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B for Chicken!

Chicken gets an A+ as the #1 protein for Canadians – and it also gets an A+ for B-vitamins!

By: Kelly Atyeo-Fick, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec

Chicken gets an A+ as the #1 protein for Canadians – and it also gets an A+ for B-vitamins!

The B-Vitamins are a group of 8 vitamins that are important to help our bodies function.1 These vitamins help allow our bodies to convert the food we eat into energy our bodies can use. 1 Also, they allow for red blood cell formation and proper functioning of the body’s nervous system.1 The following is a complete list of B-vitamins that we need to get in our diet:

  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
  • Biotin
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin B12

B-Vitamins & Chicken

Niacin, Vitamin B12, Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), Thiamine and Riboflavin are all found in chicken! Sometimes you’ll find certain B-vitamins more in the lighter chicken meat (breasts), while some you find greater amounts in the darker meat (legs, thighs, wings). Below is more information about 3 of the key B-vitamins found in chicken.2

Vitamin B12 is a very crucial nutrient to support the nervous system and the production of healthy red blood cells.2,3 When people have low levels of Vitamin B12, this can lead to pernicious anemia – which can cause tiredness and cognitive problems.2,3 This can be prevented with proper nutrition. The best sources of Vitamin B12 are meat & alternatives (i.e. milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts).2,3 Organ meats like chicken liver contain the highest amounts of Vitamin B12, followed by the dark meat from the legs and thighs.2,3

Try this Chicken Liver Loafrecipe that provides an impressive 252% of your Daily Value of Vitamin B12! Don’t be scared if it’s your first time trying liver. Because the chicken livers are mixed with ground chicken, you get the nutrition without the texture.

Pyrodoxine or Vitamin B6 is found more in chicken breasts. It is very important for red blood cell production, strengthening the immune system and brain development of a baby in utero and infancy.2 It also plays a role in allowing the body to use protein. This makes eating chicken an easy way to get your Vitamin B6, which will help you use the lean protein from your meal!2

If you are looking to jazz up your next Chicken Breast…Try this simple Italian dish! https://www.chicken.ca/recipes/caprese-chicken-breasts

Niacin is important for the digestive system, nervous system and skin health.2,4 Along with the other B-vitamins, deficiencies in niacin can result in damage to the skin, rashes, cracking and altered pigmentation.4

There are other foods that you can combine with chicken to make a super B-Vitamin packed meal. Some examples include:

  • Thiamin – good sources: vegetables, fruit, eggs, whole grains and fortified cereals5
  • Riboflavin – milk, eggs, fortified cereals and rice5
  • Pantothenic Acid – potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, broccoli, fortified cereals, whole grains5
  • Folate – dark leafy greens, spinach, chickpeas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts5

Creating B-Vitamin Packed Meals!

Combining eggs with chicken is a great way to boost your B-vitamins. Try this recipe that checks off all the boxes for being a source of B-vitamins. You may want to add a slice of Whole Grain bread as well!

Chicken and green vegetables – like broccoli or kale are also a perfect combination to bulk up on fibre and B-vitamins.

Chinese Style Steamed Chicken and Broccoli:

Skillet Chicken with Balsamic Greens

It’s no secret, chicken is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that goes beyond just being a high source of protein…Remember chicken will provide you with some of the B-Vitamins you need each day!


  1. Better Health Channel. (2014). Vitamin B. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vitamin-b
  2. Atyeo, K. & Cook, D. (2014). Nutrient Analysis Report: Chicken Farmers of Canada. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from https://www.chicken.ca/assets/Health/Nutrient-Analysis-Report-Chicken-Farmers-of-Canada-ENG.pdf
  3. Eat Right Ontario. (2016). What you need to know about Vitamin B12. October 10, 2016, from http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/What-you-need-to-know-about-vitamin-B12.aspx#.V-1RMDKZOCQ
  4. Atyeo, K. (2016). Supporting your Skin. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from https://www.chicken.ca/health/view/71/supporting-your-skin
  5. NHS. (2015). Vitamins and Minerals – B vitamins and folic acid. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Vitamin-B.aspx

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