Cobalamine is especially important for the proper functioning of the organism; this is something that we have said many times and that we will not stop repeating. Therefore, it is normal for people with an eminently vegetable diet to wonder if it is enough to eat vitamin B12 plant foods.
Unfortunately, these are very few and the amounts of B12 they contain are minimal. Therefore, the solution to maintain our cobalamin levels is to take food of animal origin or complement our vegan or vegetarian diet with other products that we will see below.
As we have pointed out, very few plant-based foods contain vitamin B12. And, in addition, those that contain it, are in very low quantities. Some have only traces of this micronutrient. Therefore, even if you take vegetable foods with B12, you don’t get enough of them for your body to function properly.
Food of vegetable origin with cobalamin
Let’s now go over the vegetable foods with vitamin B12:
Algae: There are certain types of algae on the market that are edible. Some do contain cobalamin. The best known of all is the nori seaweed. Others are seasoned seaweed, sweet, slake, kombu or akame.
Mushrooms: Also some types of mushrooms contain this vitamin. The most popular of all is the Trumpet of Death, with a content of 2.2 micrograms per 100 grams of dry product. The same amount offers the golden batter. The lion mane fungus and shiitake also have some contribution.
Vegetables: There are some vegetables that contain cobalamin, although they are just traces. Therefore, its content in B12 is minimal. Vegetables with the highest amount of this nutrient are broccoli, asparagus and soya bean sprouts.
Tempeh: This is a food not too well known in Western countries, although its popularity is gradually increasing. It is nothing more or less than fermented soya beans. Among the various plant foods rich in this nutrient, tempeh is one of the most cobalamin-rich foods. In addition, it has many health and body benefits.
There are no plant-derived foods that contain acceptable levels of vitamin B12, this is a reality that we must know. We know that this is an unpleasant news for various sectors of the population, such as those who follow vegan and vegetarian diets, but also for those who are following a low calorie diet or for convalescent patients after surgery.
Neither lettuce, onion, carrot, artichokes or chard contains this micronutrient. Nor are other vegetables, even if they are rarer or more difficult to find. Luckily or unfortunately, the solution for taking cobalamin without eating food of animal origin (or taking too few amounts) involves supplementation with B12.
Fruits with more vitamin B12
Fruits deserve special mention. There is a belief that fruits are the solution to all evils, that they are good for everything and that they have everything the body needs. This statement cannot be any more erroneous. They are indeed very rich in vitamins and fiber, but they do not contain all the vitamins that exist, let alone include other essential nutrients.
So much so that the fruits do not have the slightest trace of vitamin B12. We find those that are rich in vitamins A or C, but unfortunately, B12 is of animal origin, so there is no variety of fruit that contains vitamin B12 among its properties.
Food of animal origin with B12
Food of animal origin is food that actually has sufficient amounts of micronutrient to meet the body’s needs.
The chicken breast
In order to have enough cobalamin and the rest of the nutrients, and to enjoy good health, both in the short and long term, it is essential to follow a rich and varied diet, which includes both vegetable and animal foods, as long as you have not chosen any other type of nutrition, such as vegan or vegetarian.
How do you get good levels of vitamin B12 without eating animal foods?
Cobalamin deficiency can lead to chronic health problems in the medium and long term, especially in children and the elderly. Of course, if anyone does not take it naturally by following a vegetable diet, they are totally susceptible to these problems. Therefore, it is clear that vegan and vegetarian people should supplement their diet with either enriched foods or other supplements.
At present, diets without animal foods are booming. Thus, certain companies have opted to develop foods enriched with vitamin B12. Until not many years ago, the variety of this type of food was very limited; but today, they are more and more widely available. Some of the most popular are soy drinks, shakes or cereals enriched with this nutrient.
However, it is worth pointing out that these foods also do not contain the levels of vitamin B12 that the body needs to function properly, neither in the short term nor in the medium or long term; to achieve this, we would have to feed ourselves exclusively on this type of food, moreover, in most cases these fortified foods are endowed with high doses of sugar, which makes them harmful to health. Therefore, they can serve as a supplement, yes, but never as a substitute for an adequate vitamin supplement.
Another trend that has emerged with the increase in the population of vegan and vegetarian diets and the need to take vitamin B12 externally is that of fortified soils. Some brands sell their products as cultivated on cobalamine-enriched land, which is nothing more than a fraud.
It is assumed that these are soils to which this nutrient is added and that, therefore, the plant foods grown there contain it. It’s about cheating that we mustn’t fall into. In fact, there have already been cases of poisoning because, in addition, indications of consumption suggest that the food should be taken without washing or cooking so that it does not lose its extra properties.
The best way to ensure sufficient vitamin B12 intake in the body is to take supplements. Enriched foods are by no means sufficient.
The optimal way to consume this nutrient supplements for vegan or vegetarian people is through pills or tablets weekly, 1000 or 2000 micrograms in cyanocobalamin format. In addition, they are very inexpensive so they are affordable for all pockets.
Similarly, those people who eat a diet without food of animal origin should be placed in the hands of a medical expert or a nutritionist to advise them on the needs of their body, both in terms of B12 and to know more about the other nutrients and their adequate intake.
By way of conclusion, it should be stressed that plant foods of vitamin B12 are in no way sufficient to provide the body with the amount it needs to function properly.
In the case of vegan and vegetarian diets, supplementation is essential in order to avoid this micronutrient deficiency in the medium and long term and, with it, its harmful repercussions for health in the medium and long term.
In addition, a healthy and balanced lifestyle is very important for good physical and mental health.