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Did You Know?
The body requires Iron and Vitamin B12, along with folic acid in order to produce red blood cells. Therefore, a deficiency of any of these will lead to anemia―mild or severe.

Our childhoods have probably gone through the same drill of our parents putting us through the importance of having a well-balanced diet. Eat your greens ... eat that meat ... have eggs everyday etc, etc. And they were right in teaching us that. If you don't supplement your body with the needed nutrients, then there will be deficiencies in later life that in turn will give rise to complications like a weakened immune system and other health problems. While all the food groups should be included in your diet, in the following Buzzle article, we will be listing foods high in iron and Vitamin B12.

Consuming foods high in vitamin B12 and iron are essential for the smooth functioning of our body and mind. This, in turn, leads to improved overall health. The remainder of this article will deal with some of these and take you through the importance of consuming the same.

Importance of Iron and Vitamin B12

Iron is needed in the body because it leads to the formation of hemoglobin (a type of red blood cell that helps transport oxygen to the different parts of the body). If there is no iron, it cannot form hemoglobin, which then leads to anemia and other complications like hemoglobin deficiency. Iron is also required for the conversion of blood sugar to energy and for the production of enzymes. The immune system is dependent on iron for its smooth and efficient functioning. Iron also plays a very crucial role in the overall mental and developmental growth of a person. A deficiency of this mineral will affect all bodily functions and lead to lowered health. Since our body cannot produce iron on its own, it becomes important to supplement it with the food that we consume.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) is essential for the production of red blood cells. Along with this primary role, it also supports the functioning of nerve cells, and manufactures myelin (the material that surrounds our nerve cells and helps speed neural transmission). Vitamin B12 is also essential in the replication of DNA. A deficiency of the same has a direct effect on memory and brain functions. In order for the body to the use the B12 vitamin, it is first separated from the protein of the food to which it is attached, and is then combined with the protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor.

Iron and B12 High Foods

Here is a list of foods that are high in iron and B12. Refer to this to understand what are the iron rich foods as well as the sources of vitamin B12 that you should be including in your diet.

Foods Rich in Iron

Foods rich in iron include seafood, vegetables, meat and poultry, breads and cereals, beans, and fruit. Iron is of two types―heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is easily absorbed by the stomach and is readily used by the body. It is found in foods like fish, meat, and poultry. Non-heme iron is found in both, plants and meat. However, the body cannot absorb this form of iron as completely as it does heme iron, which is why a combination of both types of iron needs to be consumed, such that the body is supplemented completely. A comprehensive list of both these has been given below.

Collard greens
Spinach
Liver
Red meats
Apricots
Pistachios
Raisins
Walnuts
Almonds
Kidney beans
Chickpeas
Lima beans
Tuna
Poultry
Lamb
Shrimp
Broccoli
Beef
Parsley
Dried thyme
Brussels sprouts
Spearmint
Beans
Sesame seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Beetroot
Blackstrap molasses
Curry powder
Tempeh
Miso
Beet greens
Green pepper
Carrots
Kale
Asparagus
Alfalfa
Hawthorn
Bilberry
Cherry
Grape skin
Mullein
Red raspberry
Kidney
Pinto beans
Rice bran
Mustard greens
Dried peaches
Prune juice
Nuts
Whole grains
Black-eyed peas
Lentils
Dates
Figs
Peas
Dry cereals
Pork
Scallops

Foods Rich in B12

One of the food groups that have the highest count of Vitamin B12 is seafood and include fish like mackerel and salmon. Other than these, the liver of varied animals like chicken and other poultry is also an excellent source. A comprehensive list of these foods has been provided below.
Salmon
Herring
Halibut
Snapper
Liver extracts
Dairy products
Eggs
Shellfish
Beef
Tuna
Chicken
Clams
Crab
Faggots
Haddock
Bread
Brown rice
Berries
Calf's liver
Venison
Tenderloin
Shrimp
Scallops
Chinook
Lamb
Feta Cheese

Deficiency of Iron and Vitamin B12

Here is what can happen if you do not take in the required amounts of iron and B12. Apart from the most obvious signs of anemia, these are some of the other symptoms you'll have to deal with.

Feeling of weakness and tiredness.
Varying degrees of hair loss.
Dizziness―ranging from mild to severe.
Lower eyelids becoming pale.
Faintness and breathlessness.
Long and heavy menstrual periods.
Irregular heartbeats.
Ringing in the ears.
Experiencing constant fatigue.
Lack of concentration.
Weakened and lowered immune system.
Pale lips.
Instances of severe nausea.
Headaches―ranging from mild to strong.
Feeling lightheaded.
Nerve damage.
Weakness in legs.
Poor muscle coordination.
Numbness in hands and feet.
Over sensitivity of eyes to light.
Inflammation of the soft tissue around the mouth and nose.
Decreased reflexes.
Depression.
Sore tongue.
Difficulty in swallowing.
Dandruff.
Decreased blood clotting.
Weakened pulse.

Since Vitamin B12 and iron go hand in hand, usually, including foods that are high in iron will automatically supplement Vitamin B12 into the system. This comprehensive list will help you understand the kind of foods that you should include in your diet to supplement your body with iron and B12, why they are important for us, and what their deficiencies can spell for the body.

Disclaimer - This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.