Vitamin b12 is a vital nutrient that keeps blood cells and nerves in our body healthy and helps make the essential genetic material in the cells called DNA. Being listed as one of the essential nutrients for every vital cell in the human body, vitamin b12 should always be present on your major nutrients list. Vitamin b12 is a nutrient derived from animal and poultry products like fish, meat, and some major dairy products. But when we talk about vitamin b12 plant-based diet, there are very few products that contain natural b12.
Many fortified food and supplements have proven themselves to be a reliable source of vitamin b12. Lack of vitamin b12 can lead to many serious health consequences such as pernicious anemia. However, vegetarians have many options to get a proper and sufficient intake of vitamin b12 like eggs, milk, and other dairy products. But when we talk about vegans, they have very few options like fortified food and products with added b12. Below listed are some of the plant-based vitamin b12 food products.
Nutritional yeast is one of the fortified foods that contains a sufficient amount of vitamin b12 in them. This product is considered a go-to product for both vegans and vegetarians as it is one of the beneficial sources of vitamin b12. Nutritional yeast also adds a delicious depth of flavor to your cooking along with its nutritional benefits. It provides a cheesy or a nutty flavor to any dish it is added to. There are a large number of ways in which you can consume nutritional yeast by adding it to your vegetarian sauces, chilies, and curries. You can also add a few layers of this yeast to make your snack more nutritious and beneficial. Consuming one tablespoon of 100% nutritional yeast provides at least 2.4 Mg of vitamin b12.
Food products that are fortified with vitamin b12 are proven to be reliable and helpful in providing daily intake requirements of vitamin b12 to the human body. These food products which contain high bioavailability are recommended for both vegetarians and vegans. One of the greatest choices among fortified food is fortified breakfast cereals. These breakfast cereals contain about 25% of the DV of vitamin b12 per serving; however, this percentage might vary from brand to brand. Remember always to read the packaging to gain information about whether your favorite cereal brand is providing you with a sufficient amount of b12 or not. Along with the above-listed benefits, fortified foods are very easily digested by the human body, which means they are products with high bioavailability.
Few plant-based food products contain natural vitamin b12. Algae and seaweed are one of them. Nori seaweed is a type of marine algae that is considered to be a good source of vitamin b12. These algae seaweed products are mainly consumed in Asian countries. Nori is considered one of the most beneficial, suitable, and natural sources of biologically available vitamin b12 for vegans. Many studies have said that consuming about 4 grams of dried Nori can help you meet the daily requirement of vitamin b12 in the human body. These products are commonly found in Asian countries and even through online supermarkets. It is mainly used in making Sushi and can be turned into a very beneficial and healthy daily snack.
Just like Nori, certain mushrooms contain natural bioactive vitamin b12. Shitake mushroom is one of the most beneficial and suitable sources of vitamin b12 among other mushrooms. Comparative to other sources, the level of b12 in mushrooms is comparatively very low. To meet with daily intake requirements of b12, you would at least need to consume about 50 grams of these mushrooms. As it is extremely difficult to eat this amount of mushrooms every day by an individual in one sitting, it’s best to keep in mind other sources of vitamin b12 as well. It can be the best source of vitamin b12 for those who prefer fungi as one of the best options. You can add mushrooms to your cooking to boost vitamin b12 in your lunch and dinners.
Tempeh is an Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans. Tempeh is mainly consumed by the people of Jakarta, Indonesia. Tempeh is known among vegans as it is suitable for any dishes and meals. However, tempeh does not provide the recommended intake of vitamin b12. The vitamin b12, which is present in tempeh, is highly associated with the presence of opportunistic pathogens like Klebsiella pneumonia. With the consumption of a hundred grams of tempeh, your body will get about 4.1 Mg of vitamin b12. Studies have shown that fresh tempeh contains a very low amount of vitamin b12, so vegans should not rely on it as the primary source of vitamin b12.
Many surveys on plant-based sources of vitamin b12 have proven that Nori is one of the most suitable and healthiest sources of vitamin b12 among any other plant-based source. However, mushrooms, fortified food, and supplements are also a good source of vitamin b12. Using these plant-based sources can help vegans and vegetarians have a balanced diet with the proper amount of vitamin b12 in it.