Vitamin B12 is one of the less talked about vitamins. Unlike vitamin C and other vitamins, we often neglect the significance and need for vitamin B12. In this article, we discuss why you need to add vitamin B12 to your diet. We also list foods that are rich in vitamin B12 and can improve your consumption.
Why do we need Vitamin B12?
Our bodies rely on our food to stay alive. Being a complex mechanism, there are numerous nutrients our bodies needs and various ways in which these nutrients influence our health. Vitamin B12 improves and facilitates many functions in our bodies.
Here's why you must add sufficient vitamin B12 to your diet:
1. Protect eye health
Eating sufficient vitamin B12 lowers your risk of developing macular degeneration. This eye condition can cause blindness. Macular degeneration is common in older adults. However, not consuming enough vitamin B12 might increase your risks.
2. Prevent and treat depression
Serotonin is one of the happy hormones. Meaning, that it promotes better moods and improves mental health. Vitamin B12 plays an integral role in the production of serotonin. Studies show that people with vitamin B12 are at almost double the risk of developing depression.
3. Improve brain health
Vitamin B12 not only improves but is responsible for facilitating various functions in the brain and the nervous system. Lack of enough vitamin B12 might cause brain atrophy. Brain atrophy means a loss of neurons. This loss of neurons in the brain may also result in dementia and memory loss.
Besides these functions, vitamin B12 also facilitates energy production, aids our ability to think, and maintains the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Hence, vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient and necessary for survival.
What foods provide Vitamin B12?
Here are 7 foods that are rich in vitamin B12 and can significantly improve your intake:
1. Organ meats
Organ meats especially livers and kidneys are often the most abundant in various nutrients including vitamin B12. These foods may be ideal if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency or any other nutrient deficiency.
2. Dairy products
Dairy products are a great source of vitamin B12 for vegetarians. You can also incorporate them into your daily routine as they are extremely versatile and of many varieties. Try consuming milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. daily.
Eggs are another more commonly consumed food that is rich in Vitamin B12. Similar to other foods, eggs are also abundant in various other foods that are beneficial to our bodies.
Fish is easily available seafood that is rich in vitamin B12 and many other nutrients. In fact, fish like tuna and salmon may also provide other nutrients such as protein, selenium, phosphorous, vitamin B3, vitamin A, etc.
5. Fortified cereal
Fortified cereals are a great source of vitamin B12 and many other nutrients for vegans and vegetarians. Fortification refers to adding nutrients to food that does not naturally have them. It may be beneficial but you are always encouraged to eat foods that are naturally rich in nutrients.
In conclusion, it is important for you to ensure you consume all the nutrients you require. Having a well-balanced diet can help you achieve your daily nutrient requirements. Although the most amount of vitamin B12 is often sourced from meats, vegans and vegetarians can still manage to consume the right amounts of B12.
If you think you might have a B12 deficiency, it is ideal to see a doctor. If yes, your doctor might prescribe supplements that are the best way to maintain the right intake. Make sure to only consume vitamin B12 supplements if prescribed as they can clash with other medications.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.