The Best Vegan Sources Of Iodine
With more people going vegan than ever before, it's essential to make sure your nutritional needs are being met. While veganism can be a perfectly sustainable lifestyle, it can’t be denied that most people get their nutrients, like iodine, from fish and other meat sources. To save you from hours of planning and research, we went ahead and did it for you. In this article, we’ll be introducing you to the best iodine-rich foods you can include in your diet.
What is iodine, and why is it important to consume iodine-rich vegan foods?
Iodine is an essential trace mineral that is naturally found in the soil and the ocean. High amounts of iodine can also be found in table salt, fish, seafood, dairy and eggs. Your body needs Iodine to function normally, but unlike other minerals, it can’t make it on its own. Instead, your body relies on your consumption of Iodine.
Iodine also helps the body produce thyroid hormones. These control our metabolism, cells, brain and bone growth.
Symptoms of iodine deficiency:
- Dry, flaky skin. This is a tell-tale sign of hypothyroidism. A low amount of hormones can cause dead skin cells to build up, resulting in dry skin.
- Depression. The lower amount of hormones can worsen existing cases of depression. In less severe cases, this can manifest as fatigue.
- Weight gain. This is due to hypothyroidism, which refers to the lack of thyroid hormones. This can slow down a person’s metabolism, which in turn worsens their ability to burn fat, leading to weight gain.
- Hair loss. A lack of iodine means your body won’t have its regular amount of hormones running through it. Eventually, this will lead to hair follicles growing slower and hair shedding at a faster rate.
Benefits of iodine:
- Better thyroid function. Iodine's primary role is to ensure proper thyroid function through the regulation of the thyroid hormones. Meeting your body's iodine needs can prevent low thyroid hormone production and hypothyroidism. Did we mention your thyroid produces hormones that are essential for your metabolism?
- Improved cognitive function in children. Iodine is so critical in a child’s development that a lack of it can put them at risk of intellectual disabilities.
- Improved development during pregnancy. Iodine has a strong link to proper brain development in the womb. This study found that babies with mothers who had an iodine deficiency during pregnancy were more likely to grow up with lower IQ’s, among other deficiencies. It’s recommended that pregnant women ingest 220mcg of iodine a day, while non-pregnant adults only require 150mcg a day. This amount goes up to 290 mcg when mothers are nursing their babies.
Vegan Sources of Iodine To Look Into:
- Dried Sea vegetables.
Seaweed, kelp, nori, wakame and dulse are all great options to consider. The reason they contain high amounts of iodine is because, like fish, they live in seawater. However, you need to take care not to consume too much of these. With a litre of ocean water containing up to 50 mcg of Iodine, and a single dried sheet of these vegetables containing up to 60 mcg of Iodine, it’s easy to consume too much, so make sure you read the ingredient labels carefully.
- Strawberries, Prunes and Cranberries.
Sweet-tasting berries like Strawberries not only contain high amounts of Iodine, but other essential vitamins and minerals as well. A small serving of strawberries can provide you with 8% of your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI). Other good fruits to include in your diet are Apples, Oranges and Bananas.
- Corn, green beans and potatoes.
Vegetables don’t have as much Iodine as the other sources on this list, but they’re not completely useless. Green beans provide you with 2% of your RDI and lots of calcium. If you’re looking into including potatoes in your diet, leave the skin on them to enjoy more of their Iodine content.
- Leafy greens.
Spring greens and watercress are both excellent sources of Iodine that are easy to include in your diet. You can include them as a side dish or throw them into a salad if you're on a time crunch.
- When all else fails, go for Iodized salt.
It’s a shame that Himalayan salt gets all the headlines. Using a bit of Iodized salt in everything you make is an excellent way to include more Iodine in your diet. This way, you can increase the Iodine content of meals that didn’t have much of it to begin with.
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We hope this article has helped you find out how to include more Iodine in your diet! For more related articles, visit https://sg.japanvegantown.com/blogs/the-vegan-blog-by-japan-vegan-town.