Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential micro-nutrients that our body need for overall well-being. This water-soluble vitamin plays a key role in production of red blood cells and contributes to proper functioning of nervous system. It also helps to strengthen our immunity and boost hair and skin health. However, this essential nutrient is not produced in our body naturally and we have to rely on the foods we eat for its supply. Hence, health experts often advise following a well-balanced diet to protect our body from vitamin B12 deficiency.
Also known as cobalamin, this vitamin is widely found in dairy products and non-vegetarian foods including meat, fish, chicken and eggs. This brings up a question, how the vegetarians and vegans get their daily dose of vitamin B12. Although, medicines and supplements have been one of the most common answers since ages, a recent study has found that even vegetarians and vegans can increase their vitamin B12 intake through their diet without popping any pills. How, you ask?
A research at University of Helsinki has found that fermented dough (read: the dough used to prepare bhature and naan) can be a good source of vitamin B12 for the ones who avoid consuming animal-based foods.
"In situ fortification of B12 via fermentation could be a more cost-effective alternative. And as a commonly consumed staple food, grains are excellent vehicles for enrichment with micronutrients," explained Chong Xie from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki.
As per a report by University of Helsinki, the researchers used 11 different grain-based materials and "fermented them with Propionibacterium freudenreichii - the only B12-producing micro-organism accepted for food products." It was found that it produced significant amount of vitamin B12 in most of the fermented grains.
The study further stated that after a 3-day fermentation process, rice bran and buckwheat bran were seen to have the highest amount of vitamin B12.
So, now on, instead of popping supplements, you may think of including these fermented foods for getting your daily dose of vitamin B12.
Eat healthy, stay happy!