Q:

What are some good vegetable sources of vitamin B-12?

A:

Quick Answer

B-12 does not occur in fresh vegetables; however fermented vegetable foods such as tempeh contain small amounts of B-12. The blue-green algae spirulina also produces small amounts of this necessary vitamin. Seaweeds, while not technically plants, also contain small to moderate amounts of B-12, depending on the species.

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Full Answer

Tempeh is a soy-based food that originates in Indonesia. Indonesians traditionally make tempeh by injecting cakes of whole soybeans with a beneficial mold. The mold grows between the gaps in the soybeans, forming a solid mass. In addition to producing B-12, the mold also breaks down certain proteins in the soybeans, making digestion easier. Tempeh is the only soy-based food that has appreciable levels of B-12.

Spirulina, an algae that grows in ponds and other places with still water, produces B-12 in very small amounts. Because it is not a very appetizing food and only has a very small amount of B-12 by volume, most manufacturers process spirulina into pills, powders and solutions.

Seaweed, which is a relative of spirulina, also produces B-12. However, the amount of B-12 that seaweed produces is typically minimal, which means getting an adequate amount of B-12 requires eating a great deal of seaweed. Eating large amounts of seaweed is unhealthy because of the large amounts of sodium and iodine the food contains, making this a rather poor source of B-12.

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