Best Vitamin B12 Rich Foods for Vegans

Updated on September 22nd, 2020
Vegan Sources of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most critical essential vitamins your body requires to stay in tip-top shape, but why exactly is it so crucial?

It helps your body fight fatigue while keeping your blood and nerve cells healthy to produce DNA. Not getting adequate B12 in your diet can cause a deficiency and possible further health problems such as heart disease and anemia(1).

Energy – B12 aids the production of RBC (red blood cells), which carry oxygen all around our bodies and give us the strength to take on the day ahead. 

Digestion – B12 supports the absorption of vital nutrients and healthy digestion.

Stress – B12 also contributes to the nervous system’s normal functioning, reducing anxiety and stress levels.

An active lifestyle –  if you aspire to maintain an active lifestyle brimming with vigor and vitality, you need to have the proper amount of vitamin B12.

Unfortunately, we don’t naturally produce B12, so we have to get it from our diet foods. Moreover, the less frequently you consume B12, the more your body will be craving it – it’s essential to take in little amounts frequently as part of a balanced diet.

Don’t worry if you don’t think you’re getting adequate – deficiency symptoms take a long time to show- slowly start to introduce more vegan B12 sources into your diet. 

Is B12 more critical for vegans?

This is a common misconception. B12 is essential for vegans, omnivores, straight carnivores, and everything in between – we all need it to survive. However, meat, dairy, and seafood are exceptionally high in B12, and as we vegans opt for a cruelty-free diet, it’s essential to get our prescribed dosage from other sources. 

[Read: Benefits of Vitamin B12]

How much vitamin B12 do you need?

For an average person, taking 3mcg of B12 is enough, though more might be required if you’re older or have other health problems. It’s also essential to note, as herbivores, we’re often told to pay specific attention to vegan foods high in protein and also B12.

While they’re both crucial, it’s most vital to have a balanced diet. Don’t just get your daily dose of protein and B12 from a block of tofu and then spend the rest of your day binging on chips!

Unfortunately, B12 isn’t naturally present in vegan food… but don’t panic!

Vitamin B12 used to be found naturally on the surface of root vegetables such as potatoes and beetroot and drinking water. Nowadays, with the increase of chemicals and pesticides being used in food production, this is no longer the case—damn chemicals!

B12 is produced naturally by some bacteria and also in the colon of animals and humans. So what is the problem we hear you ask? We produce it in our colon, found downstream from our small intestine, which unfortunately means we are unable to absorb this critical vitamin.

Animals, however, store vitamin B12 in their muscles and liver then passing it through to their milk and eggs. We thus get the vitamin by eating these parts of the animal – cruel & gross, yes!

Do not panic, us ethical eaters can still quickly get our prescribed intake from B12 fortified drinks and foods. Check out these Best Vegan Sources of Vitamin B12  food list below for lots of yummy ideas!

Vegan Sources of Vitamin B12

1. Vegan cereal with B12

It’s a well-known breakfast choice for people across the world, and why wouldn’t it be as it’s loaded with B12 goodness. Vegan fortified cereal is an excellent way to get our daily intake before you’ve even left our house in the morning. Ensure to read the label, though, as some brands pack more B12 than others.

[Also Read: Healthiest Cereal Benefits]

2. B12 Fortified Vegan Milk

An accompaniment to your B12 rich cereal is fortified milk. Many plant-based kinds of milk have added B12, which makes getting your prescribed intake that much simpler. You can add milk to your recipes or tea throughout the day, and before you are aware of 

 it, you’ve got all the B12 you require without even having to toil. 

Many plant-based types of milk are fortified with B12, from almond to soy, coconut to cashew. The most environmentally friendly options are oat, soy, or rice milk – so these are the ones we love. Altogether, this infers a bowl of cereal in the morning can be one of the finest b12 sources vegans can consume.

[Also Read: Oat Milk Benefits]

3. Marmite

Whether you like it or dislike it, Marmite is a great go-to choice if you want to increase your B12 intake. We love it and often find ourselves smothering with toast or overloading sauces with the stuff. Marmite is loaded with B12, so tuck in and don’t let the haters stop you from doing your thing!

4. Nutritional Yeast

Without a doubt, this is our favorite vegan food with B12. We include it to pretty much everything; it’s inexpensive, lightweight, and useful for taking on camping or backpacking. We think we hit our B12 with this stuff alone…

5. Tofu or Tempeh

Another one of our absolute favorites! Tempeh and tofu and are fantastic ways to get more B12 into our vegan diet. Each brand is different, so be sure to read the labels to be certain of its per serving. We cook a lot of tempeh and tofu at home and even take blocks on camping trips.

Not only is it an excellent B12 food, but it’s also a complete vegan protein source – winning!

[Also Read: Vitamin B12 for Weight Loss]

Bottom Line

The amount of B12 in each source will vary; some are intended to have daily, while others might be weekly. Take a read on the packaging to make sure you have the right amount at the right time.

A varied and well-planned vegan diet will meet your requirements and provide a safer and healthier source of vitamin B12 than obtaining it from animal products.

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