It recently dawned on me that 2016 is rushing toward the finish line.
Can you believe it's Halloween today???? Boooo! :-)
The holiday season is almost upon us, before we know it, we’ll be ringing in the New Year. I’m pretty excited about what 2017 has in store; I have some pretty awesome personal and professional plans in the works for next year. I hope you do, too.
I read recently that more “experts” don’t recommend waiting to plan what you want to achieve until January 1st. In fact, October is a really great time to start putting plans into action to ensure a successful 2017.
But that doesn’t mean we should neglect 2016 – we want to end the year on a high note! When we rock out on New Year’s Eve, we want to dance around, celebrating the fact that 2016 was a kick-butt year.
Is that how you want end the year? My hope is that you start implementing simple nutritional changes into your diet that will make you feel awesome, more energetic, even younger – right now!
Which brings me to today’s post. I wanted to talk to you about vitamin B12. There’s been some controversy around this vitamin during the last few years. Many people feel that meat is the only way to get this important vitamin, thereby nullifying the validity of a vegan diet.
This isn’t necessarily the case. I want to show you, first of all, why you need to be concerned about a deficiency, how to identify a deficiency, and which foods will help raise your levels. And, not all of them are meat products.
By keeping an eye on things and making some simple changes to your diet, you’ll reduce your chance of a deficiency while feeling awesome and ending 2016 with a bang!
Why You Need to Be Concerned About a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 helps our bodies build DNA and make red blood cells. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, nearly two-fifths of people in the U.S. alone are B12 deficient.
While anyone can be deficient, people over 50 are more likely to deal with this issue. The issue isn’t always that people aren’t getting enough, but that they aren’t absorbing it.
Patrick J. Skerrett, the former Executive Editor of Harvard Health wrote a blog post exposing B12 deficiencies as “sneaky” and “harmful.” Symptoms include:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breathConstipation, diarrhea, gas
- Loss of appetite
- Numbness or tingling
- Problems with walking
- Vision loss
- Memory loss
- Jaundice (yellow skin)
- Hallucinations or paranoia
- Behavioral changes.
A series of blood tests are needed to confirm a deficiency. The tests will show whether the red blood cell, folate, and vitamin C levels are low, all of which could indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency. If this is the case, the doctor will test for high levels of antibodies and Methylmalonic acid, confirming a deficiency. A Schilling test allows doctors to see if B12 is being absorbed or not.
5 Foods to Start Eating Right Now to Build Your Vitamin B12 Levels
Vitamins are essential nutrients that our body needs to survive. Of course, our goal isn’t just to survive, right? We want to kick butt and thrive! In order to do that, we have to eat a nutrient-dense diet. Here are 5 foods that will help build your vitamin B12 levels.
1. Leafy Greens. Do you realize how excited I am that the Mayo Clinic lists leafy greens as one of the best ways to prevent a deficiency? Yep – I’m jumping up and down. Leafy greens contain high levels of folate and vitamin C, both of which are linked to a B12 deficiency.
2. Dairy Products. Fortified, organic dairy is a great source of B12, particularly for those who have a hard time absorbing B12. Sometimes, B12 from meats and seafood aren’t readily absorbed, particularly in people over 50. This could be due to differences in stomach acid levels.
3. Meats and Seafood. Both red and white meats contain this vitamin, as do mackerel, sardines, and salmon.
4. Chlorella. Chlorella is an algae that is usually found in powdered or tablet form. In some studies it is suggested that Chlorella may be able to build your vitamin B12 levels, which is exciting, especially for vegans. For more information on how vegans can get plenty of B12, check out this article on VeganSocity.com.
Chlorella can increase energy and make your skin look amazing. If you choose to take it in powder form, it’s a great addition to your green smoothie!
Of course, if a vitamin deficiency has been diagnosed, talk to your doctor before relying solely on one food to raise your levels.
5. Fortified Foods. Nut milks, cereals, and other B12 fortified foods can be added to your diet in order to build your vitamin B12 levels.
Ending Our Year on a High Note: Green Veggies & Plenty of Vitamin B12
Vitamin deficiency is a big deal and should be taken seriously. Start taking control of your health, energy, and mental and emotional well-being. You have the power to change your life for the better, all by choosing which foods to put on your plate.
You know my No. 1 recommendation – eat more greens every day. Do this any way you can: drink a green smoothie for breakfast, eat a salad instead of a sandwich for lunch, make some zesty dinosaur kale chips for an afternoon snack, or add a side of rainbow chard to your evening meal.
As a general rule, I prefer trying to get most if not all of my nutrition from REAL FOOD, ideally organic to avoid toxic pesticides, and locally grown. Depending on your situation and condition however, you may need one or more supplements.
I have used the under-the-tongue B12 supplement, which works fine, but I have heard very good things about the fine mist spray vitamin B12 products that are also effective, as they allow the large B12 molecule to be absorbed directly into your bloodstream.
By taking control of your health now, you will have a rockin’ end to 2017 and a fantastic start to 2017. Are you with me?
I would love to hear about your plans for finishing 2016 with a bang and starting 2017 on a strong note. Let me know what your nutritional, fitness and professional goals are in the comments below or on my Facebook page. I look forward to supporting you in reaching those goals!