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Top 5 Vitamin B12 Sources for Vegetarians

By Mariela
July 10, 2023
6 minutes

Vegetarians are at a higher risk of being Vitamin B12 deficient because it’s present more in animals than plants. People choose to become vegetarians for different reasons – some due to health benefits, animal welfare concerns, religious and personal beliefs. These differences explain why there are different types of vegetarians.

For a functional central nervous system, healthy mental state, and healthy red blood cells, vegetarians should eat foods rich in Vitamin B12. This vitamin is water soluble and naturally present in unwashed organic produce, and supplements. Vegetarian diet being mostly plant-based tends to be lower in cholesterol and saturated fat.

As a vegetarian, make your diet richer in vitamin B12, and take dietary supplements.

Why Vegetarians Need Vitamin B12 Sources in Their Diet

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in our bodies and since it’s commonly found in animals and unwashed vegetables, vegetarians should look for alternative ways to enrich their diets with it. Due to changing times, no one eats unwashed vegetables. Washing vegetables kills the bacteria found in vitamin B12.

Why Vegetarians Need Vitamin B12 Sources in Their Diet

Vegetarians need vitamin B12 to;

  1. Develop brain and nerve cells – Vitamin B12 facilitates the formation of neurotransmitters which act as the messengers to transmit messages to the nerves . This improves communication between the brain and the nervous system.

  2. To avoid its deficiency – Since vegetarians don’t eat animal products, they are at a high risk of having vitamin B deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes trouble walking, anemia, loss of appetite, weak muscles, and nausea.

  3. For the formation of red blood cells – For hemoglobin to be formed from the stem cells, there has to be vitamin B12.

  4. Build healthy DNA – Vitamin B12 is required to keep DNA conformation and methylation patterns ongoing and thus maintain DNA healthy . Its deficiency can lead to DNA damage.

  5. Speed up body reactions – By speeding up body reactions, B12 does increase metabolism and reduces weight gain. This works by converting glucose in our bodies to ATP molecules.

Types of Vegetarians and Their Diets

There are 6 different types of vegetarians and each group has its diet limitations. Whichever group you’re in, your body deserves all nutrients.

  1. Lacto Vegetarian – Lacto vegetarians include dairy products in their diet but exclude other animal-derived ingredients like eggs, fish, meat, and poultry. Dairy products refer to milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese.

  2. Ovo Vegetarianism – You’ll find eggs in their diets but not other animal products like dairy products, poultry, meat, and seafood.

  3. Flexitarian diet – Occasionally, flexitarians include fish, animal products meat. They strive to eat plant-based foods and get proteins from plants rather than animals.

  4. Lacto-ovo-vegetarian – In this group, no one should eat meat and fish but can include eggs and dairy products.

  5. Pescatarian – Some vegans add fish and sea foods into their vegetarian diet. On top of these, other includes eggs and dairy. This type of vegetarian is called pescatarian. You won’t find poultry and red meat in their diet.

  6. Vegan – Vegans don’t accept any animal products in their diet. Foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and even honey are bad for a vega. In principle, any product consumed or otherwise used is linked to animal exploitation or cruelty.

Vitamin B12 Sources for Vegetarians

Our bodies require small amounts of vitamin B12 per day. The absence of which can lead to anemia, headaches, fatigue, and mental impairment. All you need to prevent these symptoms is to add in 2.4mcg of vitamin B12 per day if you’re an adult. For pregnant women, add 2.6mcg, and for breastfeeding 2.8mcg.

Let’s now learn the best vitamin B12 sources for vegetarians.

  1. Fortified Breakfast Cereals

Fortified Breakfast Cereals If you’re a great fan of fortified breakfast cereals, oatmeal is good for breakfast –rolled or instant oats are good for a vegan diet. According to Insider , a 28g serving of Quaker whole hearts oat contains 1.3 mcg of vitamin B12. Eating oats improves heart health, supports healthy digestion, and relaxes artilleries.

The simplest vegetarian oatmeal recipe everyone would enjoy contains rolled oatmeal, water, berries, chia seeds, and vegan yogurt. You can exchange berries with bananas.

Oatmeal Breakfast Recipe

  • I cup-rolled oats

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 banana

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • pinch of salt

How to prepare:

Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, put them into your cooker, and adjust the heat level to medium. Wait till the mixture boils, and turn down the heat to low. Keep stirring for 3-5 minutes. Cook under that gentle heat as you stir until the oatmeal mix thickens. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Other cereals for a vegetarian breakfast are salt or sugar muesli, cornflakes, shredded whole wheat cereal, and bran flakes.

  1. Eggs

eggs As an ovo-vegetarian, you’re allowed to include eggs in your diet. Eggs are a rich source of vitamins B12, B2, and protein. A single boiled egg contains 0.6mcgs of vitamin B12. If you opt for a vegetarian egg recipe, additional vitamin B12 sources will be necessary.

Eggs supplement vegetarian diets with high-quality protein and other essential minerals due to the missing animal products in their diet. To increase the amount of vitamin B12 in an egg diet, include beetroot and broccoli in the salad sandwich.

An egg salad sandwich enriched with fresh herbs will provide the vitamin B12 needed in a vegetarian’s body.

Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe

  • 3 teaspoons of Greek yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 4 slices of toasted whole bread

  • ¼ red onion

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs

  • Pinch of salt and pepper

  • 1 teaspoon chopped capers

How to prepare:

Mix yogurt, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add your eggs and mix till they combine, and then add onion, dill, and capers. Lastly, divide the mixture among the toasts and spice with cracked pepper.

  1. Soy Milk

soy milk Soy milk naturally doesn’t contain vitamin B12. However, fortified soy milk contains vitamin B12 for vegetarians. Equally, fortified coconut milk contains a significant amount of B12. Vitamin B12 reduces the risk of osteoporosis, improves heart health, supports weight loss , and provides our bodies with omega-3 fatty acids our bodies don’t form on their own.

Our nutritionists recommend one to two servings of fortified soy milk per day. Like cow milk, you can take soy milk with other food servings.

The amount of vitamin B12 content varies from company to company. But with a simple 5ML bottle of liquid vitamin B12 containing 200mcg, you’ll need a few drops to fortify your soy milk with vitamin B12.

Soy Milk Recipe for Vegetarian

Only three ingredients are necessary when making fortified soy milk; soybeans, water, and liquid vitamin B12.

How to Make Soy Milk

First, soak for roughly 12 hours, drain and rinse your soybeans. Put the soybeans into a blender and add 2 -3 cups of water. Turn on your blender and blend until the mixture is almost smooth. Use a fine mesh strainer or a nut milk bag to strain the mixture into a pot. Boil and skim the form as you stir over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool, then add a few drops of liquid vitamin B12.

  1. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional Yeast Whether fortified or not, taking nutritional yeast adds over seven times the amount of vitamin B12 needed in a vegetarian diet. It also contains high-quality protein, minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamin B-3. We recommend you pick the fortified.

Yeast does increase one’s energy, supports a healthy pregnancy, and boosts the immune system. You can buy nutritional powder yeast to add to a vegetarian cheese sauce or a tofu scramble.

Alternatively, you can prepare crispy potato vegan cheese sticks .

  1. Fortified Almond Milk

Fortified Almond Milk As a vegetarian, you need 500ml of fortified almond milk to get 2.2mcg of vitamin B12. As vitamin B12 gets absorbed into the body, other nutrients like vitamin E, calories , calcium, fat, and protein get absorbed. Unsweetened fortified almond milk is a good antioxidant.

For healthy consumption of almond milk, blend it with smoothies, add oatmeal and sweeten with honey, make a plant-based chia pudding, or use it to make a creamier coffee.

Here are the different ways you can use fortified almond milk:

  1. Make almond milk–based smoothies

  2. Use almond milk as the cooking liquid to prepare raspberry almond oatmeal

  3. Use almond milk as an alternative to cow milk to prepare French toast

  4. Make light smashed potatoes with almond milk


Vegetarians need to enrich their diets with ingredients containing vitamin B12. Among the top sources of vitamin B12 for vegetarians are fortified almond milk, oats such as Quaker Oats and Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Toasted Oats, fruits such as bananas, blueberries, and apples, vegetarian vitamin B12 supplements such as HUM Nutrition B12 Turbo and Jarrow Formulas Methyl B12 1000 mcg Chewable Tablets.

Enriching vegetarian food with vitamin B12 can take any form – using nutritional yeast to make raw cashew cream cheese, preparing Sweet Potato, spinach, and tofu scramble, and making cranberry stuffed mushrooms.

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