Eating fish at least twice a week is good for your health, potentially lowering your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure due to the essential omega-3 fats they contain. Fish are also a good source of nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B-12.
Unless you are a vegan, you probably get the recommended 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day from your diet. Most animal foods contain at least some of this essential vitamin, which your body needs to make DNA and red blood cells and for proper nerve and brain function. However, if you regularly take antacids, have an intestinal disorder that makes it so you don't have a lot of stomach acid or have a hereditary condition called pernicious anemia, you may have trouble absorbing vitamin B-12 from foods.
Fish Highest in Vitamin B-12
While all fish provide you with some vitamin B-12, some types are much better sources than others. Some of the fish that provide the most vitamin B-12 per 3-ounce serving include Atlantic sardines canned in oil with 7.6 micrograms, farmed rainbow trout with 4.2 micrograms, canned pink salmon with 3.7 micrograms, walleye and pickled Atlantic herring with 3.6 micrograms, smoked Chinook salmon with 2.8 micrograms and light tuna canned in water with 2.5 micrograms.
Other Fish High in Vitamin B-12
If you want to add more variety to your fish choices while still increasing your vitamin B-12 intake, consider flounder, sole, catfish, haddock, halibut, Pacific rockfish, white tuna canned in water and Atlantic ocean perch. While these fish don't provide the entire recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B-12 in one 3-ounce serving, they are still high in vitamin B-12, providing 1 to 2 micrograms per serving depending on the fish.
Vary the type of fish you eat to maximize the nutrients you consume while minimizing the amount of contaminants. Some fish which are high in vitamin B-12, including swordfish and orange roughy, are also very high in mercury, so you should avoid them. Limit your canned white tuna consumption to no more than three 6-ounce servings per month and your halibut and chunk light tuna consumption to no more than six 6-ounce servings per month, since these fish have a bit more mercury than the other fish that are high in vitamin B-12.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.