Mar 11, 2012

B12 BOOST

you may possible have heard the spiel about vegan's being unable to access the necessary vitamins and minerals blah blah blah! but this is far from the truth! an important vitamin that may be a little difficult for vegans to find is, however, vitamin b12

"Whilst there are some plant-based sources of vitamin B12, such as certain algae and plants exposed to bacterial action or contaminated by soil or insects, humans obtain almost all of their vitamin B12 from animal food" (NHMRC, 2005)

why do you need vitamin b12? well... it is important for normal blood and neurological function 

is it true that it can be stored? yes! b12 can be stored in the liver for many years (which is generally heard as good news for those recently switching from vegetarian to a vegan diet) 

so, apart from eating dirt and algae, how can i get it? how about nutritional yeast flakes! ok... ok... these don't sound very appealing (and i have certainly had my fair share of weird looks when i have talked about adding these to a dish or sourcing them in my area) but! they are an easy and really quite tasty way of boosting your b12 intake! 

so where can buy nutritional yeast flakes? in australia i would suggest your local health food store, or (if in perth and close to tuart hill) paws cafe, where they also serve some amazing vegan food! or do a quick google search online!

if your in madrid you can find these in mercadona!! (yay! i was very excited to hear this too!) your looking at around AUD$3.50-4.00 per bag (and this will go a reasonable way) and very much the same in spain (around EUR€3.50) 

but how much vitamin b12 do you need? keeping in mind your body naturally stores between 2-5mg of vitamin b12 (and only excretes a very small fraction of this daily), for men and women alike, the EAR* and RDI^ are set at 2.0μg and 2.4μg /day respectively 

how much can you access from nutritional yeast flakes? roughly 2 large heaped teaspoons of nutritional yeast flakes will satisfy the RDI set by the NHMRC 

there are also other ways of getting vitamin b12 in your diet, including fortified cereals, soy milks and mock-meat products, as well as vitamin b12 supplements

* EAR: estimated average requirement - a daily nutrient level estimated to meet the requirements of half the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group

^ RDI: recommended dietary intake - the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements ofnearly all (97–98 per cent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group

source: Australian Government Department of Health and Aging, New ZealandMinistry of Health and National Health and Medical Research Council.Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand. Availablefrom http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/

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