Vitamin B12 Benefits

Sweet potatoes are part of a B12 diet.

Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy nerves and brain cells.

Together, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 eliminate homocysteine, which can build up in the bloodstream and damage the brain. A good quality Vitamin B12 supplement is highly absorbable. Eating healthy, whole foods will help you balance your needed nutrient intake for a healthy mind and body. B12 is also important for anyone following or wanted to start a plant-based diet.

Here are a few ideas:

Blueberries and grapes get their deep colors from anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants shown to improve learning and recall in studies at the University of Cincinnati.

Beans and chickpeas have vitamin B6 and folate, as well as protein and calcium without saturated or trans fats.

Sweet potatoes are the dietary staple of Okinawans, the longest-lived people on Earth, who are also known for maintaining mental clarity into old age.  They are extremely rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant.

Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E, which has been shown to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Especially good sources are: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pecans, pistachios, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flaxseed. Just 1 ounce — a small handful — each day is plenty.

Green leafy vegetables provide iron in a form that is more absorbable when the body needs more and less absorbable when you already have plenty, protecting you from iron overload which can harm the brain.

Green vegetables are also loaded with folate, an important, brain-protecting B-vitamin.

Beans Improve Your Heart Health

legumes improve heart health

According to a review published in Advances in Nutrition, the consumption of beans, lentils, peas, and other legumes reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.

Researchers reviewed publications that assessed consumption of legumes on the risk for cardiometabolic diseases and related markers. Results showed that those who consumed the most legumes reduced incidence rates for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and hypertension by as much as 10 percent when compared to those with the lowest intakes.

Viguiliouk E, Glenn A, Nishi SK, et al. Associations between dietary pulses alone or with other legumes and cardiometabolic disease outcomes: An umbrella review and updated systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Adv Nutr. 2019;10:S308-S319. 

Can Plant-Based Diets Reduce Medical Expenses?

plant-based diet
plant-based diet

According to new data from the Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study, following a plant-based diet reduces health expenses compared with consuming a diet containing meat. 

Researchers from Taiwan looked at more than 12,000 Buddhist volunteers and compared a diet of frequent fruit, vegetables, soy and nuts (vegetarian) compared to a diet characterized by relatively more consumption of meat and fish and less plant-based foods (omnivore).  Vegetarians had a 15 percent lower total medical expenditure and a 13 percent lower outpatient medical expenditure, compared with omnivores in this study.

Specifically, vegetarians had lower expenses related to hypertension, dyslipidemia, depression, heart disease and renal disease. 

Compared to Taiwan’s general population, as opposed to this cohort, the vegetarian had a 25 percent lower medical expenditure.

Lin CL, W JH, Chang CC, Chiu THT, Lin MN. Vegetarian diets and medical expenditure in Taiwan — a matched cohort study. Nutrients. 2019;11:2688.