Are you trying to find vitamin B12 rich foods to include in your vegan diet? For foods high in vitamin B12 to eat as a vegan?
In this article we are going over a list foods that contain B12 so that you can try to consume more of them in your diet.
Becoming deficient in B12 is easily one of the biggest concerns that people have when eating vegan for beginners. And rightly so! A vitamin B12 deficiency is nothing to laugh at as this is a very important vitamin for our body with serious side effects.
Because meat is the most common place to get B12 vegans have to get a little more create with their diet in order to get enough of this vitamin.
So, keep reading to find out which foods are high in vitamin B12!
Vitamin B12 Rich Foods
Vitamin B12 plays an important part in how our body works so it is important to get enough of this vitamin in your diet.
Thankfully there are a few products that have actually had B12 added to them. Making them fortified products which is a great way of consuming enough B12.
These kinds of products make it easier to get in the recommended amount of B12 daily. Helping you to rest more easy in knowing that B12 is a stable part of your diet.
You can read till the end to find out what the symptoms of a B12 deficiency look like. As well as whether or not you should also try to take a B12 vitamin in supplement form.
One of the best food’s high in vitamin B12 is nutritional yeast!
Nutritional yeast naturally contains high amounts of B12, but it is recommended that you eat the fortified version. Just to make sure that you are getting adequate amounts.
Nutritional yeast is an inactive form of the kind of yeast that you would use in baking. It is very nutritious and is an excellent complete protein source.
Just one tablespoon of these nutritional yeast flakes can contain 5 mcg of B12 which is more then enough B12 per day!
You can easily add nutritional yeast to your meals by sprinkling it on top, adding it to soups, or in sauces.
Fortified Plant Milk
Most if not all kinds of plant-based milks are fortified with extra vitamins, minerals, and of course, vitamin B12.
This makes eating vegan for beginners that much easier as you can get enough amounts of vitamin B12 through your diet.
If you regularly consume plant-based milks try to get one that is fortified with vitamin B12 in order to get the most out of it.
If you eat enough vitamin B12 rich foods and drinks you won’t need to take a supplement of it!
Plant-based milks are easy to incorporate into your diet whether it be through baking, adding it to cereal, making creamy soups and sauces, or just drinking it plain.
This organic soy milk is a great example of a plant-based milk that has been enriched with vitamins like B12!
Fortified Breakfast Cereal
Another food that is surprisingly rich in B12 is fortified breakfast cereals. And luckily enough, most cereals are fortified with B12.
This provides a great way to get that very important vitamin into your diet. Especially since you have so many breakfast cereal options to go with!
Many cereals are also fortified with additional vitamins and minerals to make them more nutritious.
Cereal is easy to add to your diet especially if you enjoy a bowl of cereal for breakfast. But there are also other ways that you can use it such as in granola mixes, granola bars, and crushed up in the place of bread crumbs.
Some breakfast cereals that you can buy that are both vegan and fortified with vitamin B12 are:
- Cascadian Farm Crunch Cinnamon Cereal
- Natures Path Frosted Flakes
- Cascadian Farm Fruity O’s Cereal
- Natures Path Panda Puff Cereal
- Natures Path Chocolate Koala Crisp Cereal
Mushrooms are another good source of B12 that you can get naturally through your diet without having to resort to a supplement.
Most mushrooms contain some levels of B12 but there are a few that are better options. Such as porcini, oyster, parasol, black trumpet, and golden chanterelle mushrooms are all excellent options.
Mushrooms can be easily added to your diet throughout the day. They are nutritious and can add a slightly meaty texture to whatever you add them to.
Tempeh is a tradition food that is created through the fermentation of soy beans. Creating a dense almost meat like product that is a popular food option amongst vegans and vegetarians.
This is one of the best vitamin B12 rich foods that you can try as it contains considerable amounts of vitamin B12.
Tempeh is often used as a meat substitute in vegan meals by cooking it much like you would any kind of meat. Its compact form is especially good at creating a bacon substitute.
It can be easily added into your meals as a meaty addition you will just need to season it well.
Not much is known about how much B12 algae and seaweed contain but it is a promising source of B12 none the less.
Purple laver and nori were both shown to contain significant amounts of vitamin B12. It is suspected that agar, Irish moss, wakame, spirulina, and kelp also contain amounts of B12.
Many kinds of dried algae and seaweed can be found in specialty stores or in certain sections of your local grocery store.
You will most likely either hate it or love it. I personally can’t stomach any kind of seaweed or algae, but you might find it to be to your taste.
If you like the taste, seaweed and algae are great additions to vegan friendly sushi rolls!
If you like the taste of seaweed these roasted seaweed snacks might be a great option for you to get in your B12!
Why is it so Important to Eat Vitamin B12 Rich Foods?
Consuming enough B12 is something that we should all be concerned over as it is such an important vitamin to our body.
Vitamin B12 serves a role in keeping the body’s nerve system and blood cells healthy and functioning properly.
It also helps in creating our DNA and genetic material in our body’s cells. It also helps to prevent a certain type of anemia.
These are all very important reasons why you should care about whether or not you are getting enough vitamin B12 rich foods daily.
Here is an overview of what B12 does for your body:
- Prevents anemia
- Helps create DNA and genetic material
- Keeps blood cells healthy
- Keeps nerve system healthy and functioning
Most people who are healthy and under 50 years of age might not need to worry about B12 as they are probably getting it through their diet.
If you follow a restrictive diet like a vegan or vegetarian diet, are over 50 years of age, or have health issues you will want to pay more attention to it.
People from ages 14 to 50 require 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 a day. Those over 50 should take 500 mcg or even up to 1,000 mcg depending on how well they are absorbing it.
- Related: Vegan Omega-3 Sources You Need to be Eating
- Related: Important Vegan Vitamin Deficiencies to be Aware of on a Vegan Diet
Symptoms of Low B12
Most of the time you won’t show any symptoms of a B12 deficiency unless it has become severe. But there is always a chance that you might experience some symptoms none the less.
If you really suspect that you are low in B12 and are having some of these symptoms. Start taking B12 supplements immediately or get your doctor to order a blood test as soon as possible.
Some symptoms to watch for are:
- Shortness of breath
- Tingling feet
- Loss of sensations when touched
- Memory loss
- Poor balance
Most healthy people under the age of 50 will naturally get their B12 through their diet and will not need to worry over it.
But there are certain people who are going to be at a greater risk of becoming deficient in vitamin B12. Such as:
- Those on a vegan or vegetarian diet
- People over 50
- Those taking acid reducing medications
- Those with genetic mutations such as MTHFR, CBS, and MTRR
- If you have gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s or celiac disease
- Digestive tract surgeries such as weight loss surgery and bowel resection
- Those who regularly drink alcohol
These are all risk factors that can make you more likely to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you are subjected to one of these risk factors as well as following a vegan or vegetarian diet. Make sure to be extra mindful about consuming enough B12 daily. This should definitely become a priority for your health.
Should You Take a B12 Supplement?
Whether or not you decide to take a supplemented form of vitamin B12 is going to be completely up to you.
Vitamins are tricky things as we cannot know exactly how well they are being absorbed. So, there is always the risk that your body is not properly absorbing the B12 from your vitamin B12 rich foods.
Because of this I personally try to eat plenty of foods high in vitamin B12, but I also supplement my B12 once a week.
It is recommended that people get 2,500-5,000 mcg per week of vitamin B12, so I take half the recommended dose in the form of a pill.
This helps me to feel a little more safe in knowing that I am definitely getting half the recommended amount. So, if I am not absorbing enough B12 through food I have a backup plan.
How to Include More Vitamin B12 Rich Foods in Your Vegan Diet
All of the foods that we talked about above can easily be added to your normal meals throughout the day. In order for you to get more B12 into your diet without much fuss or hassle.
And these are not the only options you have as there are other vegan sources of B12 as well!
Some ways to make sure that you are consuming enough B12 rich foods in your diet is to:
- Eat more soy products
- Always get fortified over non-fortified
- Drink more fortified plant milk
- Eat more fermented foods
- Snack on healthy, fortified cereals
- Add nutritional yeast to your meals
- Eat at least one B12 rich food with each meal
B12 Side Effects
It is a rarity for people to have side effects from vitamin B12 but there is always a risk that you might experience some.
You will most likely never experience side effects even if you take too much vitamin B12. Because it is a water-soluble vitamin so any excess will be excreted through your urine.
Which is why it is usually better to consume too much B12 than not to get enough on a daily basis.
Here are a few of the side effects that you could possibly experience in a rare case:
- Skin reactions to B12 injections such as acne and dermatitis
- Complications in those with kidney disease
- High levels of B12 in the blood of mothers can have a higher risk of autism in children
Vitamin B12 Rich Foods Conclusion
I hope that this article has answered any questions that you had about vegan sources of B12.
There are more vegan foods that contain B12 then you would probably think! Which makes eating vegan for beginners less stressful!
No matter what diet you might follow, B12 is an important vitamin that we should all make sure to get enough of. As it does not always come easily through our daily food intake. Making it important to keep it in mind just in case.
Anyone can be deficient in B12, eve if you do eat animal products. So, these foods are a great option for everyone, not just vegans.
Let me know in the comments how you get your B12! Do you prefer to supplement it for do you rely on your diet instead?