Vegans and Iodine

Seaweed is a natural and plentiful source of iodine for vegans

Seaweed is a natural and plentiful source of iodine for vegans

A couple of months ago we looked at the rise of veganism. In this post we examine how vegans can get their daily dose of iodine, a mineral essential to a healthy life.

Vegans and Iodine are not two topics you would generally expect to see together. Except, that is, when it comes to diet and healthy living. Everyone needs a good regular source of iodine. It's critically important for the thyroid gland and is proven to aid normal thyroid function, normal growth in children, and normal behaviour of our metabolism, our cognitive functions, our nervous system and our skin.

Iodine intake is a slightly tricky issue for vegans, who avoid meat, fish and dairy products. They can't get it from the soil in most cases so they have to look elsewhere. A couple of studies from 2011 highlight the risks of low iodine for vegans.

The publication lists 9 foods that are rich in iodine. digs even deeper to find 25 iodine-rich food types. Let's take a look at some of them to see their suitability for vegans.

  • Turkey breast. Meat, so no good
  • Cod. No that's a fish, no good
  • Shrimp. Same again
  • Tuna. See above
  • Milk. Dairy is no good for vegans
  • Eggs. Oops, dairy.
  • Yoghurt. Same again
  • Iodised salt. If you can find it, it will help, but we'll all trying to cut down our salt intake, right?
  • Lima and Navy Beans. Not the easiest to find, and would you want them every day?
  • Green beans. Half a cup will give you 2% of your RDI of iodine, hardly progress...
  • White bread. Highly processed, high in carbohydrate value, and high GI, so not great in any quantity  
  • Prunes. The last resort fruit, surely, and with unwelcome toilet-based side effects if you have them every day
  • Bananas. A great superfruit, but too much of them and we can succumb to the reverse of the prune issue...
  • Some other fruits and berries are good though!

Which leaves, if you pardon the pun, seaweed. Yes, our old friend the sea vegetable, which you can eat whole or else use as an ingredient in other foods, which in smRt's case is 100% organic, 100% Irish and sustainably sourced. Dried, milled seaweed ingredients can be used in a range of vegan-appropriate foods, from vegan breads to pastas, sauces and dressings. Seaweed is also a natural glutamate, a flavouring that enhances your foods and helps you reduce the amount of salt you use to do the same thing.  

Vegans can check out our recipes page for great-tasting vegan meals using iodine-rich seaweed ingredients, or you can consider our range of smRt pastas where we've done all the work and put the right amount of seaweed in, ready for you to take out of the pack and cook for a few minutes.