Plant-based foods are healthy and so opted by most people. Being vegan is a choice that most individuals tend to make. However, do these plant-based food products suffice for the nutritional requirements that your body needs? Yes! A vegan diet can provide most of the minerals and nutrients. However, the essential Vitamin B-12 is present in negligible amounts in most vegan diets that people prefer. This vitamin is highly present in animal products. It is largely found in meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and organs such as the liver and kidney.
Vitamin B-12 is a critical component required for forming red blood cells and maintaining and regulating the brain and the nervous system. It’s an important source of vitamin that fights off megaloblastic anemia, which can result in fatigue, irregular heartbeats, irregular breathing, and dizziness. The daily requirement of Vitamin B-12 in infants is 0.4 mg/per day. In teenagers and adults, it is 2.4mg/per day. Hence, you might be wondering how you can incorporate it into a vegan diet. This article will provide useful insights into the various vegan-based plant sources that also harbor vitamin B-12 giving you all the required nutrients.
Fortified Dairy-Free Milk And Products
With veganism on the rise, more and more dairy-free milk sources have been capturing the market lately. Among these, almond milk, silk soya milk, and coconut milk top the list of dairy-free milk. These products are fortified with vitamin B-12, calcium, and other minerals often found in dairy milk. Hence, the next time you purchase dairy-free milk, make sure to check the labels. The labels should mention Vitamin B-12 and its amount incorporated into it.
Cereals make up for a quick and healthy breakfast. They are loaded with proteins and fibers to boost your metabolism throughout the day. If you are worried about the levels of B-12 in them, you need not think about it because most of the vegan cereal brands have fortified B-12 added to them. Some instant oatmeal will provide you with 100% of your daily vitamin B-12 serving.
Nutritional yeast is highly recommended for a vegan diet for its nutritional benefits. It is a deactivated yeast sourced from molasses fortified with vitamins, including Vitamin B-12. A cup a day can provide you with around 290% of your daily value of vitamin B-12. Apart from the vitamins, it is also an excellent source of fiber that supports your gut metabolism well. A healthy gut reflects a healthy immune system.
Because your diet is devoid of B-12, supplements can make up for the requirements. Before you grab any Vitamin-B12 tablet, make sure to check the labels because they can include animal-based components. These supplements may also consist of products that can interact with your existing drugs. Consult for a piece of medical advice by your professional before you make any routine changes to your diet.
Several meat alternatives are fortified with Vitamin B-12. Because this vitamin is an essential component of plant products, alternative meat brands should include these supplements. But this might not be the case. However, brands such as Yves incorporate your daily Vitamin B-12 in veggie burgers and hotdogs that it serves.
It is important to follow one of the three following options to enjoy the full benefits of a vegan diet:
Option 1: Consume fortified plant-based products mentioned above that provide the daily intake of Vitamin B-12.
The availability of fortified plant-based food products can vary according to countries and brands. The overall quantity can also vary according to the local needs. Therefore, keeping an eye on the labels is important to discover this vitamin’s presence and quantity.
Option 2: Consume Vitamin B-12 supplements regularly that provide at least 10 mg of Vitamin B-12 daily.
By consuming around 10mg or more of Vitamin B-12, you allow it to be absorbed the way it would be absorbed from your diet. Vitamin-B12 absorption increases when consumed in lower levels, also one of the most economical ways to swallow the pill.
Option 3: Weekly supplements of Vitamin-B12 that will provide 2.5mg of this vitamin.
This option is best for people diagnosed with Vitamin B-12 absorption impairment. The required quantities get absorbed by consuming a 2.5gm of supplement because it does not depend on the intrinsic gut factor.
Note: In cases of health problems, consult your health practitioner for prescribing the right amounts your body needs. In rare cases, severely impaired Vitamin B-12 absorption may require different approaches to meet the nutritional requirements. Consult your doctor for the same.
The Bottom Line!
If you are on a vegan diet, then you ought to incorporate Vitamin B-12 supplements or fortified products in your diet. If you want to check the status of your levels, then a piece of advice is to go in for an MMA testing which is highly specific for this vitamin. If you find your levels elevated, it is a red flag for problems associated with Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
One piece of advice is to check the reference and evidence before you get convinced to include any food item in your diet. Many gimmicks in the market proclaim to be vegan friendly. However, a considerable amount of evidence and experimentation is required to validate this credibility. Above all, a well-balanced and healthy diet is essential for the well-being of your body.