Whatever your dietary restrictions, you should not skimp on this essential nutrient. Here are some easy, tasty ways to get more into your diet today.
There are 13 known vitamins that the human body needs for regular growth and maintenance, and more than half of them are forms of vitamin B. Some you may know by other names, such as riboflavin, folic acid, and niacin, but together these form in water. Soluble vitamins play a vital role in energy production by helping the body convert food into fuel. Despite this vital role, your body can’t make them, at least not in the amounts you need to be healthy, so filling up with food (or occasionally, supplements) is essential.
One of those B vitamins in particular has been getting a lot of attention lately: B12. Traditionally, most people in the United States had a minor problem eating enough foods high in vitamin B12, but as the popularity of meat-free, vegetarian, or “plant-based” diets grows, that could be changing, which is one of the reasons why it is so important to include these foods high in vitamin B12 in your diet.
Special diet, special considerations
“Because there aren’t many naturally occurring plant foods that are rich in vitamin B12, people who avoid most animal products, such as vegans and some vegetarians, can become deficient,” says registered dietitian Cordialis Msora-Kasago, spokesperson for the Academy of Sciences. Nutrition and dietetics. And they are not the only ones.
Anyone who has had gastrointestinal surgery or suffers from digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease is also at risk for deficiency and will want to do their best to eat more foods rich in vitamin B12, she says. “The absorption of vitamin B12 is very dependent on the amount of hydrochloric acid in our stomach. As we age, the level of hydrochloric acid decreases, so it becomes more difficult to absorb the nutrient even if we eat a lot of foods rich in vitamin B12.” (These are the 11 signs you’re not getting enough vitamin B12 .)
B12 is a vital vitamin
B12 plays a role in red blood cell production and energy, and helps prevent nerve damage, helps maintain cognitive function and other biological processes, including these vitamin B12 benefits for your entire body, says registered dietitian Sonya Angelone, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While most people in the United States get the nutrients through food — only anywhere from 1.5 to 15 percent of the population is deficient in B12, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements — symptoms such as tingling or numbness, weakness, nerve pain, or anemia should send you to a doctor to have your B12 levels checked, she says.
Like other nutrients, the amount of B12 you need varies throughout your life, Msora-Kasago says. “Most adult men and women need 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12, which is equivalent to eating 3 ounces of canned tuna. During pregnancy and lactation, women’s vitamin B12 needs increase to 2.6 to 2, respectively. .8 mcg.”
It’s always better to get vitamins from whole foods high in vitamin B12 than pills, so make sure to include some of the following foods high in vitamin B12 (and we’ll tell you how high) in your record normal menu changes.
Salmon, 4.8 mcg
This is definitely the king fish. In addition to all those omega-3 fatty acids, a single three-ounce serving of salmon has nearly double the amount of B12 adults need per day. The same amount of tuna has 2.5 mcg, and you should be wary of consuming it too often due to its high mercury content. Rainbow trout or wild trout is another good choice, with 5.4 mcg per three ounces.
Liver, 70 mcg
This is not a favorite in America, but it is one of the best sources of vitamin B12, Msora-Kasago. Beef has the most B12 at 60 mcg per three-ounce serving, while chicken liver has about 14 mcg for the same amount. Can organs not be swallowed? Three ounces of top sirloin steak has 1.4 mcg and the same amount of roasted chicken breast has 0.3 mcg.
Mussels, 84 mcg
Seafood in general is quite high in B12, but these mollusks are definitely the best bang for the buck when it comes to foods high in vitamin B12. They’re also high in lean protein and iron, which can help find anemia, a health problem that can exacerbate B12 deficiencies. And they tend to have fewer toxins like mercury and other pollutants. Crabs are another good source, as is shellfish, with 2.8 mcg per three-ounce serving.
Dairy, about 1 mcg
Yup, good old moo juice is a good source of B12 vitamins, providing 18 percent of your RDI of B12 per cup. Other dairy sources include yogurt and Swiss cheese, all of which come in about the same amount. Oh, and if you’re feeling fat, go for it — it’s one of the dairy myths put to rest.
Caviar, 5.67 mcg
This luxury food is often left out of the healthy seafood list, but it shouldn’t. In addition to being one of the best natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, it’s also a food rich in vitamin B12, with just one ounce nearly doubling your RDI. In comparison, a standard chicken egg has 0.6 mcg. Do you really want to get more omega-3? Check out these surprising resources.
Cereals, about 6 mcg
Most grains are fortified with several B vitamins. The practice began in the 1940s when a disease caused by a B3 deficiency caused the government to fortify flour with niacin. Now you will find that most packaged foods, especially grains, have extra B vitamins. For example, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes has 30 percent of your RDI of B12. This can be a good choice for people trying to cut back on meat in their diet without skimping on foods high in vitamin B12. Top it with some fortified almond, soy, oat, or rice milk for a 1 mcg bonus, Angelone says. Be aware of niacin flushing and what to do about it.
Nutritional yeast, 2.4 mcg
Another great vegan option, this yellowish powder is technically a fungus, like brewer’s yeast, but it’s dairy, gluten, and soy free and packed with nutrients, including B12. A teaspoon of nutritional yeast sprinkled on avocado toast gives you a B12 boost and the taste is mild. It also has other B vitamins, including B6, which Angelone says work together for something called homocysteine metabolism. “Excess homocysteine can contribute to coronary heart disease and stroke,” she says.
Dairy substitutes, about 1 mcg
Most milk alternatives, whether almond, coconut, soy or oats, are fortified with B12. A single glass of Silk’s Oat Yeah has 100 percent of your RDI. When you consider how many ways you use milk or a milk alternative – in your coffee, cereal, oatmeal, omelette (and that’s just breakfast!) it adds up quickly. Next, check out these silent signs you’re not getting enough vitamin B12.