We all know vitamins are crucial to good health. From keeping sickness at bay to making sure our bones stay strong, vitamins help us be our best. Finding ways to up our intake when our bodies don’t produce them naturally is always important. And one of the most important to focus on is vitamin B12, the little secret to so many health benefits.
B12 is an essential vitamin we need that our body doesn’t produce naturally. Instead, we typically get our fair share from eating animal products, especially meat and dairy. Once consumed, the vitamin gets to work adding several benefits to our lives. It’s one of the factors responsible for making DNA and is crucial to forming red blood cells. Overall, it’s recommend we get at least 2.4 micrograms of B12 per day, though the amount increases for those pregnant or breast feeding.
It’s also great in the winter months to boost your mood. Studies have shown that B12 can help alleviate symptoms of depression and mood disorders like anxiety. That is especially true for people who were deficient or had lower levels of the vitamin, according to one study. Researchers looked at how taking supplements of the vitamin paired with anti-depressants affected the mood of participants. In the group with the augmented B12 intake, 100 percent of participants reported feeling a reduction of 20 percent on the depression rating scale.
So, how can you make sure you’re getting enough benefits from vitamin B12? Follow these tips!
Eat More Seafood
While most animal product will give you a boost of B12, seafood in general could be your best bet for a quick and tasty intake. Clams specifically have a high concentration of the mineral and are also a good source of iron. Likewise, sardines and tuna are high in B12 and are very accessible since they can be bought canned at most grocery stores. Sardines in particular are rich in lots of nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. But if you don’t like their strong taste, canned tuna is also a great source of B12. In fact, a can of light tuna in water accounts for 115 percent of the daily B12 requirement!
Incorporate Fortified Foods
If you follow a more vegan or vegetarian diet, then seafood is likely out of the question for you. Instead, you can include fortified nutritional yeast in your diet. You just have to make sure it’s been fortified since regular nutritional yeast doesn’t contain any B12. A study done on people who followed a raw-food vegan diet found that adding fortified nutritional yeast to their food increased their levels of B12 and reduced the blood markers of deficiency.
If you’d rather not worry about getting enough B12 from your diet, you can also take supplements. Most commonly available supplements, like Nature Made (Buy on Amazon, $18), will give you all the B12 you need to stay healthy. As always, you should consult your doctor when starting a new supplement routine. They’ll let you know if it’s best for you.
As we settle into winter, it’s important to find ways to keep our moods up and our health strong. Thankfully, B12 will be a great ally in achieving both!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.