With ongoing lockdowns, a nervousness to socialise and the consistent unknown of what lies ahead there are many of us who may be feeling a sense of anxiety, depression or even fear. Insomnia, increased alcohol intake and sense of fatigue are common. So what can we do to improve rather than exacerbate these feelings?
A recent study (1) has found that B12 deficiencies may raise the risk of depression by more than 50%. Whilst the study was done on people over 50 years of age there are some simple ways to increase our B12 intake through food that may help us all to improve our mood and overall health, especially during these difficult times.
More about B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin found predominantly in animal foods. It is a key vitamin to maintain a healthy nervous system and to form red blood cells. A deficiency of B12 can be very problematic and may cause anaemia, nerve damage and depression(1). Vitamin B12 can be found in red meat, poultry, seafood, milk, yoghurt, eggs and cheese so can be difficult for someone following a vegan to meet their B12 needs. Plant foods are usually not a reliable source of B12 and whilst some plant foods promoted as containing vitamin B12 (such as tempeh and miso) can often contain an inactive form of B12, so does not contribute to B12 dietary requirements.
Newborn babies have very little of their own stores of B12 and rely on obtaining vitamin B12 from their mothers breastmilk or formula. For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding it is important to be obtaining sufficient B12 or discuss taking a supplement with your GP. B12 deficiencies are also common in the elderly whilst coeliac disease and Crohn’s disease can interfere with nutrient absorption and also lead to deficiencies.
Tips for meeting your vitamin B12 needs:
- Include eggs and dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt in your diet regularly.
- Red meat, poultry and seafood are good sources
- If you follow a vegan diet, choose soy milk fortified with vitamin B12. Some vegetarian burgers, sausages and yeast extracts are also fortified with vitamin B12.
- If you don’t eat foods containing vitamin B12, discuss taking a B12 supplement with your GP
Which We Feed You meals would help with B12 intake?
- Any of our meals which contain chicken, beef, pork, lamb or fish.
- For vegetarians our Goats Cheese and Mushroom Pasta includes milk, cheddar and goats cheese.