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Which are the best foods with high Vitamin B12 and why are they necessary for you?
More than 40% of the US population has low Vitamin B12. Surprisingly, a majority of them are vegans and vegetarians.
Vitamin B12 is a crucial component for generating fresh blood and energizing your body.
So knowing about the ideal Vitamin B12 food sources can prevent you from serious complications.
But relying only on supplements for nutritional deficits isn’t wise.
You need a proper healthy diet plan with sufficient foods containing Vitamin B12 to meet your body’s requirements.
To get you started, here’s a list of 27 amazing foods rich in Vitamin B12 you should consume daily.
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What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a type of Vitamin B nutrient. You need it to synthesize blood, improve body functions, and repair cellular DNA.
Primarily, B12 is responsible for producing fresh red blood cells to send to your organs.
Fun fact: 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 this deficiency is higher in vegetarians and vegans.
Many women experience the low levels at least once in their life. A few causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency are:
- Anemia: Heavy periods, improper diet, or blood loss after surgery can put you at risk of anemia.
- Gut health: If you often face digestive problems, you might develop its deficiency in the long run.
- Aging: As you age, your body undergoes hormonal imbalance & 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 be at risk.
- Dietary habit: If you’re on a particular diet such as vegetarian or vegan and aren’t taking supplements, there’s a chance your Vitamin B12 levels will plummet.
How Much Vitamin B12 Do You Need?
Exactly how much Vitamin B12 your body needs depends on your age, lifestyle, dietary habits, and pregnancy status.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the daily recommended Vitamin B12 values for women are:
|Pregnant women (>18 years)||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.
Interestingly, women need a more Vitamin B12 than children and men.
That’s because we lose blood throughout our life – such as during menstrual cycles, surgeries, or pregnancy. So our body has increased demand for this essential nutrient.
Read More: 7 Scary Signs of Gestational Diabetes
What Are The Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Before you start eating foods with high Vitamin B12, you need to first recognize the symptoms of low B12.
The biggest sign of Vitamin B12 deficiency is anemia. This condition reduces red blood cell count and lowers hemoglobin. Consequently, you may feel lethargic, get irregular periods, or even have pregnancy complications.
Read More: 8 Alarming Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Which Foods Have High Vitamin B12 Content?
The best food sources for Vitamin B12 are animals.
Additional bad news for vegans and vegetarians — plants don’t contain Vitamins at all!
However, many companies create fortified foods containing Vitamin B12 artificially.
While this is certainly good for plant-based diet eaters, on the downside, they are heavily processed. Thus, nutritionists don’t often recommend fortified items as a replacement for naturally occurring Vitamin B12 rich foods.
Even then, we’ll share a few good foods with high Vitamin B12 in this list for vegans and vegetarians.
Dairy Foods Containing Vitamin B12
Let’s start with some dairy products with B12.
Milk is one of the most highly recommended foods with high Vitamin B12 for women. Every kind of milk – sourced from animals or plants – contains ample B12, carbs, and proteins.
A study in Nutrition Reviews suggests getting your daily dose of Vitamin B12 in batches rather than in one go. For example, you could drink a glass of milk every day instead of eating a giant steak.
Reason? It helps 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.
Pro Tip: Avoid over-boiling milk for more than 15 minutes. It can mess up the nutritional content, affect calcium absorption, and destroy the Vitamin B12 compounds.
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.
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
Milk is among the best foods containing Vitamin B12. Drinking one cup of milk per day gives 1 mcg of daily B12 dose.
Besides being among the top foods with high Vitamin B12, yogurt is packed with calcium and probiotics.
Regular, Greek, fruity, and fatless yogurt all have varying nutritional values. You might want to choose a product that’s most suitable for your diet and body.
This Vitamin B12 rich food source has a plethora of health benefits for women.
During pregnancy, yogurt can improve your gut health by keeping harmful bacteria away. The probiotics in this dairy product help with acid reflux prevention.
A study by the University of Oxford in England also showed its effect on preventing brain diseases as you age.
Since Alzheimer’s and dementia are common neurological issues in women, it’s a great way to curb your risk.
The Vitamin B12 content in yogurt is between 0.5 mcg to 0.6 mcg of daily recommended value.
You can take a bowl of yogurt daily with fruit pieces or use it to make delicious smoothies. It’s a perfect healthy addition to any midnight craving!
In short, yogurt is an essential summer food containing Vitamin B12. Eating 3/4 cup (175 mL) regularly gives you 0.5 to 0.6 mcg of daily recommended value.
3. Swiss Cheese
Swiss cheese is among the underrated foods with high Vitamin B12. One large slice of 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, making it one of the best foods sources for Vitamin B12.
Low on vitamin B12? Add more Swiss, ricotta, mozzarella, and cottage cheese to your diet! 🍕
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? Pizza/cheese stick lovers, where you at?
You can go crazy and create several dishes with mozzarella – particularly with salads and pizzas!
What makes it worth adding to your list of foods with high Vitamin B12? Only 28 grams of mozzarella gives you a superb 27% of the daily value!
Imagine getting this dose weekly – you can easily beat Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms in no time.
5. Cottage Cheese
Low fat cottage cheese is also one of the most amazing foods with high Vitamin B12. 1 cup provides 1 mcg of B12 which makes half of the daily requirement.
If you’re lactose intolerant, stay away from cottage cheese! It also has a liberal amount of sodium, raising the risk of high blood pressure levels in people with a history of heart diseases.
81 grams of cottage cheese contains 1 mcg of B12.
6. Ricotta Cheese
What’s special about ricotta cheese?
The primary nutrient in ricotta is protein which is integral for women’s wellbeing.
Besides, half a cup of fresh ricotta cheese offers 17% or 0.4 mcg of daily recommended value, making it one of the most popular healthy foods with high Vitamin B12.
Pro Tip: Ricotta is loaded with cholesterol and fats so be mindful of how much you’re consuming weekly.
Eating 125 grams of ricotta gives you 0.4 mcg of the daily recommended Vitamin B12.
Meat Food Sources with High Vitamin B12
Let’s go over some crucial Vitamin B12 rich meats.
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 B12 intake. You can cook it any way you like and it won’t affect the nutrient level.
Despite its undeniable nutritional value, beef is rich in cholesterol and fats. Be sure you consume it according to your doctor’s advice.
I would strongly recommend eating small portions of beef for lunch or dinner and always have a healthy veggie side dish or salad.
Being an incredible food source rich in B12, a 190-gram grilled beef steak offers a whopping 467% of the daily dose!
Chicken is also among the top safe foods with high Vitamin B12 levels.
If you prefer healthier meat options, this is for you. By eating 1 cup’s worth of 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.
Besides being a rich food with B12, skinless chicken is packed with proteins. These crucial nutrients ensure sufficient estrogen production and delay perimenopause symptoms.
Additionally, chicken has low fat, making it a good Vitamin B12 food source for improved heart health.
140 grams of chicken offers 0.4 mcg of the daily value of Vitamin B12.
Lamb meat is remarkably nutritious. Experts recommend lamb liver to people with B12 deficiency or anemia, to combat the symptoms.
Here’s an overview of how much Vitamin B12 is present 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|
Despite its benefits, lamb liver puts you at risk of cholesterol and heart diseases because of the rich fats. So be careful about the intake and consult with your doctor if you’re doubtful.
Lamb’s liver is one of the best foods with high Vitamin B12, offering a whopping 3,571% of the daily recommended value with every 3.5-ounce serving.
Eat lamb liver – it carries HIGH amount of vitamin B12.
Although goat mutton is red meat too, it’s comparatively lower in fat and cholesterol than beef 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 one of the best must-have foods with high Vitamin B12.
Besides being a good food source of Vitamin B12, it contains other vitamins, iron, calcium, and proteins.
You can consume it in the form of stew, curry, or even kebabs during grilling season!
Goat meat offers 1.2 mcg of daily recommended value for every 100 grams, making it a crucial food containing Vitamin B12.
Did you know this special Thanksgiving delicacy is one of the best foods with high Vitamin B12?
Turkey carries energizing and metabolism-friendly compounds. Research shows it has necessary proteins, zinc, and vitamins, including Vitamin B6. Plus, turkey meat reduces the risk of cancer and is great for balancing hormones.
100 grams of this rich B12 food source gives you 1 mcg of the daily recommended dose.
Besides eating roasted turkey for Thanksgiving, you can try turkey sandwiches with your favorite cheese and veggies as a delicious lunch treat containing Vitamin B12.
With every 100 grams of turkey, your body receives 1 mcg of recommended B12.
Read More: 10 Worst Foods for Hormone Balance
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 nutrient.
Besides being a rich food source for B12, buffalo meat is packed with essential proteins, protecting your nerves from damage. It also helps break down fat easily.
Consider making a bison meat burger or meatballs to get a nutritional boost and prevent deficiency signs.
About 100 grams of buffalo meat will give your body 43% of the daily dose.
Who isn’t a fan of cheeseburgers?! It’s our go-to meal whenever we need a juicy cheesy treat!
Luckily, all types of cheeseburgers amazing foods with high Vitamin B12.
No matter you choose a chicken patty or beef, burgers can help meet the deficiency.
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.
In short, burgers are among the most underrated Vitamin B12 food sources. Eating a double-patty cheeseburger can suffice your daily B12 requirements.
Fish and Seafood for Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Here are some crazy good rich seafoods with Vitamin B12.
Tuna is one of the most remarkable foods with Vitamin B12, B6, proteins, and essential fats.
Eating a 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.
154 grams of tuna contain 56% of your daily Vitamin B12 dose.
This little, chewy shellfish is an incredible food source rich in Vitamin B12.
In fact, clams carry the highest amount of B12 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 have many essential proteins needed for cell repair and the development of the baby during pregnancy. Additionally, it has omega-3 fatty acids that prevent gut problems and even dangerous diseases like cancers.
No doubt clams are must-have foods with high Vitamin B12. By eating clams worth 100 grams, you’ll get about 100 mcg of your daily 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. You can either buy fresh or canned sardines in the market.
About 3 ounce serving of sardines offers a 7.6 mcg of B12, which is sufficient for an average adult’s daily requirement.
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.
Needless to say, sardines are essential addition to this list of Vitamin B12 rich foods. Only 100 grams of cooked sardines can fulfil a superb 7.6 mcg of daily requirement!
Trouts are among the most beneficial foods with high Vitamin B12, proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a 100-gram fillet serving offers a whopping 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 can help you reduce weight.
100 grams of trout serves 312% of the daily recommended Vitamin B12 needs.
Read More: 10 Super Easy Exercises for Weight Loss
Salmon is an amazing source of essential minerals and is among the top-rated foods containing Vitamin B12.
1 cup of smoked salmon offers 4.4 mcg of B12, which is twice more than what you need daily.
Salmon is also packed with 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 eat salmon once a week.
About 130 grams of salmon serving will give you 4.4 mcg, making it one of the most amazing foods with high Vitamin B12.
This mollusk is also an ideal food containing 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 infectious bacteria.
Oysters offer multiple benefits for women’s health. Eat more of these shellfish to boost omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and minerals in your body.
Oysters are among the best foods with high Vitamin B12. Eating just 100 grams worth of oysters provides 8.8 mcg of the daily recommended value.
Loaded with necessary minerals like copper, selenium, and phosphorus, lobsters are also a must-have food source rich in Vitamin B12.
Research supports that this seafood is a healthier alternative to chicken & beef.
1 lobster gives you 4.04 mcg of 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. They are one of the most amazing rich foods with high Vitamin B12.
Canned shrimps contain lower 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.
Read More: List of 100 Best Iron-rich Foods
Crabmeat is also a crucial Vitamin B12 food source and contains several other nutrients & minerals.
Crabs are popularly known for boosting memory, improving heart health, and benefitting healthy pregnancy.
But did you know it’s among the best foods with high Vitamin B12?
100 grams of cooked crab offers 250% of the daily recommended value of B12 for adults, making them must-have seafood for women.
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 containing Vitamin B12 and several other nutrients.
You get a whopping 218% of Vitamin B12 per 100 grams. Additionally, it brings a heavy dose of iron, magnesium, and calcium.
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 value, making it a crucial food source rich in B12.
This small grey fish has much to offer. Besides being packed with the common vitamin types, haddocks have low calories making them super healthy for people with heart problems.
Raw haddock gives you 31% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin B12. This fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, improves brain power and promotes better mental health.
Just 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.
Also, eggs are some of the best foods with high Vitamin B12! 1 egg every morning can give you about 0.6 mcg of daily B12 requirement.
Not only do eggs have sufficient vitamins, but they’re also a good source of calcium, folate, and include 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 Vitamin B12 rich food for breakfast.
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 also one of the best foods containing 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 B12 rich foods do you eat daily? What’s your favorite food source for Vitamin B12?
Share with me in the comments below!