15 Vitamin B12 Foods for Vegetarians
- Parvathy Menon
- 5 Min Read
- Fact Checked
Meat, Fish, Eggs are a few rich sources of Vitamin B12. Most of us know this but what about the vegetarian options? Are there enough vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians? Read on to know more but before that let’s get a few facts in place.
A healthy metabolic state, optimal nerve tissue health and neurological function, proper brain function, the production of red blood cells, synthesizing DNA, and more, Vitamin B12 is your go-to superhero to make all this happen.
Vitamin B12, a crucial B vitamin nutrient also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is required for all individuals. The presence of the right amount of Vitamin B12 is a key factor in acquiring and maintaining optimal health.
Vitamin B12 helps in the production of energy that the body requires from fats and proteins. The ideal dietary allowance of Vitamin B12 for adults per day is around 2.4 mcg. Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver. A healthy human requires a small amount of Vitamin B12 per day and the liver typically stores a sufficient amount to cover the body’s daily requirement for several years.
Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Deficiencies can occur in individuals who have compromised B12 absorption levels due to possible :
- autoimmune disorders such as pernicious anemia, in which their body destroys intrinsic factor, a protein necessary for the absorption of Vitamin B12
- gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, gastritis
- also in individuals who are strict vegans.
Read more about Vit B12 deficiency.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Early stages of Vitamin B12 deficiency can include mild symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and a general feeling of tiredness. If left un-remedied, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to issues such as tingling sensation, pins and needles in the hands and feet, muscle weakness, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. Later stages of vitamin B12 deficiency include serious nerve and neurological deterioration and digestive issues.
Unsure about your Vitamin B12 levels? Get a Vitamin B12 Test at home and get your results within 48 hours through MFine.
While it’s generally assumed that B12 is primarily obtained from non-veg food sources, there is good news for vegetarians too. Here is a good list of Vitamin B12 Foods for vegetarians.
15 excellent vegetarian sources of Vitamin B12
1) Cow Milk: A glass (250ml) of low-fat cow milk provides approximately 1.2mcg of vitamin B12 thus meeting around half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12 for adults.
2) Fortified cereals: Contain 25% of the daily value for each 100gm serving. Fortification is the process by which specific nutrients are added to the product that may naturally not be present in that food. However, it is essential to ensure that the fortified product you choose to eat is devoid of other harmful additives and is high in whole grains and fiber.
3) Curd: 1 Cup freshly set curd would have around 1.2 mcg vitamin B12. Make sure that it is homemade and not stored in the refrigerator. Set the curd in the morning during summers and have it for lunch. You can also mix it with fortified cereal and boost your vitamin intake.
4) Home-made Paneer: 1 Cup (250g) paneer gives you 1.1 mcg Vitamin B12. If you don’t eat eggs for breakfast, be sure to include paneer along with other vegetarian sources to load up on your vitamin B12.
5) Fermented Millets: Cook millets and leave them overnight for fermentation. Consume it the next day as is so that live bacteria enter your body directly and prepare your gut for better absorption of Vitamin B12 . 1 Cup ( 250ml) fermented millets contain 0.7mcg Vitamin B12.
6) Shitake Mushroom: 50gm of dried shitake mushroom can fulfill our daily requirement of vitamin B12. But don’t depend on it alone and add other sources of vitamin B12 to your diet along with shiitake mushrooms.
7) Nutritional Yeast: 1 tablespoon of 100% fortified nutritional yeast has around 2.4 mcg vitamin B12. Be sure to add it to your salads/sabzi/soups and consume it daily
8) Cheese: Mozzarella, feta, and Swiss cheese are good options. One slice of Swiss cheese contains about 0.9 micrograms of vitamin B12 or 38% of your daily requirement.
9) Butter: A 100gm of butter provides around 0.2mcg of Vitamin B12. Try and include this across meals.
10) Whey powder: It provides a moderate amount of vitamin B12. 32 grams of whey powder contains 8 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12. However, whey protein isolate is a purified form of whey protein that holds a higher amount of vitamins. You can combine your whey powder with vitamin B12 vegetarian foods like milk or yogurt to easily reach your daily recommended value of the vitamin.
11) Fortified Milk: Almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk fortified with B12 can be great additions to your diet to achieve your daily requirement of vitamin B12. Again, depending on the brand/product you are buying, the vitamin content may vary. So, be sure to check the labels to make sure you are meeting the recommended intake.
12) Tempe: Tempe is a fermented soybean-based food. It contains 0.7 -8 mcg per 100g. Bacterial action during Tempe production may contribute to the increased Vitamin B12 content in it. Tempe can be consumed in curries or soups.
13) Nori: Also known as purple laver, Nori is a dried edible seaweed that contains a good amount of vitamin B12. As per studies, 4 grams of dried Nori is sufficient for daily requirements. In India, nori sheets are now widely available. The sheets can be powdered and added to soups or used in sauces. As a garnish, the powder can be dusted on sandwiches and salads. You can also have it as a simple healthy snack.
14) Marmite: This is a thick paste made from the yeast byproduct leftover from beer brewing. 1 serving of marmite ( approximately 8gm) would cover 76% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin b 12. People who enjoy Marmite can use it as a spread on toast, in sandwiches, and even incorporated into curries and sauces.
15) Fortified Tofu: 100gm contains approximately 1.5mcg of vitamin B12 which gives you around 60% of the daily value. Tofu can be tossed into your salad or used as a filling in wraps.
As is clear, our Vitamin B12 superhero can easily be found amongst these awesome vegetarian options too. There are good enough vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians. Do also note that anything in excess can be detrimental and the same applies here too. Intake the right quantity and also ensure that all other nutrient requirements are balanced out in your daily meals. So go ahead and enjoy your veggie delights and top up on your vitamins from them. May the force of B12 be with you!