Plant-based foods are powerhouses of all kinds of nutrients our bodies need, with a couple of exceptions – Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.
While you can easily get Vitamin D by spending time in the sunlight, fulfilling Vitamin B12 requirements is often a massive challenge for vegans.
B12 food sources are primarily animal-based, such as meat or dairy. Hence, vegans or people eating Whole Food Plant-Based diets are at a huge risk of B12 deficiency.
But all is not doom and gloom for plant-based eaters.
This article brings you the best Vitamin B12 sources you can include in your diet.
But first, let’s understand this nutrient a little better.
Why do you need Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamins, is one of the essential micronutrients that our body needs from the food we eat. It is responsible for many important body functions such as DNA synthesis, blood formation, and nervous system protection.
The deficiency of Vitamin B12 can compromise your immune system; cause depression, fatigue, skin problems, and many other debilitating health issues.
Another interesting thing about B12 is that though animal-based food is a source, animals cannot produce it either, just like plants. It is the microorganisms present in the soil that can produce B12.
Though most plants cannot produce B12, there are a lot of plant-based foods high in B12 that you can include in your daily diet.
What are these? Let’s find out!
5 Best plant-based Vitamin-B12 food sources
1. Nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast, particularly B12-fortified one, is the best source of B12 for plant-based eaters. You can easily find it in supermarkets.
Not only is it an excellent cheese alternative, but you can also use it in almost all kinds of dishes – be it sauces, curries, or smoothies.
2. B12-fortified foods
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a huge pain point for plant-based eaters. Hence, B12-fortified foods like fortified cereals, fortified plant-based milk, and fortified plant-based meat are increasingly becoming available in the market.
These are convenient to add to your diet and ensure the high absorption of B12 in the body. However, you should make sure the brand you choose is reliable.
3. Fermented foods
Fermented foods like kimchi, miso, or sauerkraut are also good plant-based sources of B12. The microbes that grow during fermentation make them richer in Vitamin B12.
Including more fermented food in your diet is an excellent way to increase your B12 intake.
4. Algae and seaweeds
Like fermented food, the interaction of microbes with algae and seaweeds in the sea also makes them a rich source of B12.
Some popular ones include Nori, Chlorella, and Spirulina. You can either add them in your dishes or eat their capsules or powder forms to meet your daily B12 needs.
5. B12 supplements
Last but not least, supplements are one of the most reliable, inexpensive, and hassle-free ways of taking in enough Vitamin B12.
Health experts recommend cyanocobalamin the most, which is available in chewable, dissolvable, and liquid forms. Usually, the recommended dose is 2500 micrograms daily. However, you can consult a nutritionist or your doctor to decide the best quantity for you.
I hope this article helped you find the right source to fulfill your Vitamin B12 requirements. Make sure you keep an eye on B12 deficiency symptoms to avoid any serious health issues.