Tuesday, 13 October 2015

VEGETARIANISM/VEGANISM & IODINE - What's the Deal?

Whilst perusing the latest issue of Healthy Food Guide magazine (October issue), I camw across their article on Iodine and why we all need it in our diets. Iodine is not a nutrient I've ever really paid any attention to and the only thought that springs to mind when I think of Iodine is that delightful brown stuff that they coat you in if you have an operation. So I read on and noted that the majority of the top 20 foods high in Iodine listed in the article where mainly fish, dairy, egg or meat based. I'm vegetarianbut I also try to limit the amount of dairy I consume (for intolerance reasons), along with the amount of eggs, so where does that leave me?


Iodine is only needed in the body in small amounts, with the daily recommended value for adults being only 140mcg (micrograms - with a microgram bein one millionth of a gram). However, the article discusses the vital role it plays in our health, including affecting the functioning of the thyroid gland and hormone production in relation to the thyroid, brain development; particularly in pregnant women and young children, metabolic support and energy production.

From doing a little of my own investigation, there is some research evidence to suggest that individuals who follw a vegetarian or vegan diet are more likely to be deficient in Iodine due to foods containing higher quantities of Iodine generally being fish, dairy or meat based. So what foods are out there that contain reasonable Iodine levels that are part of the vegetarian or vegan diet?

Iodine can be found in sea produce such as seaweed (hence the above photo!), although the Association of UK Dieticians recommend that you only eat seaweed once per week as the amount of Iodine is concentrated and too much Iodine can be also cause thyroid issues (along with having too little). 

The humble white potato is also known to be a source of Iodine, containing around 60mcg per medium spud. Although all advice I've see suggests leaving the skin on as that's where a lot of the nutrients and minerals are contained. Cranberries also contain a significant amount of Iodine, around 400mcg per serving, so I guess this is one to watch out for in having too much Iodine. 

Other fruit and veg that contain low levels of Iodine include: green beans, sweetcorn, strawberries, bananas, pineapple and rhubarb. The Vegan Society recommend that the most reliable way to ensure your Iodine intake is to supplement (naturally they recommend their own supplement for this), but the I guess you may then end up taking in more than you need. Personally I believe you should seek as much nutrition as you can from food sources and then supplement if needed - but that's just my opinion and I guess you have to go with whatever is best for you!

If you would like your very own subscription to Healthy Food Guide, you can get one here.

Is Iodine a nutrient you've ever given much thought? Do you think you're getting enough? I'd love to hear your thoughts either in the comment below, or you could drop me a tweet @mygenerallife.

While you're here, why not check out my previous post: Kenwood kMix - My Thoughts and a Sweet Treat. 


*I'm a magazine.co.uk official blogger, meaning that I receive a free subscription in return for writing about magazines. This post also contains affiliate links*

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, I've never thought about it. Didn't realise it was something we needed - reminds me of science lessons!
    I eat a lot of sweetcorn, strawberries and pineapple, so my guess is that I'm getting some in my foods but I still don't really know if it's 'enough' aha. Will have do look into this more!

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