Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin or cyanocobalamin, is an essential nutrient involved in the functioning of the body. It plays a vital role in the metabolism of protein, fats and carbohydrates. Vitamin B12 is required by the body to maintain healthy nerves and red blood cells. It is also concerned with the making of the DNA found in all the cells.
Vitamin B12 is found neither in plant nor in animals. It is manufactured by the bacteria and is synthesized by the animals by eating vitamin B12 contaminated foods. Vitamin B12 can be consumed in large doses as the excess is excreted by the body or is stored in the liver for future supply. The most common sources of vitamin B12 are meat, seafood and dairy products. Vegetarians can get their daily dose by eating dairy, eggs and fortified foods.
Recommended Daily Allowance:
Vitamin B12 Deficiency:
A deficiency in vitamin B12 can affect the major aspects of the life. It can lead to anemia, pale skin, weight loss, stomach disorder and weakness. A long-term deficiency can cause damage to the brain and nervous system.
Symptoms of the Deficiency include:
- Poor memory
- Troubled sleep
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Soreness of mouth and tongue
Therefore, you need to include foods rich in vitamin B12 to keep the body strong and healthy.
Top 15 Vitamin B12 Rich Foods:
Listed below are the important food sources you need to include in your diet to acquire the essential Vitamin B12:
Fish and sea foods can be one of the healthiest additions to your diet. They are an excellent sources of many nutrients, including vitamin B12. Fishes rich in vitamin B12 are salmon, mackerel, sardine, herring and tuna. 100 grams of salmon provide over 300% of the daily-recommended amount of this essential nutrient. One serving of mackerel provides 16.72 micrograms of vitamin B12. This equals to 279% of the daily value of vitamin B12. One can of sardines contains 8.22 micrograms of vitamin B12. Like other fishes, sardine is also high in heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D and calcium. Tuna fish is also a great source of healthy nutrients. A 100 grams serving provides 2.2 micrograms of vitamin B12 and 198 calories.
Cheese is used widely in the preparation of pasta, salads, soups and pizza. It adds a delightful flavor and richness to the dishes. Swizz, mozzarella, Parmesan and feta cheese are some of the best sources of vitamin B12. One cup of crumbled feta cheese contains 2.54 micrograms, i.e. 42% of the daily value. A slice of Swizz cheese provides 0.94 micrograms of vitamin B12, around 15% of the daily-recommended value. Swizz cheese is a great source of vitamin A and Vitamin D as well. Adding a small amount of mozzarella cheese in your diet can help you get nutrients like protein, iron, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin A, D, E, and B12. An ounce of mozzarella cheese contributes 0.65 micrograms of vitamin B12 to the body. Gjetost cheese is made from goat milk. It is an excellent source of vitamin B12 and provides 92% of the daily value. Parmesan cheese, on the other hand, provides 2% of the daily-recommended value. So, add a slice of cheese to your sandwich or pasta to boost the nutrient levels in your body.
A three-ounce serving of ham provides the body with a half microgram of vitamin B12, which amounts to 9% of the daily-recommended value for an adult. Ham is quite high in calories and must be enjoyed in moderation for a balanced diet.
Clams, like oily fishes, are an excellent source of vitamin B12. It is filled with chromium, a compound required for regulating cholesterol. It is also a good source of iron, B complex vitamins and vitamin D. A three-ounce serving of clams provides 84.6 micrograms of vitamin B12 and 126 calories.
Poached, scrambled, boiled or fried, eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods rich in vitamin B12. They contain several vitamins and minerals like folate, riboflavin, protein, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A. Eggs are naturally high in vitamin B12. The egg yolk particularly, contains the highest concentration of vitamin B12. One large egg provides 0.56 micrograms of vitamin B12. Not just chicken, duck, quail, goose and fish eggs can also help you meet your daily vitamin B12 value. One goose egg provides 122% of the daily value of vitamin B12, while duck egg provides 63% of the daily recommended amount.
Fish eggs, better known as caviar can provide 10 times more vitamin B12 than chicken eggs. This food is rich in vitamin A, C, E and B12. It is also packed with minerals like zinc, iron, calcium and phosphorus. One tablespoon of caviar provides 3.2 micrograms of vitamin B12 and 40 calories.
Oyster is another excellent source of vitamin B12. A 3-ounce serving of oyster provides nearly 30 micrograms of vitamin B12. This equals to a whopping 500% of the daily-recommended value of vitamin B12. Oyster is also an excellent source of vitamin A, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin C and D. Wild oysters have a high amount of contaminants and should be harvested using destructive methods.
Crab is a popular sea food, enjoyed mainly on special occasions. This seafood is a nutritional powerhouse. It is a great source of zinc, copper, potassium and selenium. It is one of the best foods rich in vitamin D and B12. Three ounces of crab provide 9.8 ug of vitamin B12 and 97 calories.
Cereals are a healthy way to start the day. Fortified cereals have around 6 micrograms of vitamin B12 per cup. Do not forget to check the label before purchasing the cereals as the nutritional value varies according to the brand. Choose whole grain cereals and avoid adding extra sugar to it.
Poultry like turkey and chicken are healthier alternatives to red meat. Both chicken and turkey are good sources of several essential vitamins and minerals and are free from fat and calories. A 100 grams serving of chicken provides 7 % of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin B12. Poultry is a good source of protein, selenium and vitamin B3.
The nutritive value of milk is not just limited to calcium and Vitamin D. It is an amazing source of vitamin B12 as well. One cup of whole milk contains more than one microgram of vitamin B12, amounting to 18% of the daily-recommended value. Eat fortified cereals with milk to get your proper dosage of vitamin B12. Not just whole milk, yogurt can also provide you with vitamin B12. A quarter cup of yogurt provides 1.49 micrograms of vitamin B12.
Soymilk is a healthier alternative to whole milk. Even people intolerant to lactose can enjoy it. Fortified soymilk can help you meet 19% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin B12, while being low in calories. It is also high in vitamins A and D.
Octopus is usually enjoyed in soups, stews, gumbos and salads. This tasty food is an excellent source of several minerals and vitamins. Three ounces of octopus provide 32 micrograms of vitamin B12, over 500% of the daily-recommended value.
12. Yeast Extract Spread:
Yeast extract spread is a good source of protein and vitamin B12 for the vegetarians and vegans. 1 teaspoon of the spread provides 1% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin B12. It has a strong, salty flavor, so use the spread sparingly. Enjoy the spread on toast, sandwiches and crackers to up the vitamin B12 intake. You can add 2 teaspoon of yeast extract to your breakfast cereals or smoothies to get your daily vitamin B12 intake. While purchasing nutritional yeast, make sure that it has been stored properly, as exposure to light can negate its benefits.
13. Fortified Tofu:
Fortified tofu is a rich way to supplement your diet with several essential nutrients. It is a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. A quarter serving of fortified tofu provides 1.86 grams of vitamin B12. This equals to 31% of the daily-recommended value.
14. Whey Powder:
Whey powder is no longer just a supplement for the bodybuilders. It is entering the mainstream as more and more people are adopting Veganism. Whey powder is a great addition to the breakfast smoothies and cereals. 100 grams of serving provide 2.5 ug of vitamin B12, almost 42% of the daily value. You can also add whey powder in processed cheese and baked goods.
Beef is one of the best sources of vitamin B12. The amount of nutrients in beef depends upon how it is cut. For a rich supply of vitamin B12, choose lean meat, which contains 103% of the daily-recommended value. Beef is also a good source of protein, phosphorus, zinc and iron.
A diet deficient in vitamin B12 can lead to lethal symptoms as you read above. So, it is always good to include foods that are rich in vitamin B12 and all essential nutrients to stay strong and healthy. Feel free to share your feedback with us if any.