Vitamin B12 Foods for Vegetarians:
Vegetarians are health-conscious people who take care to ensure they get the nutrition they need through fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, as well as dairy products or eggs.
However, there’s one nutrient that can be difficult to find in plant-based foods: vitamin B12.
This blog post will focus on the 10 best sources of Vitamin B12 foods that vegetarians can add to their diet in order to maintain healthy levels of this important vitamin. Let’s start by defining what Vitamin B12 Foods are and why they’re so important.
Cooked beans are rich in vitamin B12 and high in protein. A half-cup serving of cooked black beans, for example, provides 5 percent of your daily value (DV) of vitamin B12 and 8 grams of total fat.
Try adding a cup or two to your next stir-fry or meatless chili. Tofu: If you’re a vegan who is following an otherwise healthy diet, try to get some vitamin B12 from foods fortified with it, like soy milk and cereals; by eating foods with vitamin C at meals; or by taking supplements.
A type of edible seaweed is particularly rich in vitamin B12. Hijiki, a brownish-green seaweed typically sold dried, contains more than 2 micrograms per 3 grams.
Nori, a dark green and purple variety with crisp texture, contains 1.3 micrograms per gram. To boost your intake from just seaweed alone, consider adding it to homemade sushi rolls or roasted brussels sprouts or bok choy.
Both recipes call for about a cup of hijiki or nori respectively.
3) Nutritional Yeast
One of my favorite vegetarian food products is nutritional yeast. Loaded with eight different kinds of amino acids and naturally high in fiber, vegan protein powder and fiber, plus lots of B vitamins, including vitamin B-12, nutritional yeast is one of those healthy vegetarian foods that I recommend everyone try.
An ounce (28 grams) provides 3 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber and about 100 calories. It’s also rich in a number of minerals: iron (38 percent DV), zinc (33 percent DV), selenium (19 percent DV) and copper (10 percent DV).
Nutritional yeast flakes are grown on molasses or beet sugar instead of grains. Some brands are fortified with extra vitamins; check to make sure yours is fortified if you’re concerned about getting enough nutrients.
Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans. It has about three times as much vitamin B12 as tofu and about ten times more than beef.
You can buy tempeh in pre-packaged, vacuum-sealed bags or make it yourself at home with soybeans and a starter culture—it’s really easy to do!
It’s also possible to find raw, organic tempeh online. Tempeh is also high in protein and fiber while low in calories, making it an ideal meat substitute for vegetarians.
As an added bonus, tempeh is typically fermented before being eaten; fermentation increases levels of vitamins like B6 and vitamin K2.
5) Vegan Mayo
Vegans can get their fill of vitamin B12 by using vegan mayonnaise. Just one tablespoon contains 2.4 micrograms, or 38 percent of your daily requirement.
Vegans can also eat chlorella and nori seaweed in abundance to meet their needs, while lacto-ovo vegetarians (those who don’t eat meat but do consume dairy products) can get their fix with cheese and yogurt.
Quinoa is another great source of vitamin B12 because it’s a complete protein—it has all nine essential amino acids you need to stay healthy.
This delicious sesame paste made from ground, toasted sesame seeds is an excellent source of vitamin B12.
One tablespoon contains a whopping 4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12—that’s 20 percent of your daily needs! You can use tahini as a healthy spread on bread or veggies, or enjoy it with hummus for a delicious snack.
7) Plant Milks
If you’re a vegetarian, make sure to include a variety of plant milks in your diet. These should be fortified with at least 25 percent of your daily value of vitamin D and 300 percent of vitamin B12.
Depending on where you live, other fortified foods may also be available, including certain brands of breads and cereals that contain added nutrients like calcium and iron.
It’s important to read food labels to ensure you get enough vitamins each day – even if you’re a vegetarian.
8) Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds
These are actually packed with a good amount of vitamin B12. These seeds may not be your first thought when you think of B-complex vitamins, but they are great to have on hand because they offer up more than just a nice dose of vitamin B.
Both these seeds provide an excellent source of protein and are both very good at soaking up excess water in your gut—which is always a plus when you’re trying to lose weight.
Just be sure that you know exactly how much food is going into your stomach before adding any more to it (especially if it isn’t raw).
Some recipes call for chia or flaxseeds, which can bulk up your meal without significantly increasing calories or fat content.
9) Hemp Seeds
Vegans need to be very careful about their intake of vitamin B12, as it is found in almost all animal-based products. Hemp seeds are one of few foods that are naturally rich in vitamin B12.
And they’re delicious, too! Just a quarter cup provides 2.5 times your recommended daily intake of vitamin E and 3 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein.
Soak 1/4 cup of hemp seeds overnight before using them in your morning smoothie or snack on them raw throughout the day or stir them into oatmeal.
A little salt can really make these nutritional powerhouses pop! Hemp seeds have a nutty flavor similar to sunflower seeds, making them great additions to salads and main dishes like soups and casseroles.
Avocados are jam-packed with healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients like folate, potassium, and vitamins C and E. They’re also a good source of vitamin K.
A medium-sized avocado will have about 23% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 – that’s well over 100% of your RDI if you eat just half! In fact, avocados have one of the highest concentrations of vitamin B12 among all fruits (even more than beef).
To get maximum health benefits from avocados, make sure to eat them ripe. The fruit will be slightly soft when you press it gently but should not be mushy or smell sour. For an added nutritional punch add some guacamole to your lunch or dinner!