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Vegetarian Sources of Vitamin B-12

Sustainable Health

Vitamin B-12 is a critical micro-nutrient. Read more about Vitamin B-12 and signs of Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Meat eaters have nothing to worry about. Most sources of meat have loads of Vitamin B-12 and they’ll get their dose one way or another. The purpose of this post is to share sources of Vitamin B-12 that are suitable for different genres of vegetarians; i.e. those who eat

  • eggs, milk and vegetables
  • milk and vegetables and
  • only vegetables

Remember, we’re only speaking of Vitamin B-12 here. The foods mentioned have other nutrients too, some of which may not be suitable for specific individuals. For example, if you have more than optimum levels of blood cholesterol, your doctor may not want you to eat 2 eggs a day. Please keep this in mind and if you have any medical condition, speak with your doctor before changing your diet. 

Most people between 31-50 need about 2.4 micro grams a day of Vitamin B-12 [1]. If you’re not in this age range, please click here to see what’s your Daily Recommended Intake of Vitamin B-12. (PDF)

If you include eggs in your diet, the following will give you about 2.93 micro grams of Vitamin B-12 [2]

  • Two hard boiled eggs in the morning (approx. 100g)
  • A glass of whole milk in the morning (approx 200g)
  • A glass of buttermilk in the afternoon (approx 200g)

If you only eat dairy and vegetables (no eggs), the following will give you about 2.72 micro grams of Vitamin B-12 [2]

  • A glass of whole milk in the morning (approx 200g)
  • A glass of buttermilk in the afternoon (approx 200g)
  • A glass of whole milk in the evening (approx 200g)

If you only eat vegetables (no milk or eggs), the following may help you get your daily dose. There aren’t many significant vegetable sources of Vitamin B-12. Just load up on mushrooms at every opportunity if the options below aren’t to your liking. [2]

  • Portion of tofu (approx 100g), 2.4 micro grams of Vitamin B-12
  • Glass of plain soy milk (approx 200g), 2.46 micro grams of Vitamin B-12

Feel free to divide the portions I’ve mentioned in smaller portions. For example, if you don’t like milk, or cannot drink 200 grams in one go, divide it into two portions of 100 grams each. Also, the timings mentioned are meant to conform to what I think are normal routines. If your routine is different, have the mentioned foods at times suitable for you. All in all, just make sure you consume all of that regardless of when and how, okay?

References:

  1. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Vitamins
    Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies
    http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRI-Tables/2_%20RDA%20and%20AI%20Values_Vitamin%20and%20Elements.pdf?la=en
  2. USDA National Nutrition Database, SR28
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