To B or Not to B? How to Get Adequate Vitamin B12 as Part of a Vegan Lifestyle for the Over 60s

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Hello Vegalicious Ones,

This following post on seniors and the importance of B-12 Vitamins comes to us via Jessica Walter. She asked if I would share this post with you, my readers. Jessica initially sent me the following note:

“I am writing because my recently widowered paternal grandfather has taught himself to cook after 50 years of not having to (with our help of course). He has had to learn a lot and part of this is learning which food substitutes are healthy and which are not. Now he is cooking all the time, and quite often, inviting us over for his latest experimental meal – even if some are a bit more miss than hit.

As I am also a freelance health and food writer, I have teamed up with a small senior lifestyle advice site, and worked with them to develop a complete guide how to develop 7 eating and drinking habits that will improve the life of any senior citizen.”

I thought this was really wonderful and will share Jessica’s other link at the end. Enjoy!

 

farm fresh vegetables

 

To B or Not to B? How to Get Adequate Vitamin B12 as Part of a Vegan Lifestyle for the Over 60s

The popularity of veganism has risen considerably over the last few years, with research indicating that 36% of US consumers are opting for milk and meat alternatives. A vegan diet is appealing for a number of ethical reasons and is a very healthy option, with 35% of Americans regarding it so.  It’s also environmentally friendly, and aids weight loss. Yet vegans must be vigilant to make sure that they consume sufficient nutrients; this is particularly relevant to the elderly. Studies have revealed that vitamin B12 specifically is lacking in those that adopt a vegan diet in later life.

Here are some ways in which you can convert to this lifestyle without compromising your vitamin B12 intake.

The Risks

Dementia, deafness and blindness can be a result of a vitamin B12 deficiency, and the best method for preventing these is an uptake of fortified foods or supplements.  Symptoms of deficiency in B12 include poor memory, loss of energy, tingling, numbness and blurred vision.

Milk

Fortified milks such as almond and soya can provide adequate vitamin B12, and are now readily available in supermarkets and health food stores. Alpro almond milk generates less CO2 than dairy milk. 100% plant based, it also contains vitamin E. Alpro soya milk is available in light, organic, and whole bean versions. Containing 15% of the nutrient reference values, it’s rich in protein, lactose-free and non-GMO, making it the perfect choice for seniors who want to improve their eating habits.

Nutritional Yeasts

Brewer’s and nutritional yeasts are an excellent source of this B vitamin, yet are not to be relied on as your only source. If you do want to try supplementing your diet with yeast, there are various support formulas that you might wish to experiment with. As an alternative to cheese, they are very versatile –  can be used on veggies, as a gravy thickener, on pasta and as vegan meat substitutes.

Meat Substitutes

Meat substitutes are becoming more widely consumed, even by meat eaters seeking a healthy change in their diet. There are many imitation types of bacon, chicken, beef and turkey which can be found in health food stores and online. In some cases, you may also find them in your local grocery store.

Breakfast Cereals

Many cereals are fortified with several vitamins, and provide a good source of vitamin B12. From muesli packed full of dried fruit and antioxidants to the more traditional and famous brands, there’s bound to be a cereal to suit your needs. Another tasty breakfast option for vegans is toast with homemade vegan butter or margarine, which has up to 72% less saturated fat than butter and is rich in Omega 3.

Overall, vegans who supplement their diet with fortified B12 products are less likely to suffer from a deficiency than meat eaters.  The Institute of Medicine states that “Because 10 to 30 percent of older people may be unable to absorb naturally occurring vitamin B12, it is advisable for those older than 50 years to meet their RDA mainly by consuming foods fortified with vitamin B12 or a vitamin B12-containing supplement.”

 Thank you again for this excellent article, Jessica! I would like to add that everyone needs to take some form of a B12 supplement whether they’re vegan or not, but especially if they are vegan!

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About urbanveganchic

I'm an urban chic woman, who is passionate about educating others about the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based vegan diet, cancer prevention & survival, as well as art & life. I love adventures and travel. As an artist and a teacher, I care deeply about healthy living, being a conscious steward of our planet, and being kind & respectful towards animals. Learning about a vegan plant-based diet has been like discovering a new country and falling in love with it, so if I sound like I'm enamored you now know why! As a world traveler, I truly wish I had discovered this beautiful new country twenty years ago! Better late than never, as they say, cause there's no going back now! Born and raised in Scandinavia. Proud owner of a tripod cat & a foxy little pup. Speak four languages...some better than others. Working on the fifth one. We are all either part of the problem or the solution! Health & Happiness to you! ~UrbanVeganChic

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