Spinach to chickpeas: Best sources of Vitamin B12 for vegetarians
Plant-based foods don’t contain Vitamin B12 naturally, so people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet need to make sure they get this vitamin to avoid a deficiency.
Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in formation of red blood cells and DNA and its deficiency may cause anaemia or nervous system injury leading to an array of health issues from numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, memory loss, depression to loss of appetite, constipation and diarrhea. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin found substantially in animal-based foods like meat, dairy and egg. Plant-based foods don’t contain Vitamin B12 naturally, so people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet need to make sure they get this vitamin to avoid a deficiency which can lead to serious health problems like pernicious anaemia. (Also read: Why to include Vitamin B12 to your diet)
As the human body doesn't produce vitamin B12, experts suggest you include it for an overall healthy diet. Here are some Vitamin B12 enriched vegetarian food that can be a part of your everyday life suggested by Dietitian Natasha Mohan.
A superfood, Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients that help you with your overall growth. A versatile leafy green, Spinach can be used to make a wide range of dishes from soups to smoothies.
Experts suggest including beetroot in your daily diet for wholesome and healthy food consumption as it is enriched with iron and is also a storehouse of Vitamin B12.
Chickpeas are the best substitute for those who don’t eat chicken. Along with Vitamin B12, chickpeas are loaded with fibre, protein and several other essential nutrients that make chickpeas an ideal addition to your diet.
Known to be an amazing food to improve your gut health because of the probiotics, Yoghurt is loaded with Vitamin B12 as well. You can also find a lot of Vitamin B12 in low-fat milk and paneer. For vegans, you can replace milk with soy milk and paneer with tofu to get the benefits of Vitamin B12.
The whey water found after curdling milk is usually thrown away. But this water contains essential proteins, minerals, and vitamins. This whey water can be used to cook dal and knead the dough as well to get most of its benefits.
"You can either get Vitamin B12 from animal-derived foods, i.e., dairy and eggs or from fortified foods as well. On some occasions, mushrooms and algae can also cover your Vitamin B12 requirement. Vegetarians should be mindful of their Vitamin B12 intake all the time as this vitamin is very important for the body and can be found less in those who don’t eat meat," concludes Dietitian Natasha Mohan.