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Did you know that around 40% of the US population has Vitamin B12 deficiency? To tackle the alarming rise in this nutritional deficit, it’s important to know exactly what are the best foods with high Vitamin B12 levels.
Here’s another surprising fact.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in vegans/vegetarians than others. We’ll discuss why, later.
Relying solely on supplements isn’t enough.
You need to eat a proper healthy diet with sufficient nutrients to meet the required daily intake of this essential vitamin and prevent yourself from anemia.
In this blog, I’m going to share a list of 27 best foods with high Vitamin B12 + some health tips on how you can get max nutrition from them.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is one of the several types of Vitamin B nutrients. Your body needs this vitamin to aid blood production, improve body functions, and create cell DNA.
Primarily, Vitamin B12 is responsible for producing fresh red blood cells to send to your organs.
It’s important to note that your body doesn’t make Vitamin B12 on its own. Instead, it’s absorbed from a variety of food sources, mostly animal meat. That’s why vegetarians and vegans are at high risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Many women experience low levels of this crucial vitamin at least once in their life. Some common causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency are:
- Anemia: Heavy periods, improper diet, or blood loss after surgery can put you at risk of anemia and lower your Vitamin B12 levels.
- Gut health: If you often face digestive problems, you might develop this deficiency in the long run.
- Aging: As you age, your body undergoes hormonal changes & organ dysfunction. Naturally, your body fails to absorb essential nutrients, including Vitamin B12.
- Insufficient nutritional diet: Do you rely more on junk foods and often ignore healthy eating? You might experience this dangerous deficiency later on.
- Dietary habit: If you’re on a particular diet such as vegetarian or vegan and aren’t taking Vitamin B12 supplements, there’s a chance you might develop Vitamin B12 low levels.
How Much Vitamin B12 Do You Need?
Vitamin B12 requirements vary according to your age, lifestyle, dietary habits, and whether or not you’re pregnant.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the daily recommended Vitamin B12 intake for women is as follows:
|Pregnant women (age 18 years or more)||2.6 mcg|
|Breastfeeding women||2.8 mcg|
The normal range of Vitamin B12 for an adult woman is between 190 and 950 pg/mL. If the number drops below 200 pg/mL, it’s time for you to consult a doctor.
Compared to children and men, women need a whole lot more Vitamin B12. That’s because we lose blood throughout our life such as during menstrual cycles, surgeries, or pregnancy. Naturally, our body has increased demand for this essential nutrient.
What Are The Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Now the main question is, how do you know when you’ve low levels of Vitamin B12?
The most common sign of Vitamin B12 is anemia. This condition reduces your red blood cell count and lowers the hemoglobin. As a result, you may feel too lethargic, have irregular periods, or even experience pregnancy complications.
If you want to learn about the 8 most important scary signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency, check out this post.
Which Foods Have High Vitamin B12 Content?
As I mentioned earlier, the best foods with high Vitamin B12 are animals. Bad news for vegans and vegetarians though — plants don’t contain Vitamins at all!
However, many companies have also started creating fortified foods in which essential nutrients (like Vitamin B12) are added artificially. Nutritionists don’t recommend fortified foods often, as they are heavily processed and aren’t a suitable replacement for natural Vitamin B12 food sources.
Now without further ado, here’s the list of best B12 containing foods:
Dairy Foods Containing Vitamin B12
Milk is one of the most highly recommended dairy products for women. All kinds of milk, whether from cows or plants, are rich in Vitamin B12, carbs, and proteins.
Surprisingly, a study in Nutrition Reviews recommends that it’s best to get your daily dose of Vitamin B12 in small amounts such as by drinking milk, instead of one high dose through meat. This will help ease the absorption.
One glass of milk covers half of your daily intake requirement. A 250 mL serving (1 cup) of milk gives you 1 mcg of Vitamin B12.
There’s some difference in how much nutritional content you get from skimmed milk vs whole fat milk, so be careful about it.
Additionally. keep in mind that drinking cow milk daily has also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women. So the best option is to choose plant-based milk.
Health Tip: Avoid over-boiling milk for more than 15 minutes. It can mess up the nutritional content and affect calcium absorption + destroy the Vitamin B12 compounds.
On the other hand, plant-based milk options are also ideal food sources with Vitamin B12 for vegetarians or vegans, as they can’t eat meat or dairy.
Here are some types of milk extracted from plant sources to naturally boost your Vitamin B12 levels:
- Soy milk
- Coconut milk
- Rice milk
- Almond milk
By drinking one cup of milk per day, you get 1 mcg of daily Vitamin B12 dose.
Yogurt is packed with essential minerals like calcium and Vitamin B12. If you’ve Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, start eating yogurt daily to get the recommended dose per day.
Regular yogurt, Greek yogurt, yogurt made with fruits, and fatless yogurt, all have varying nutritional values. You might want to choose a product that’s most suitable for your diet and body.
The Vitamin B12 content in yogurts is between 0.5 mcg to 0.6 mcg of daily recommended value.
This vitamin-rich food has a plethora of health benefits for women. During pregnancy, yogurt can improve your gut health by keeping harmful bacteria away and preventing acid reflux.
A study by the University of Oxford in England also showed that sufficient Vitamin B12 intake may even prevent brain diseases as you age.
Pretty useful for women to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia!
You can take a bowl of yogurt daily with fruit pieces or use it to make delicious smoothies!
Here’s a mouthwatering immune-boosting smoothie recipe made of yogurt.
Eating 3/4 cup (175 mL) yogurt regularly gives you 0.5 to 0.6 mcg of daily recommended Vitamin B12 dose.
3. Swiss Cheese
Swiss cheese is yet another incredible addition to the list of foods with high Vitamin B12. One large slice of this whole-milk cheese holds about 36% of the daily recommended value.
Since it’s a hard cheese, you can safely eat it during pregnancy and avoid any gut infections like listeria.
You can eat Swiss cheese by layering it on a sandwich, cracker, using it in wraps or rolls, cooking it as cheese & meat loaded potatoes, or even by creating a cheese fondue.
28 grams of Swiss cheese contains 36% of the daily value for Vitamin B12.
4. Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is yet another amazing B12 rich food.
Did you know that one ounce of mozzarella contains approx 27% of the recommended daily value of B12? Pizza/cheese stick lovers, where you at?
You can go crazy and create several dishes with mozzarella to boost your Vitamin B12 levels. The most common is Mac’n’cheese with some cooked meat. Delicious goodness!
28 grams of mozzarella gives you 27% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin B12.
5. Cottage Cheese
Low fat cottage cheese is also a good food source of Vitamin B12. About 1 cup can provide 1 mcg of Vitamin B12 which makes half of the daily recommended value.
Although, if you’re lactose intolerant, stay away from cottage cheese! It also has a high amount of sodium which can raise your blood pressure levels. If you have a history of heart diseases in your family, stick to other healthier Vitamin B12 dairy food sources.
You may use cottage cheese in salads and side dishes with veggies. Here’s a tasty cottage cheese salad recipe you could try!
81 grams of cottage cheese contains 1 mcg of the daily value of Vitamin B12.
6. Ricotta Cheese
The primary essential nutrient in ricotta cheese is protein, which is integral for women’s wellbeing. Additionally, half a cup of fresh ricotta cheese offers 17% or 0.4 mcg of daily Vitamin B12 recommendation.
On the other hand, this cheese is also high in cholesterol and fats. So be mindful of how much you should consume per week or month, per your body type.
I particularly like this spinach pasta recipe with ricotta cheese as a super-healthy alternative to desserts.
Eating 125 grams of ricotta gives you 0.4 mcg of the daily recommended Vitamin B12.
Meat Food Sources with High Vitamin B12
Beef is one of the most popular foods with high Vitamin B12 & proteins, needed for smooth body function.
A grilled steak (almost 190 grams) offers a whopping 467% of the recommended value of daily Vitamin B12 intake. There’s no difference in the vitamin amount and how you cook beef steak.
Despite its nutritional value, beef also contains high amounts of cholesterol and fats. Be sure you take beef according to your doctor’s advice, especially if you have a history of heart diseases.
I would strongly recommend eating small portions of beef for lunch or dinner and always have a healthy veggie side-dish or salad.
A 190-gram grilled beef steak will give you 467% of the daily dose of Vitamin B12.
Chicken is an ideal B12 rich food source for people who prefer healthier meat options.
By eating 1 cup’s worth chicken, you’ll get 0.4 mcg of Vitamin B12 daily dose. Soon-to-be mommies should opt for chicken salads or broiled/grilled chicken steaks to avoid pregnancy heartburn.
Alongside, skinless chicken is also rich in crucial proteins. Your body needs proteins to ensure estrogen production and delay menopause symptoms. This meat has low fat, which again, benefits your heart health.
140 grams of chicken offers 0.4 mcg of the daily value of Vitamin B12.
Lamb meat is remarkably nutritious. Experts often recommend eating lamb liver to people experiencing Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms or signs of anemia, to instantly boost vitamin levels.
Here’s an overview of how much Vitamin B12 is in lamb meat.
|Type of meat||Quantity of meat||Vitamin B12 quantity|
|Lamb liver||100 gm||90.1 mcg|
|Lamb brain||100 gm||11.3 mcg|
|Lamb rib||100 gm||2.1 mcg|
|Ground lamb||100 gm||2.3 mcg|
|Lamb cooked (fat)||100 gm||2.4 mcg|
|Whole lamb leg (fat)||100 gm||2.5 mcg|
Lamb liver contains the highest quantity of Vitamin B12.
Although goat mutton is also a type of red meat like beef, it’s comparatively lower in fat and cholesterol content and has more nutritious value.
According to Anar Allidina, a registered dietician, “Goat meat has more iron, comparable protein and lower levels of saturated fat, calories, and cholesterol compared to beef and chicken. Goat meat is definitely superior nutritionally.”
Research shows for every 100 grams of goat meat, you get 1.2 mcg of the daily recommended dose. This makes mutton a must-have B12 rich food.
You can consume this meat as goat stew, curries, or kebabs. It will give you enough dosage per day or week for an adult woman.
By eating 100 grams of mutton, your body gets 1.2 mcg of required Vitamin B12.
Turkey is an energizing and metabolism-friendly food. I would also say that most of us don’t really know how nutritious it is!
100 grams of whole roasted turkey provides 1 mcg of the daily value of Vitamin B12.
Research shows that turkey has high amounts of necessary proteins, zinc, and vitamins, including Vitamin B6 & B12. This meat reduces the risk of cancer and balances your hormones.
Besides eating roasted turkey for Thanksgiving, you can also try turkey sandwiches with your favorite cheese and veggies as a delicious Vitamin B12 rich lunch.
With every 100 grams of turkey, your body receives 1 mcg of recommended Vitamin B12.
Read More: 10 Scary Signs of Iron Deficiency in Women
Bison meat is also one of the best foods with high Vitamin B12 content. With just 3 ounces of serving, you get 43% of the recommended daily dose of this crucial vitamin.
Besides, buffalo meat is also packed with essential proteins that protect and prevent damage to your nerves. Moreover, it’s an excellent source of compounds used to break down fat.
Consider making a bison meat burger or meatballs to get a nutritional boost and prevent Vitamin B12 deficiency signs.
About 100 grams of buffalo meat will give your body 43% of the daily dose of B12.
Who isn’t a fan of cheeseburgers?! It’s our go-to meal whenever we need a fat-filled treat. You can choose any meat patty from chicken or beef. All types of cheeseburgers have incredibly high Vitamin B12 content.
No wonder it’s always so fulfilling!
A double-patty beef burger contains around 1.7 mcg of Vitamin B12 while a single patty gives about 0.9 mcg. If you also include a slice of swiss or mozzarella cheese, you would get added nutritional value!
Eating a double-patty cheeseburger has enough to suffice your daily Vitamin B12 requirements.
Fish and Seafood for Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Tuna is a remarkable food source with a high quantity of proteins, cholesterol, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.
Eating a fillet of 154 gm serving gives your body 56% of the daily recommendation. That’s more than enough for regular intake!
You can add tuna pasta or salad to your diet for boosting your vitamin levels. Try this amazing tuna salad recipe with a twist of avocado.
154 grams of tuna contain 56% of your daily Vitamin B12 dose.
This little, chewy shellfish is an incredible B12 rich food source. In fact, it has the highest Vitamin B12 value for daily intake than any other food!
By eating 20 small clams, you’ll get a whopping 7000% of Vitamin B12 recommended for an adult person. 100 gms of clams give you 98.9 mcg of the same.
Pretty healthy, right?
Clams carry many essential proteins needed for cell repair and development of the baby during pregnancy. Additionally, it has omega-3 fatty acids that prevent gut problems and even dangerous diseases like cancers.
By eating clams worth 100 grams, you’ll get about 100 mcg of your daily Vitamin B12 dose.
Also known as pilchard, this small oily fish is less popular in the US but more common in European countries, especially in Mediterranean regions.
About 3 ounce serving of sardines offers a 7.6 mcg of B12, which is more than enough for an average adult’s daily requirement.
You can either buy fresh or canned sardines in the market. Eating this fish will strengthen your bones and prevent debilitating diseases like osteoporosis.
Sardines are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, necessary for improved blood pressure and to boost your immune system.
100 grams of cooked sardines give your body 7.6 mcg of Vitamin B12 daily dose.
Trouts are among the most beneficial foods with high Vitamin B12, proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a 100-gram fillet serving gives you 312% of your daily B12 requirement.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), you should eat trouts and similar fish at least 2 times a week. It will help control your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Besides, eating this fish you can also manage your weight.
100 grams of trout serves 312% of the daily recommended Vitamin B12 needs.
Salmon is an amazing source of essential minerals and vitamins needed for women’s wellbeing.
1 cup of smoked salmon offers 4.4 mcg of Vitamin B12, which is twice more than what you need daily.
Salmon is rich in Vitamin B12 and omega 3 fatty acids. If you want to enjoy a healthy pregnancy without any problems in your baby’s development or prevent bone diseases, then you should consume salmon weekly.
Try this easy baked salmon recipe!
About 130 grams of salmon serving will give you 4.4 mcg of the recommended Vitamin B12 per day.
This mollusks’ species contains a high amount of Vitamin B12. By consuming 100 grams serving, you get 8.8 mcg to 16 mcg of this crucial nutrient.
Do keep in mind that the amount of Vitamin B12 slightly varies in Eastern & Pacific oysters & also depends on how you cook them. Raw oysters are potentially harmful as they may have infection-causing bacteria.
Oysters have incredible benefits for women’s health. Eat more of these shellfish to boost omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and minerals in your body.
Eating 100 grams worth of oysters provides 8.8 mcg of the daily recommended value of Vitamin B12.
Loaded with necessary minerals like copper, selenium, phosphorus, B12, and E, lobsters are also a must-have food for Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Research supports that this seafood is a healthier alternative to chicken & beef.
1 lobster gives you 4.04 mcg of Vitamin B12 boost. Eat more of this shellfish if you wish to enhance your kidney function.
1 cooked lobster (that’s about 145 grams) offers 4.04 mcg of the daily needed dose of Vitamin B12.
I’d also recommend eating shrimps as an incredible Vitamin B12 rich food source.
Canned shrimps contain a lower amount of Vitamin B12 but are incredibly rich in protein and magnesium.
Every 100 grams of canned shrimp will offer you about 0.6 mcg of B12. Since you can eat many in one sitting, it’s a particularly good seafood choice.
By eating 100 grams of cooked shrimps, you’ll get 0.6 mcg of the required daily dose of Vitamin B12.
Crabmeat is also a crucial Vitamin B12 food source and contains several other nutrients & minerals. 100 grams of cooked crab offers 250% of the daily recommended value of B12 for adults.
Crabs are popularly known for boosting memory, improving heart health, and benefitting healthy pregnancy.
Consume 100 grams of cooked crabs to get a whopping 250% of your daily Vitamin B12 needs.
Want to improve your red blood cell production naturally? Make herring a part of your weekly or monthly diet.
Herring is a popular fish, packed with much-needed nutrients, including high amounts of vitamins. You get a whopping 218% of Vitamin B12 per 100 grams along with other types.
Besides, you also get a heavy dose of iron, magnesium, and calcium with this fish. According to the FDA, pregnant women should eat herring at least 3 times a week to ensure healthy baby development.
Only 100 grams of cooked herring gives you 218% of the daily recommended Vitamin B12.
This small grey fish has many nutrients to offer. Besides being packed with the common vitamin types, haddocks have low calories making it super healthy for people with heart problems.
Moreover, haddocks are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which your body requires for improving brain power and mental health.
Raw haddock gives you 31% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin B12. Try this unique lemon garlic haddock recipe, loaded with healthy ingredients!
Eating 100 grams of haddock gives you 2.13mcg of the necessary daily value of Vitamin B12.
Other Vitamin B12 Rich Foods
Eggs are a common breakfast meal. Be it hard-boiled or scrambled, it is a nutritious addition to your diet. 1 egg gives you about 0.6 mcg of Vitamin B12.
Not only do eggs have sufficient vitamins, but they’re also a good source of calcium, folate, and includes minimal fats. This food is also known to increase HDL (the good cholesterol) in your body.
Eating eggs every week will strengthen your bones and improve your blood production.
By eating 1 egg for breakfast daily, you get 0.6 mcg of the recommended Vitamin B12 dose.
26. Fortified Cereals
Cereals that contain artificially added nutrients are known as Fortified Cereals. Many popular companies make fortified cereals making them an ideal food source of high Vitamin B12 compounds.
According to Choose Veg, Malt-o-Meal Raisin Bran, Kellogg’s, Total Corn Flakes are all fortified cereals with B12.
Fortified cereals contain artificially added Vitamin B12 but they are not a good replacement for meat & other sources.
27. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is one of the best foods with Vitamin B12 for vegetarians and vegans. Just one tablespoon contains almost double the daily value required by an adult woman. The fortified varieties are comparatively a better choice since they contain appropriate amounts.
Fortified yeast has more Vitamin B12 content than the original.
I hope you found this article helpful in understanding the best foods with high Vitamin B12 levels. This short guide will serve as the foundation for creating a proper diet plan to improve your diet and avoid Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Which of these vitamin-rich foods were new to you?
What foods do you usually take to get sufficient nutrients?
Share with me in the comments below!