Vitamin B-12 or Cyanocobalamin is important for your overall well-being that encompasses your skin & hair, Central Nervous System, Generation of RBC and WBC, and probably every organ benefits from it. Vitamin B-12 addresses complex medical concerns, such as Adrenal Fatigue, inappropriate enzyme production and hormonal imbalances. You can reap all of these benefits by consuming one or more of the foods from the group like Meat, Poultry products, and the good old Eggs. Moreover, many bodybuilders consider meat and its product as a prime source of essential nutrients. However, Vegans have a problem here because dairy or meat is not their cup of tea. Vegetarians still have an edge but Vegans have a lot more to deal with but not anymore.
Daily-recommended dose: approx. 2.4 mcg for both male and female (Age: 14+ years)
Here are 7 best sources that you can totally rely upon for the magical B-12:
- Soy Products
Vegan Meat or Meatless Meat is the new fad in the market these days. Companies like Gardein and Beyond Beef are selling fantastic soy based vegan products like burger patties, lamb curries, and pulled pork etc. These are completely delicious and the best part is they can easily provide you the recommended dose of B-12 needed to run the bodily functions. Another great source of B-12 could be fortified soy milk, which as creamier and scrumptious as cow’s milk. You can use soy milk to make your protein shakes, tea, coffee, or even cakes and pastries, if you feel like consuming these items. Moreover, this will not affect your digestive system negatively if you have lactose intolerance or Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Take-Away: You can buy the milk from grocery stores in main markets or mall. Soy milk comes in tetra packs. Make your own by adding soy (grains) and enough water in a blender/juicer.
- Nutritional Yeast
This could be a tricky pick as not all brands sell fortified yeasts. Also known as Savoury Yeast or Nooch, the deactivated yeast is made using sugarcane and beet molasses. The main source of energy or survival source for the yeast is the sugar content. Nutritional Yeast is packed full of nutrients and most importantly B- Complex vitamins that are not available in all foods. While meat-eaters have a plethora of sources to get their dose of B-12, vegans and vegetarians can make use of this savoury item to compensate for the vitamin. The condiment has a nutty cheesy flavour that can be sprinkled onto salads, curries, and for thickening sauces. According to a series of tests done, Nutritional Yeast is a proven source of 9 grams of protein, 4 grams of fibre, 0.5 grams of fat, and 290 percent DV (daily value) of B-12. You can also get a good dose of carbohydrates and other water-soluble vitamin. You can search for the food item online or get it anywhere in health food stores. You would be surprised to know that Nutritional Yeast is a great source of 18 amino acids that your body cannot produce. This makes it an absolute important food source for vegan bodybuilders.
Take-Away: There are 2 important points to take note of:
- Fortified Nutritional Yeast has B vitamin content that ranges anywhere between 150 percent for B12 to 720 percent for riboflavin. This could be a higher dose than what your body needs or can handle, therefore, sprinkle no more than a tablespoon.
- The gluten-free nature makes it apt for people with digestive issues or aversion to Wheat or grains.
- Nut Milk
Nuts are scrumptious that adds taste to your sweet delicacies. However, not all of us are aware that Nut milk or milk made out of blending certain nuts can deliver a good amount of B-12. Companies like Silk sells Almond and Cashew milk that has a beautiful creamy texture to it, so if you cannot make your own milk then consider buying Silk or any brand of your choice. Speaking of nutritional facts, Almond Milk has a lot to boast of and starting with B-12, a cup of this particular milk variety can give you 60% of the Daily Value of B-12. You can add Almond milk to your breakfast cereal, cake, puddings, or drink it as regular milk. The creamy texture will blow your taste buds away. As a vegan bodybuilder, you need not worry about nutrient intake, as the milk will offer you 50 percent of DV calcium. So now go ahead, prepare your protein shakes, and enjoy the delicious flavour.
Take-Away: Here are some delicious goodies for you:
- Coconut milk is a good contender but if you are trying for weight-loss and gain lean mass, stick to Almond milk. Coconut has a natural cholesterol-surging property.
- Combine with Goat’s milk to refrain Oxalates from forming kidney stones. Avoid pasteurized cow’s milk.
- Fortified Cereals
Fortification is a process of adding nutrients to a particular food item that are lacking in it. This is a simple definition of this often-misunderstood word by the prestigious The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’. Companies like Kellogg’s make breakfast cereals and rice crispies that are enriched with B-12 and by consuming these goodies, you can easily get the DV of the vitamin. You have to be conscious of what you are picking up as these cereals often come loaded with sugar and preservatives that can do more harm than good. The best antidote is to choose gluten-free and sugar-free alternatives. Another choice could be fructose based cereals because fructose is less damaging to the system.
Take-Away: Interested in buying the cereals? Check this link for a list of brands.
Do Not Forget This ..
Eating whole foods, fresh fruits, and aforementioned food items can be an ideal way of ingesting essential nutrients and majorly B-12. However, if you want to level up in the dosage or feel that because of a certain age, b-12 dose is inadequate, go for supplements. It is very normal for vegans to twitch their nose about the thing but there are companies that make good quality and animal-product free supplements. People who are above 50 years of age may not be able to absorb B-12 from the food and might require an extra kick. In that case, B-12 supplements can help their bodies. These supplements are available flavours because why not.
The ideal situation could be to involve supplements with the meal plan. This little tweak can help you reach your goals without failing to gain benefits from B-12.
Vineeta Tiwari is a software professional turned writer who has deeper interest in wellness and health community. She loves Yoga, running, diet, and alternative treatments. Her aim is to make people know and understand that Mother Nature has everything to heal and cure every possible ailment bugging them right now. Apart from this, her knowledge and interest in trades and real estate has also led her to contribute in websites like Inman. Connect with her at Healthxp.in.