Pickled herring contains a large amount of sodium.

Vitamin B-12 in Pickled Herring

by Sara Ipatenco

Herring is a type of fish that's often eaten fresh, but it's commonly pickled, too. The fish is cooked and then combined with vinegar, salt and spices such as pepper. Pickled herring is a delicacy in Russia and other European countries, but it often appears at salad bars in the United States. It's customary to eat fish during the Christian season of Lent, which occurs during the six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, and pickled herring is often eaten during this time, as well.

1. Pickled Herring and Vitamin B-12

A 1-ounce serving of pickled herring contains 1.21 micrograms of vitamin B-12. That's half of the 2.4 micrograms you should have on a daily basis. If you're pregnant, it's 47 percent of the 2.6 micrograms you need each day, and if you're a breastfeeding mom, it's 43 percent of the 2.8 milligrams of should have on a daily basis.

2. Functions of Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 helps your body metabolize the foods you eat by turning them into useable energy. The vitamin supports the proper function of your brain and central nervous system, as well. A vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause mental decline, according to the National Institutes of Health, and getting enough of the nutrient might help ward off brain disorders. You also need plenty of vitamin B-12 so your body is able to make healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 is crucial to the formation and maintenance of your DNA, too.

3. What Else You Get

In addition to the good dose of vitamin B-12, pickled herring also supplies other key nutrients. About 4 grams of the 5.1 grams of fat in a 1-ounce serving of pickled herring is unsaturated, which is the healthy kind that helps protect your heart. That same portion also supplies 32 international units of vitamin D, which is 5 percent of the 600 international units you need each day. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.You'll also get 0.48 milligrams of vitamin E, a nutrient that helps protect the health of your cells. That's 3 percent of the 15 milligrams you need on a daily basis. Pickled herring supplies small amounts of iron and vitamin A, as well.

4. Tips and Considerations

Despite the health advantages of eating pickled herring, keep in mind that it also contains a large amount of sodium. One ounce of pickled herring has 247 milligram of sodium, which is 11 percent of the 2,300 milligrams you should restrict yourself to every day. Too much sodium in your diet elevates your risk of heart problems and stroke. If you're lucky enough to have children that are willing to eat pickled herring, remember that your child needs less vitamin B-12 than adults do. Children between the ages of 1 and 3 need 0.9 micrograms a day and children between 4 and 8 need 1.2 milligrams. Between the ages of 9 and 13, children should have 1.8 milligrams a day and teens require 2.4 micrograms.

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