For a healthy physical and mental state, a balanced diet plays an important role. Our body requires various micronutrients to build up a healthy body structure. Among the various vitamins, vitamin B is an essential nutrient.
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is a powerful, water-soluble vitamin. It is crucial for a range of body functions including the production of healthy red blood cells (RBC) and neurological activity to elevate mood. It is mainly absorbed in the stomach and extra vitamin B12 is stored in the liver and can be used whenever the body needs it.
Daily requirement of vitamin B12
According to the National Institutes of Health, the daily required dose of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg and slightly higher in pregnant and lactating females is about 2.8 mcg.
Benefits of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse of energy. It is very beneficial as it plays various roles from DNA synthesis to the prevention of anemia. In every function of the body, vitamin B12 plays an important role. Below are some important benefits –
- Formation of red blood cells (RBC)
- Prevent major birth defects
- Prevent anemia
- Support bone health
- Prevent age-related eye problems
- Enhance mood and lowers the depression
- Improve heart health
Healthy vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 –
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that cannot be produced by our body, so you need to get it from outside. Most of the time it can obtain from animal products. Hence, vegans and vegetarians have trouble consuming enough vitamin B12. Here we enlisted some healthy vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 –
Yogurt is bliss for vegetarians as it is one of the best sources of vitamin B12 for them. A cup of plain yogurt can provide almost 28% of vitamin B12. The study suggests that vitamin B 12 in yogurt can absorb easily than vitamin B12 in chicken or meat. Plain Yogurt is best in reducing the symptoms of vitamin deficiency in many patients.
2: Milk and other dairy products
Milk is loaded with vitamin B12 as well as protein, calcium, and minerals. Milk-products such as cheese, paneer are also potent sources of this excellent vitamin. Milk can absorb fast and easily in the stomach than other sources.
3: Fortified cereals
This is the best option for vegan people to get vitamin B12. Fortified cereals such as bran and whole wheat oats are high in vitamin B12 as well as folate, iron, and vitamin A. regular intake fortified cereals helps to increase vitamin B12 levels in your body.
4: Fortified non-dairy milk
Soy and almond milk are not natural sources of vitamin B12, they are usually fortified to make them a source of vitamin B12. Daily one cup of soy milk or almond milk contains 2.1 mcg of vitamin B12.
5: Nutritional yeast
Fortified yeast contains lots of vitamin B12. A small amount of this yeast can give a nutty flavor to food. One tablespoon of fully fortified yeast contains 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12. For better results, you can add this fortified yeast to sauces or curries.
Nori is an algae product that contains a good amount of vitamin B12. It is also known as purple laver, commonly eat in Asian countries. As per studies, 4 gram of dried Nori is sufficient for daily requirement. You can have it as a simple snack or use it in sushi.
If you are eggitarian, then this would be the best option to get vitamin B12. It is also high in vitamin B2, proteins, and calcium. The study suggests that egg yolks have higher levels of vitamin B12 than egg whites. Therefore, it’s recommended to eat the whole egg. You can have hard-boiled eggs for your breakfast or you can add in soup.
Though there are limited food items of vitamin B12 for vegetarians, you have to add them in your diet daily to avoid deficiency of vitamin B12.
People with vitamin B12 deficiency
If you are not taking vitamin B12 properly from your diet, you may start developing a deficiency of this essential nutrient. Vitamin B12 deficiency is the commonest yet slow-going process. It can affect both physical and mental levels. Here are some sign and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency –
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of concentration
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty in walking
- Digestive system problems
- Pale skin
Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient for the healthy survival of the Individual. It can be found in various vegetarian foods such as fortified cereals, dairy products, non-dairy milk, etc. Whenever possible you have to include them in your diet to avoid deficiency.