This article originally appeared Clean eating
Did you know that vitamin B12 is often called the “energy vitamin”? Not only is vitamin B12 pivotal in maintaining healthy blood and nerve cells, but it’s also involved in making DNA — which means it’s literally part of the stuff that every cell of the body is made of. So, when you hear health professionals say vitamin b12 is a big deal, we mean it!
Now, there may be a “magic pill” for what seems to be everything these days, including vitamin B12, but buyer beware. Vitamin B12 infusions offered by high-end malls and spas offer a “natural” energy boost for a pretty penny. But are they really necessary? Most likely not.
I’ll admit, I’m a little biased because I have food first, as supplement as safety net philosophy. But I still can’t understand paying the $90 I saw per infusion when research shows there are key foods you can easily eat more of to naturally boost your B12 levels.
Skip the expensive injections and instead try adjusting your diet. Consider adding these five foods to your meals to naturally increase your vitamin B12 intake. And of course, always consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your specific needs. Some lifestyles, such as vegetarians and vegans, require B12 supplementation to ensure you meet your needs.
5 foods rich in vitamin B12
All of the following foods contain 20% or more of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B12. With these items in your daily rotation, you can boost your energy and ensure that you are eating a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet.
1. Nutritional yeast
Did you know that vitamin B12 is commonly found in animal products and proteins, yet one of the richest sources is plant-based? I’m not joking! Nutritional yeast is a vitamin b12 powerhouse with 1/4 cup of anywhere 8.3 to 24 micrograms per serving, or about 346 to 1,000% of the daily value. While the amount varies from brand to brand, it’s undoubtedly worth adding a little nutritional yeast to pastas, popcorn, and sauces to help boost your B12 intakes, naturally.
If you’re new to using nutritional yeast, it has a crisp texture and blends well in dishes where you want to impart a cheese-like flavor, all while keeping your recipes dairy-free. Try it on this one Zucchini lasagna with cashew nuts and pesto cheese.
There is more than just Omega 3 in delicious and nutritious seafood. Serves 3 ounces of cooked salmon 2.6 mcg of vitamin B12, or about 108% of the daily value! Plus, it also contains vitamin D, which is an important nutrient needed to keep your bones healthy.
While salmon comes in a variety of convenient options, from smoked and chilled to cooked and canned, there are a plethora of ways to add more salmon to your busy routine. On nights when you have more time, consider adding this heart-healthy treat Baked salmon in the Mediterranean in your meal plan.
3. Lean beef
Along with a host of other important nutrients that support healthy living and aging, a 3-ounce portion of 85% lean ground beef, 15% skillet browned fat contains 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12, or about 100% of the daily value. For individuals who struggle to get enough vitamin B12, choline, iron, zinc, and protein in their diets, lean beef is an excellent addition that provides plenty of bang for your buck. It’s easy to prepare and pairs well with other nutrient-dense foods, like fruits and vegetables, that most Americans need to eat more of.
If you’re tight on time but want to take advantage of all the nutrients in this powerhouse, try making these Sirloin rolls tonight!
4. Cow’s milk
Unless you have a food allergy or lifestyle preference, there is no reason to eliminate cow’s milk from your diet. It contains a high level of Vitamin B12 1.3 mcg per 1 cup, or about 54% of the daily value. Dairy milk plays an important role in growth and development by supporting bone health, as well as regulating blood pressure.
If milk isn’t your jam, you can still reap the benefits of dairy by including yogurt in your diet, too! A 6-ounce package of yogurt contains 1 microgram of vitamin B12 as well, or about 43% of the daily value.
Obviously, you can enjoy dairy any way you like, but for a quick on-the-go option, try mixing the dairy of your choice in this simple way. Blueberry juice.
5. Fortified breakfast cereals
Quite possibly my favorite vitamin B12 rich food to recommend to families regardless of economic situation is fortified breakfast cereal. It’s convenient, available on many state food assistance programs, and just as delicious. A serving (about 1-1 1/4 cups) of most standard fortified breakfast cereals provides about 25% of the daily value for vitamin B12, or about 0.6 µg. Pair your cereal with cow’s milk for a double dose of vitamin B12!
While there are a variety of fortified breakfast cereals to choose from, I recommend choosing two. First, choose one with minimal added sugar, such as whole grain oats. Next, choose a second that your family likes, usually with more sugar added. Combine 70/30 Whole Grain Oats with our “Fun” cereal to create a nutrient-dense bowl of goodness to start your day!
Whether you’re hoping to boost your intake of B12 for more energy or are running low on other key vitamins, keep reading to learn how to get it into your overall diet:
Featured recipe: Pappardelle with spiced meat sauce
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