Vitamin B12 is a key and underrated nutrient in your diet. It makes your body’s blood and nerve cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all your cells. It also helps prevent anemia, which is a condition that can make you feel tired and weak! While most people can obtain sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 from a varied diet, that diet usually includes animal products. There are very few vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians! But if you are a vegetarian or vegan, keep reading because we have put together a list of the best vitamin b12 foods for vegetarians for you!
The human body requires around 13 vitamins daily to ensure holistic health and wellness. The B-Vitamin group forms 8 of these essential vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 are the ones you need. Vitamin B12 (also known as Cobalamin) was discovered only in 1948. It was the last vitamin in the B-group to be found. It is red in color naturally and consists of cobalt in huge quantities. Its other constituents are carbon, oxygen, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
But the highest amounts of B12 are contained in animal-based foods like meat and seafood. While vegetarians and vegans find it challenging to meet their Vitamin B12 requirements only from plant-based sources. It is difficult to find Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians. But there is good news here! Fortified foods are great natural substitutes for vegetarians and vegans, as they do not consume dairy or other animal products. In this article, we’ll understand some of the best Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians.
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How Can I Increase My Vitamin B12 naturally?
First, let’s understand how much Vitamin B12 you’ll need as an adult. Adults between the ages of 19-64 require around 1.5 mcg of Vitamin B12 in a day. If you choose to take higher amounts, do not worry. There is no information stating any harmful effects of an overdose of Vitamin 12. A varied and balanced diet would be able to meet these requirements (including plenty of Vitamin 12 foods for vegetarians) and naturally increase your Vitamin B12. However, in cases where you have not met your quota, you can also take natural Vitamin B12 supplements! Ensure that you do not take more than 2mcg of Vitamin B12 through supplementation.
First, we’ll discuss some of the natural Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians (some of which are dairy-based), then we’ll see some of the fruits rich in Vitamin B12 as well (suitable for vegans and those vegetarians that do not want to try dairy products).
Natural Vitamin B12 Foods for Vegetarians
1. Milk and Cheese
One of the most widely found, nutritious, and delicious Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians in India, milk is the first thing you could rely on for your source. Around 250 ml of cow’s milk is similar to half of your daily intake of Vitamin B12. Another option you could rely on as a Vitamin B12 food for vegetarians is cheese, particularly Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese provides around 1.5mcg of Vitamin B12 contained in 50 grams.
If you find milk a little difficult to absorb and retain, then yoghurt would be a great alternative Vitamin B12 food for vegetarians. In just around 170 gms of low-fat plain yoghurt, you can get 16% of your body’s daily needs of Vitamin B12. If you add this amount of yoghurt to each of your meals, you could easily meet your needs in this Vitamin B12 food for vegetarians. Yoghurt also has many benefits other than being one of the best Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians – it contains probiotic bacteria that help improve gut health naturally as well! A strong gut to go with your newly strengthened and healthy blood.
Pro-tip: Mix your yoghurt with fortified cereals to further fulfill your body’s B12 requirements and get a new Vitamin B12 food for vegetarians!
3. Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
Another great choice from the list of Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians from an Indian diet is paneer or cottage cheese. Paneer provides at least 20% of your daily Vitamin B12 needed. For example, 100 grams of paneer contains around 0.8 mcg of Vitamin B12! This is one-third of the quantity you’ll need as an adult.
Paneer is one of the richest sources of protein that an Indian vegetarian diet offers as well. Take advantage of it for your good health and consume a few cubes of paneer as one of the best vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians.
4. Fortified Foods
If you are a vegan, then fortified foods are probably your best option to get Vitamin B12. Fortified cereals like bran and whole wheat oats are high in Vitamin B12, Vitamin A and folate. Fortification means the process of adding plenty of nutrients to foods that did not originally contain them. However, when evaluating fortified vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians, you need to check that they are also free of harmful additives like sweeteners. You can also go for fortified almond milk, which adds nutrients to make it a Vitamin B12 food for vegetarians. One cup of almond milk contains around 2.1 mcg of Vitamin B12, which makes it one of the best vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians.
Whey protein powder is known for meeting your protein requirements, but it provides small amounts of Vitamin B12 as well, so you can classify it as a Vitamin B12 food for vegetarians. 23 grams of whey protein powder (such as OZiva Protein & Herbs for Women), offers 5% of the daily intake of Vitamin B12. Whey protein isolate is a highly pure form of whey protein powder that holds an even greater content of Vitamin B12 (OZiva Protein & Herbs for Women contains whey protein isolate).
If you take your whey protein shake in milk or yoghurt, you create an even richer Vitamin B12 food for vegetarians and vegans!
6. Shiitake Mushroom
Shiitake mushrooms are one of the best vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians in India. But we suggest you do not rely on them too much, as they do not contain a large amount of vitamin B12. Therefore, to meet your daily vitamin B12, you will need to consume many mushrooms.
We suggest you mix them up with cottage cheese to create a salad or sabzi that meets your daily requirements of Vitamin B12 and keeps you healthy! This dish would be one of the best vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians!
One tablespoon of fully fortified yeast contains around 2.4 mcg of Vitamin B12. For better results, add this yeast to sauces, curries for a nutty flavour to add to your foods! Then you create even more delicious and nutritious vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians.
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In Which Fruit Is Vitamin B12 Present?
If you’re vegan or someone who likes taking lots of fruits and vegetables in general, you might have that question. Fruits are some of the best Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians that you can get! Here’s a list of the top ones you should add to your fruit salads now.
But one warning – fruits can make up only 5% of your recommended daily value of Vitamin B12, so only make them an addition but not the main source of Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians!
Apples are one of the most important Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians. They contain fibre, antioxidants, and flavonoids for overall health, as well as polyphenols in the peel and pulp. They’re a nutrient-dense snack delight!
It is a very useful fruit for humans as it reduces stress levels, controls body pressure, and cures constipation and ulcer-related problems. But bananas are most useful as one of the Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians that can quickly become a part of every individual’s diet.
Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, calcium, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. It is also one of the best Vitamin B2 foods for vegetarians. They are all important for a healthy body.
Blueberries are rich in vitamin B12 content, making them one of the Vitamin B12 foods for Vegetarians. It helps reduce weight, improves digestion, relieves stress, and helps with cancer and diabetes.
What’s Vitamin B12 Good for?
The reason we place so much emphasis on you consuming Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians is because of Vitamin B12 benefits. Here are 5 science-based benefits of Vitamin B12:
- Helps in red blood cell formation
- Adequate Vitamin B12 levels are crucial for a healthy pregnancy
- May support bone health and prevent osteoporosis
- Boosts energy and keeps you fresh
- Improves brain health
The truth it is, it is rare to face a Vitamin B12 deficiency if you regularly consume Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians. Your body can store 1000 to 2000 times as much Vitamin B12 as you would eat in a day, so the symptoms can take several years to appear. But the first sign is usually feeling tired, weak, and dizzy. Here are the major symptoms of B12 deficiency:
1. Yellow, Pale Skin
A lack of red blood cells (RBC) in the body (due to a Vitamin B12 deficiency) leads to pale, white skin with a yellow tinge. If you do not take enough Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians, your RBCs become too large and may not be able to squeeze through into your bloodstream.
2. Weakness and Fatigue
Vitamin B12 is responsible for your healthy blood. Your Red Blood Cells transport oxygen throughout your body, giving it energy. If you don’t consume enough Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians, you face tiredness, dizziness, and fatigue due to a lack of RBC movement of oxygen. In fact, not including Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians can
3. Nerve Problems
Imbalance in movement results from nervous system dysfunction caused due to the lack of vitamin B12 in your diet. You might experience numb and tingly hands and feet if you do not consume adequate Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians.
4. Frequent Mouth Ulcer and Inflamed Tongue
An inflamed tongue is known as glossitis and is a painful condition. There could be discoloration of the tongue as well. Some individuals experience mouth ulcers and a pricking sensation of the tongue.
5. Moodiness and Behavioural Changes
Mental health gets impacted as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency. It could lead to depression and anxiety in individuals and could pave the way for more ailments like dementia and mood disorders.
6. Decline in Cognitive Abilities
Low levels of vitamin B12 could mar your memory and ability to understand. It could also result in muscular weakness, heart palpitation, and digestive issues.
Summing Up on Vitamin B12 Foods for Vegetarians in Indians
It is difficult for many vegetarians and particularly for vegans, to maintain a diet rich in vitamin B12 foods, hence the need for Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians. The maximum vitamin B12 is found in meat and seafood, but we can make up the difference with Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians and vegans.
For vegans, fortified foods like cereals and yeast are good Vitamin B12 foods, but the are artificially manufactured and some are unreliable. If you can take dairy products, then rely on milk, cheese, paneer, yoghurt for your Vitamin B12. But vegans have to rely on fortified food, mushrooms, and fruits to meet their needs. However, fruits are not known to have a sizable amount of vitamin B12 in them.
So if you are a vegan, ensure you take proper amounts of Vitamin B12 with a combination of the abovementioned Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians and vegans.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are almonds rich in Vitamin B12?
Yes, almonds are a good source of Vitamin B12, but they do not have high amounts. Choose other Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians for an additional source.
Which vegetables are high in Vitamin B12?
Along with fruits, vegetables are one of the best Vitamin B12 foods for vegetarians. Vegetables like spinach, potato, beetroot, butternut squash, and mushrooms. Combine all of them in a vegetable salad or sandwich to get the right amount.
Which dry food has Vitamin B12?
Dry fruit is among the best sources of vitamin B12 in food. Among them are peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, figs, and hazelnuts.
Last modified: October 11, 2023