We have often heard about the benefits of vegan diets, from lowering levels of cholesterol to being better for weight-loss and lower blood pressure, to name a few health boosts. But a lack of important vitamins can be damaging, even if you are sticking to your vegan lifestyle. One of the must-have nutrients you could be missing is B12.
The problem with B12 is that it is commonly most found in meat and dairy, so it can be difficult to source enough of it as a vegan. However, here are some important sources of this nutrient and what you need to know about it.
- Heart Damage Prevention
Even a plant-based diet can be harmful to you if you do not achieve enough vitamin B12 on a daily basis. A study by Taiwanese researchers found that the arteries of people who didn’t eat meat were as inflexible as those found in people who did. Scarily, both groups displayed thickened carotid arteries. This is thought to be because of a compound called homocysteine.
- Other Deficiency Dangers
Along with problems to arteries, possible health issues associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Anaemia - Nerve damage that can’t be reversed - Neuropsychiatric disorders - Autoimmune diseases
This is why it’s of the utmost importance to get enough vitamin B12. Great vegan sources of this nutrient can be found in:
- Easy-to-find B12 supplements
- Fortified foods such as refrigerated soy milk
- Certain breakfast cereals such as oats that are not only vegan but also provide you with important nutrients
The good news is that adults only need 2.4mcg (micrograms) of B12 a day. To give you an idea of how this translates into food portions, bear in mind that one cup of a fortified almond or oat beverage contains 1.0mcg of B12. If you feel you are not getting enough of your B12 vitamin, chat to your doctor who will be able to prescribe you with supplements that can make it easier for you to prevent a deficiency.
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