Anyone who has ever tried to cook a meal for more than two people knows how hard it can be to ensure that you and your family are achieving a fully balanced diet day in, day out. Modern life is frantic and while we are running around trying to balance out our commitments we all too often forget that we are supposed to be balancing our diets as well!
Believe it or not, there are multiple ways to make sure that your daily intake of Vitamins and Minerals is kept up – and it doesn't even need to always involve you slaving over a stove for most of the day! In fact, it can start with something so simple as changing the snack food that you eat. Change out those crisps for something healthier, swap the chocolate for something sweet and sticky – but low calorie and better for you... like a piece of dried fruit or some nuts and seeds.
Nuts and dried fruit are brilliant sources of just about every vitamin and mineral that our bodies crave to build new DNA, repair damaged cells and to protect our immune systems. When we don't get enough of these vital nutrients we start to notice changes in our body that are usually for the worse. Likewise, when we get too much of some minerals it can interfere with our good health. B12 is not quite so dangerous since it is water soluble and any healthy kidney will be able to process the excess without doing damage to your body.
- So what is Vitamin B12 and why do we need it? Let's take a closer look at what it does before we talk about some healthy snacks you can eat that are rich in it.
Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin and is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for the healthy functioning of our metabolism rates. B12 is one of many B vitamins, each of which is commonly found together in the same foods. It is needed by the body to create enzymes necessary to extract the goodness from the foods that we eat. B12 is vital for the body to form new DNA and we must have it or we simply won't be healthy.
A B12 deficiency can be serious and is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies that are found in the world today. The most notable symptom is that the body starts to produce extra large red blood cells, eventually causing the recipient to suffer from anemia. Tingling sensations all over the body, aching muscles and an inability to stay awake throughout the day are all signs that you might not be getting enough B12 in your diet.
You can take B12 supplements but they are rarely as effective as dietary B12, so if you have been diagnosed with a deficiency upping your intake is the best place to start. Also, Vegans and Vegetarians tend to struggle to get enough of this particular nutrient since they cannot eat eggs, fish, and meat, which are all the best sources of B12. Let's examine some of the healthy snack foods you can eat that will help you to increase your intake without having to compromise your morals!
If you are willing to splurge a little the Japanese Chestnut is a mildly expensive way to saturate yourself in B12. They are mostly water, are very low in calories, have barely any sugar or sodium and are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals – so even though they might not taste of very much, they really do pack a healthy punch!
Pecans contain lots of health benefits, but only trace amounts of B12 – however, there is some! With Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium in high quantities, this tenacious little nut will also give you 40% RDA of dietary fiber.
Probably the best of the nut snacks is the humble Walnut. This little guy contains a plant-based form of B12 called alpha-linolenic acid. Walnuts will provide you with only a small percentage of your RDA of B12 even although they are rich in healthy fatty acids, Magnesium, Calcium, and Potassium.
Fortified Grains and Cereals
The best way for any vegetarian or vegan to get B12 into their diet is to choose the fortified option. Since B12 is mainly found in meats, eggs, and fish, we must occasionally look towards cereals, seeds, and nuts that are fortified. Fortification basically means that the grains have had B12 added to them, probably along with a few other vitamins and minerals as well. As long as you are not adding either salt or sugar, fortified cereals are a great way to expand your intake. Remember to add a little sprinkling of mixed nuts to make it into a super-healthy snack.
Another way to get B12 into your diet without eating meat is to ferment fruits and vegetables – and no, that isn't a permission slip to go out and start making wine! Fermentation was originally intended as a way to preserve food without the addition of unhealthy and possibly toxic chemicals. It isn't that difficult to do it yourself and there is a whole online community based around what you can and can't ferment!
So if that hasn't been enough to change your mind about the importance of having a B12 rich diet – we don't know what will! B12 provides our bodies with the building blocks necessary to create and sustain life, so without it, life can get even harder for us than it already is!
If you have decided to make the change to your diet that will ultimately lead to a better lifestyle then all it takes is for you to change the way you snack, starting now! Get your dose of fermented foods and fortified cereals, then head over to L'Orenta Nuts to view their selection of fine nuts and dried fruits. For healthy snacking, it should always be L'Orenta. Shop Now to see what delectable specialties you might treat yourself to... go on, you deserve it!