11 Best Food Sources of B12
Vitamin B12 is frequently advertised on energy tablets, so you may accidentally find yourself thinking that’s all it’s good for. In reality, vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins you can consume — it’s not just for energy.
It’s essential for some of your body’s most crucial processes: forming red blood cells and DNA and aiding in the development of brain and nerve cells. Because of its role in brain and nerve cell development, Vitamin B12 is a key component of healthy cognitive functioning.
Its role in red blood cell production is a critical factor in maintaining healthy energy levels — without adequate red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body, your body simply will not be able to maintain the same energy levels.
Because vitamin B12 does not occur naturally in most plants, those who adhere to a plant-based diet are most at risk for developing a vitamin B12 deficiency. To help combat this risk, here are 11 of the best sources of B12 for a plant-based diet.
Top Natural Sources of B12 for a Plant-Based Diet
Taking a vitamin B12 supplement is definitely a good idea for plant-based eaters. With that said, it’s always best to ingest vitamins from food whenever possible. A healthy mix of whole and semi-processed foods can be key sources of B12 in your diet.
— Eggs. Without a doubt, eggs top the list — just one hard-boiled egg covers about 25% of your daily vitamin B12 intake (assuming you eat the whole thing, yolk included).
— Nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is actually one of the best sources of B12 — even including animal-based sources. It ranks fourth on the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) list of vitamin B12 sources, behind beef liver, clams, and tuna.
— Seafood. Speaking of tuna, it’s worth mentioning as the NIH’s number-three source of vitamin B12. Clams, mussels, mackerel, king crab, wild rainbow trout, and cooked salmon are all also great sources of B12 if you eat fish.
— Dairy. Milk, yogurt, and some cheeses (like swiss, for example) are all great sources of B12. If you’d rather keep the dairy out of your diet, take a look at your preferred plant milk — most are fortified with vitamin B12.
— Shiitake mushrooms. Add them to ramen, stir fry, soups, sushi — the uses are practically limitless, and they’re loaded with B12. Get them at your local supermarket or, for the best value, dried in bulk at your local Asian grocery store.
— Nori. Nori isn’t one of the best sources of B12 — you’d need to eat upwards of 13 sheets for a daily intake of B12 — but it’s good to add into your diet. Whether you eat it as a snack or a component of some larger meal (think: onigiri, sushi), nori is a solid contribution to overall higher levels of B12.
Top Prepared Sources of B12 for a Plant-Based Diet
Mindfully created, semi-prepared foods can be key sources of B12. Note that because all of the B12 in these foods comes from fortification, it’s essential to review the nutritional information on each food and brand to ensure that what you’re purchasing actually has sufficient B12.
— Fortified breakfast cereals. Most cereals are fortified — presumably to enhance their nutritional value and appeal, thereby luring more customers.
— Tempeh. Tempeh is a patty of fermented soybeans, often used as a meat substitute. The B12 magic in tempeh comes as a byproduct of the fermentation involved in its creation.
— Tofu. Tofu, naturally, has no B12. Most brands, however, fortify it with B12, making it a great source for plant-based eaters.
— Meat substitutes. Many meat substitutes, designed with plant-based eaters in mind, are fortified with B12 and other nutrients.
— Outstanding Foods. It’s simple — just buy outstanding foods (literally). Designed for plant-based, busy people, all of our Outstanding Foods snacks are one of the best sources of B12 to add to your lineup of healthy snacks.
Eat Mindfully, Source Shrewdly
For those of us accustomed to a plant-based lifestyle, eating mindfully has likely become habit. With that said, it’s important that we remember to consistently double-check the brands and foods that we purchase — when many of our nutrients come from fortified foods, savvy sourcing can make or break our nutrient levels.
Fortunately, when you shop Outstanding Foods, you won’t need to worry about double-checking. Made by plant-based eaters for plant-based eaters, we understand the importance of sourcing right and getting you the nutrients you need. Our label is a promise: flavors that you love — with the nutrients you need.