beans that have been soaked and cooked in place of canned beans. Be sure to cook the beans first. Use a total of about 8 cups of cooked beans in whatever combination suits you.

-If available, using home canned or frozen tomatoes and tomato paste will increase flavor and nutrition.

-You can experiment with the seasonings. I added the turmeric and extra cayenne pepper (chili powder has some in it) when I found out how good they are for you. *Turmeric has a warm, spicy flavor and I think it enhances the flavor of the chili, but you can leave it out and still have a great chili.

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