Passion for Pork

Power Up with Pork: Vitamin B6

Admin - Monday, June 29, 2015

In this series, our resident dietitian Vincci Tsui highlights the key nutrients found in pork and their benefits! Past posts include iron, zinc, thiamine and protein.

Balsamic Glazed Pork with Lentils

Did you know that pork is one of the best sources of vitamin B6 in our diet? A 3-ounce (90 gram) pork loin has about 0.7 mg of vitamin B6 – more than half of our day’s needs!

What does vitamin B6 do in our bodies?

Like all B vitamins, vitamin B6 plays a role in processing the carbohydrates, fats and proteins we eat and converting them to energy. Vitamin B6 also helps our body make some neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which can affect our mood, and melatonin, which can affect our sleep. Low vitamin B6 intake is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

How much vitamin B6 do I need?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults 19-50 years of age is 1.3 mg. After age 50, the needs increase to 1.5 mg and 1.7 mg, respectively, as our bodies become less effective at absorbing the vitamin while breaking down stores in our bodies.

Which foods are high in vitamin B6?

The richest sources of vitamin B6 in our diet include meat, particularly liver, game meat, pork and fish, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. My recipe for Balsamic Glazed Pork with Lentils has got your vitamin B6 needs covered, clocking in at 1.4 mg.

Balsamic Glazed Pork with Lentils

What you’ll need

  • 2½ cups (625 mL) water
  • 1 cup (250 mL) green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 570 g (1¼ lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt, plus more, to taste
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, such as Gala, Fuji or Ambrosia, chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice


Preheat oven to 400˚F.

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil over high heat. Add lentils. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until most water has been absorbed and lentils are soft. If the lentils are still a bit chewy, add a bit of water and continue to simmer. Drain and rinse under cool water to help cool the lentils. (Or, you can skip this step and drain and rinse a 540 mL can of lentils instead.)

While the lentils are cooking, whisk together brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Set aside. In a large, oven-safe skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Season pork with 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place the pork in the preheated oven and roast, basting with balsamic glaze twice during the last 5 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the tenderloin reads 155˚F (68˚C), about 10-12 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

In a medium bowl, toss cooled, cooked lentils with celery, apples, parsley, lemon juice and remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place an equal amount of lentil salad on each plate, top with sliced pork and any pan drippings.

Yield: 4 servings


Nutrition information (per serving)

475 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated, 0 g trans), 92 mg cholesterol, 44 g carbohydrate (16 g fibre, 14 g sugar), 42 g protein, 240 mg sodium, 1.4 mg vitamin B6.