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Iodine: What It Is and Vegan Sources

Iodine: What It Is and Vegan Sources

Iodine has gotten a lot of attention lately, and with good reason. It’s an essential part of your diet, yet not enough people are aware of this key nutrient or what role it plays in maintaining your overall health. 

Vitamins and minerals are essential part of any healthy diet but when you are following a vegan / plantbased diet you need to ensure are not missing or low on important minerals like Iodine.

What is iodine? Why is it important and what role does it play in your body functions? What should you eat as a vegan to that is a natural source of iodine?

Read on to find out everything you need to know about iodine, including its benefits and how you can make sure your body is getting all the iodine it needs to function properly.

What is iodine?

Iodine is an essential trace mineral that the body needs and only enters the body in iodine-rich foods because your body does not produce it and can only get it through your diet, fortified foods, or supplements.

Iodine is an essential part of your diet and plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormones, which are essential to many processes in your body. Iodine deficiency can lead to decreased thyroid hormone production and hypothyroidism, which can cause serious damage to your body’s metabolism and can also cause other health problems.

Iodine is a mineral that is found in every cell of your body. It helps maintain normal growth and development, as well as regulate metabolism. The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce hormones that are essential for life. If you have enough iodine in your diet, you can prevent goiters (swelling or enlargement of your thyroid gland).

Why is Iodine Important?

Iodine role in the body is to make thyroid hormones, which regulates metabolism, neurological function, muscle function, protein synthesis, and immune function.

Iodine has many different roles to play in your body, but the most important of these roles relates to your thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland produces hormones, known as thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which regulate your metabolic rate and affect how your body responds to stress and adapts to temperature changes. The production of these hormones depends on adequate levels of iodine.

Where is Iodine found?

Iodine is a mineral naturally found in the soil and the ocean and  naturally present in some foods.

It is most commonly found in seafood because marine animals get the iodine from seawater. Making edible seaweed like wakame (brown seaweed such as kelp)  have a concentrated rich content of iodine.

Iodine levels in vegetables vary dependant on the amount that is present in the soil it is grown in.

Iodine Rich Vegan Foods

Iodine is an essential nutrient but can be difficult to find in a vegan diet. However, it is possible to consume enough of iodine for healthy functioning of your thyroid gland.

These foods are high in iodine: sea vegetables (such as kelp), potatoes, avocado, goji berries and coconut water. To make sure you’re getting enough each day, incorporate these foods into your diet every day. Cooked seaweed or sea vegetables is also highly nutritious because they contain loads of minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium.

Seaweed – Kelp(Alaria), Dulse, Kelp, Nori (Laver)
Beans – Haricot beans (Navy), butter bean (Lima) and soybeans.
Nuts – Peanut, Hazelnut, walnuts
Seeds – Sesame, sunflower seeds, pine nuts
Grains –  Barley, enriched bread 
Vegetables – Green Beans, spinach​  Corn, Potatoes, Swiss chard, Spring Greens & Watercress
Fruit – Strawberries, Banana, Prunes, & Cranberries.

You can get vegan sea kelp supplements


Louise Burton-Payne

Passionate about feeding my body a plant-based vegan food to benefit my health, save the planet and protect animals.

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