19 Vitamin B12 Foods That Will Keep Your Mind Sharp

Eat your way smarter with these nutrient-rich foods.

Yossy Arefi

Fuel your brain by eating foods high in vitamin B12. The essential nutrient is found in meat, fish, dairy, and more, but these are the top sources you can snatch right up in your local grocery store!

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Health Benefits of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for red blood cells, nerve function, and DNA synthesis. It's basically brain food! "Getting B12 daily is crucial as we age, since a deficiency is linked to cognitive decline and impaired nerve function," says Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., Nutrition Director at the GolfHr Institute. "You can think of it as being in all animal products and some fortified grain and bean products." If you're concerned about reaching the minimum  (RDA) of 2.4 micrograms, talk to your physician about further testing.

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tuna with salad
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Tuna

Grilled or canned, this fatty fish is full of brain-boosting omega-3s, protein, and vitamin B12 — up to your whole day's worth in just one 3-ounce serving. Aim to have about 12 ounces of a mix of fatty fish per week to meet your needs for key nutrients. 

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cottage cheese
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Cottage Cheese

Besides providing B12, this kitchen staple can help you fill up for relatively few calories. A 1/2 cup of 1% is about 90, and contains up to 18 grams of protein! Spread a lower-sodium version on toast or use it as a swap for sour cream and cheese in home-cooked recipes

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shrimp
Iain Bagwell
Shrimp

It's king of the crustaceans! Shrimp packs about 80% of the daily value of vitamin B12. Plus, it's a great source of the nutrient choline (linked to brain and heart health) and lean protein. Serve some with mixed veggies or salads, or boil them for a fresh shrimp cocktail

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Swiss Cheese

What's not to love about cheese?!  Swiss cheese is higher in vitamin B12 than other cheese, providing about 14% of the daily value per ounce. Pair a slice with a piece of fruit for a filling snack that's got protein, fiber, and a little bit of fat to stave off diet-derailing cravings. 

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sardines
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Sardines

These teeny fish are super tasty, and easy to eat from a can or fresh off the grill. Sardines are filled with lean protein and docosahexaonic acid (DHA), which is crucial for fetal brain development (in utero) and cognition in adults. A serving of sardines also contains nearly 20% of your daily value for vitamin B12. 

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Fortified Cereal

Some cereals made with  or may be fortified with vitamin B12, and can provide about 30% of the daily value in just one serving. Mix a cup into unsweetened Greek yogurt or eat with a handful of nuts for a light nosh. 

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mussels provencal
Mike Garten
Mussels

Just 3 ounces of mussels delivers up to 340% of your daily value for B12. Plus, they're filled with lean protein (20 grams), vitamin C, and iron. Serve 'em steamed with olive oil or the Provençal way, with fennel, garlic, and tomatoes.

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skim-milk latte
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Milk

Providing nearly 20% of your daily value in a cup, a morning latte can help you get closer to a whole day's worth of vitamin B12! Choose skim or low-fat milk for larger orders to cut calories from fat without sacrificing protein — one 16-ounce latte packs 13 grams!

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clams
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Clams

Whether you like them raw on the half shell or cooked in your chowder, clams are a surprising superfoods. Three ounces of mollusks provide plenty of iron and potassium as well as vitamin B12.

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Anna Williams
Beef

Here's one thing to love about red meat: Steak's a great source of B12. Be sure to choose the leaner kind and find local, grass-fed options to limit the environmental impact of raising livestock.

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Mike Garten
Chicken

Chicken's also a good source of vitamin B12 with 13.7 micrograms per cup. 

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mediterranean hummus egg smash
Mike Garten
Eggs

Eggs are a great source of B12 for vegetarians, as they can easily go in salads, soups, and stir frys or step in for dinner (hearty omelet — yes, please!). Plus, they're super cheap!

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oysters
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Oysters

Three ounces of oysters contain 10.2 milligrams of iron as well as B12.

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Nutritional Yeast

Also known as "nooch," this comes from sugarcane or beet molasses. It's a favorite for vegans since nooch delivers three times your daily requirements for B12, plus 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup of flakes. Sprinkle it in pasta sauce, or on nachos or popcorn for a umami flavor boost. 

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Crab

Three ounces of crab has 9.8 micrograms of vitamin B12. According to the Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) , snow and stone crab have low amounts of contaminants and harvesting causes less habitat damage. If you buy red and blue king crabs, look for ones from the U.S. instead of imported varieties. 

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honey ginger cedar plank salmon
Mike Garten
Salmon

Half a filet of salmon has 9 micrograms of vitamin B12. Look for wild Alaskan salmon for an .

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Mike Garten
Turkey

Heritage turkeys are packed with flavor and 48.2 micrograms of vitamin B12 per cup.

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trout fillet
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Trout

Trout, a salmon relative, has 4.2 micrograms of vitamin B12 in every three ounces. Because these fish are mostly farmed, the  deems these fish as "eco-best." All trout you'll find at the fish market comes from U.S. farms with high environmental standards.

Learn how to skin and de-bone fish fillets »

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herring
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Herring

These small fish offer 3.6 micrograms of vitamin B12 in every 3 ounces. Look for Atlantic or Pacific herring as these fish have low amounts of contaminants, according to the . 

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These delicious, low-calorie power bowls will keep you feeling satisfied and energized from breakfast to dinner.

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