If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or follow any diet that is predominantly plant-based, chances are you may be slacking in the vitamin B12 department. This is because foods that naturally contain the most B12 are mostly meat or animal byproducts.
The good news is that you don’t have to break your diet to continue ensuring you get the vitamin B12 you need. All you have to do is keep reading and incorporate some of the food below into your diet!
Benefits of B12
Before we get into the top vitamin B12 rich foods for vegetarians, we want to remind you of why vitamin B12 is so important for your health.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient, meaning your body needs it for proper function. But your body doesn’t create B12, so it’s up to you to ensure you’re getting enough.
This is important because vitamin B12 contributes to vital functions in your body, including:
- – Forming and dividing red blood cells
- – Protecting your nervous system
- – Synthesizing your DNA
- – Giving your body energy
But even if you’re not vegetarian, you could still be at risk of deficiency. One review of 18 studies found that B12 deficiencies were common among particular demographics. 
The following groups were found to have a deficiency:
- – 62% of pregnant women
- – 25-86% of children
- – 21-41% of adolescents
- – 11-90% of older adults
Top vegetarian foods that are high in B12
Now that you know the importance of vitamin B12 and how common a deficiency can be, you understand why you should ensure you’re getting enough.
Below are some of the top vegetarian foods if you’re looking to increase your B12 intake.
Though not a singular food, but a bunch, most dairy products contain ample amounts of vitamin B12.
If you don’t eat meat, but still eat dairy, increasing the amount you eat can help optimize your vitamin B12 levels. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are among the highest dairy products containing B12.
Another great source of vitamin B12 for vegetarians is eggs. With just one egg containing about 25% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12, incorporating these into your diet can go a long way when it comes to B12 levels.
They’re also high in protein, if that’s another compound you’re concerned about due to your diet.
If you don’t eat meat or dairy or eggs, then you likely just skipped here. That’s okay, because you still have plenty of options – including fortified foods!
When a food is fortified with something, it just means that the nutrient has been added into the food to increase its nutrition.
Cereals, breads, non-dairy milks, meat alternative options – these are among the many foods that have high levels of vitamin B12 available in them. Next time you’re grocery shopping, simply take a look at the food labels. You may be surprised to see just how much B12 they contain!
Though nutritional yeast is fortified with vitamin B12, it’s worth noting on its own as it’s likely not a type of food most seek out on their own.
Nutritional yeast is a flaky seasoning that can add a depth of flavor to cooking. Many use nutritional yeast to add a cheese or nutty flavor to their favorite foods.
Plus, if you’re looking for vitamin B12, for most brands of nutritional yeast, just one tablespoon is 100% of what you need for the day!
You can add nutritional yeast to sauces, chilis, curries, or even sprinkle it on your popcorn!
Nori is an algae product – also called purple laver – which is popular in Asian countries. Coming in the form of crispy green sheets, nori has been touted as a great natural source of vitamin B12. Research has found just 4 grams to meet the daily requirements for vitamin B12 intake.
You can find nori in Asian food markets or in online shops. It’s commonly used in sushi, but also makes a great snack on its own!
Some mushrooms – including shiitake – naturally contain vitamin B12.
However, the levels are relatively low. You would need to consume about 50 grams of dried shiitake mushrooms to meet your daily requirements of vitamin B12.
That being said, you don’t need to just get your vitamin B12 from a single food source. Shiitake can simply be one part of a healthy, B12- rich diet!
Make sure you’re getting enough
If you don’t want to have to fixate on every little thing you eat and whether it has enough vitamin B12, simply take a reliable b12 supplement and call it a day!
Because even if you are taking in foods with high levels of vitamin B12, sometimes your stomach can’t properly process it and you end up getting very little to none of the B12. (You can read more about how this happens by clicking here).
This is why deficiency rates may be so high.
But our Micelle Liposomal Vitamin B12 formula shields the vitamin B12, delivering it right to your bloodstream so that it can go right to work serving your health!