Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin, is amongst the most complex and largest vitamins known to humans. It is essential for an active metabolism and proper functioning of the brain. Deficiency of the vitamin can lead to various health complications such as fatigue, depression, megaloblastic anaemia, brain damage, nerve damage, etc.
What makes Vitamin B12 different from other vitamins is the fact that it can only be produced by bacteria. Animal products are the most popular natural sources of the vitamin along with a few vegetarian options. There are loads of Vitamin B12 supplements available in the market to help people facing a deficiency but they should be consumed only after medical advice.
A lot of foods that are part of one’s daily diet naturally contain this nutritious vitamin. However, it is ideal to avoid processed or refined foods and concentrate more on natural and fresh foods.
Best natural sources of Vitamin B12
Seafood is one of the richest sources of Vitamin B12 and is a good addition to your diet if you are a non-vegetarian. Shellfish such as clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops offer an excellent source of the vital nutrients.
Dairy products like low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, or whole milk offer wholesome nutrition and have good quantities of Vitamin B12 in them. Try to avoid the high-fat dairy products as they may lead to obesity or other health problems.
Fish such as mackerel is not only delicious to taste, but is packed with Vitamin B12 too. There are other varieties of fish such as tuna, trout, and salmon that contain ample amounts of it as well.
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If you do eat beef, the liver is amongst the richest sources of Vitamin B12. It also contains good amounts of iron making it a very healthy option. That said, one should keep an eye out for the saturated fats present in the dish. Additionally, chicken liver pate and liverwurst spread are also good sources of this vitamin.
If you love crabs and tend to eat them every once in a while, then you are already consuming a good amount of the nutrient. Have them during lunch or dinner, as per your preference. There are other crustaceans rich in vitamin B12 such as Dungeness crab, blue crab, crayfish, and lobster.
There are plenty of fortified cereals available in the supermarket with added Vitamin B12 to them. Make sure that the variant you choose does not contain high amounts of sugar and is not highly refined. It is a better option for kids though, who generally do not enjoy other sources of the vitamin as much.
Fortified foods like silken tofu offer an excellent source of Vitamin B12 for vegetarians. It is one of a select few vegetarian options which is rich in this rare nutrient. Make sure it is a part of your daily diet to get your share of the vitamin. Alternatively, you can have a cup of fortified soy milk as well.
Chicken eggs are packed with nutrients and in addition to offering a hearty meal, they offer you significant amounts of Vitamin B12 and proteins as well.
Adding generous quantities of red meat to your diet ensures you consume good amounts of the vitamin. Other red meats such as lamb shank and roasted buffalo are also rich in Vitamin B12.
Swiss cheese consists of high quantities of Vitamin B12 as compared to other types of cheese. Apart from that, you can also opt for Mozzarella, cottage and feta cheese.
While you can use supplements for the required quantities of Vitamin B12, natural foods are always recommended. Just plan your meals in advance and make sure you get adequate quantities of the nutrient. Get in touch with a nutritionist to understand what Vitamin B12 rich foods you need to include in your diet.