Vegetarian Food and Nutrition

5 Best Sources of Iodine for People on a Vegetarian Diet

Just like vitamins, minerals also help your body develop, grow, and stay healthy. From building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses, the body uses minerals to perform many different functions. 

And, one of the essential minerals is Iodine. So, one must get iodine-rich foods in their regular diet.

More interestingly, your thyroid gland, which has many important functions in your body needs it to produce thyroid hormones. Hence, taking products with a good amount of iodine is necessary.

The reports suggest that around 150 mcg is recommended daily intake (RDI) of iodine, especially for most adults. And, the requirements are higher for women who are pregnant or nursing.

As a fact, nearly about one-third of the population is at risk of deficiency, especially people who live in areas that have only a short volume of iodine in the soil. It is one of the major concerns we can see in European countries.

Deficiency of this mineral can lead to swelling of the thyroid gland called goiter and hypothyroidism, which can cause muscle weight gain, weakness, and fatigue.

So, scroll down to read the list of top 5 iodine-rich food sources that can help prevent the deficiency. 

1. Seaweed

Not only for iodine, but seaweed is a good source of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. In addition to that, it is also low in calories.

Moreover, we can say it is one of the best natural sources of iodine. However, based on the region in which it grew and prepared, its amount varies significantly. There are around three famous seaweed varieties such as kombu kelp, nori, and wakame.

But must say, Kombu kelp is the one which gives the highest amount of iodine, with some varieties containing nearly 2,000% of the daily value and that too in only one gram.

2. Dairy Products

Dairy products are one great source of iodine, particularly for those who follow American diets. Based on iodine content in the cattle feed and use of iodine-containing disinfectants during milking, the amount of iodine in milk and dairy differs greatly.

Under a comprehensive survey occurred in the Boston area, they measured the iodine content in 18 different brands of milk. And, as a result, they observed that all 18 brands had at least 88 mcg in 1 cup (8 ounces) of milk. Whereas, few of the brands even contained up to 168 mcg in one cup.

So, according to mentioned outcomes, 1 cup of milk can provide 59–112% of the recommended daily amount of iodine.

One of the dairy products "yogurt" is a very good source of iodine. Approximately half of the daily recommended amount can be obtained by one cup of plain yogurt.

Apart from that, cottage cheese is also one of the best sources of iodine. Around 65 mcg can be obtained by one cup of cottage cheese, whereas one ounce of cheddar cheese provides about 12 mcg only. Hence it can be said that the amount of iodine in cheese varies depending on its type.

3. Iodized Salt

It can be seen that both iodized, as well as un-iodized salt, is in abundance in the United States.

To help decrease the occurrence of goiters, or swelling of the thyroid gland, the addition of iodine in table salt began in the US, particularly in the early 1920s.

In 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt, there is approximately 71 mcg of iodine, which is 47% of the daily recommended intake. However, salt also contains sodium. Hence, one needs to be careful about its servings.

Some reports also suggest that iodine intake has decreased in the US in the last few decades. It happened because of the push of major health organizations to prevent or treat high blood pressure and also to restrict daily sodium intake.

Still, only in salt-sensitive individuals, salt raises blood pressure and which is about 25% of the population only.

4. Lima Beans

Also known as the butter bean, Madagascar bean, or sieva bean is a legume grown for its edible beans or seeds. Most commonly, Americans associate it with the popular Native American dish succotash, which mixes corn and lima beans.

Apart from iodine, Lima beans are a good source of magnesium, folate, and fiber, which makes it a heart-healthy choice. Moreover, we can say they are a relatively good vegan or a vegetarian source of iodine.

However, the amount of iodine can vary in fruits and vegetables, especially because of the variation of iodine in soil, fertilizers as well as in irrigation water.

Still, on average one can get 16 mcg of iodine that is 10% of the daily value with only one cup of a cooked lima bean.

5. Prunes

Maybe not known to all but Prunes are plums that have been dried. This is also one good vegan or a vegetarian source of iodine. Around 13 mcg of iodine, i.e., 9% of the daily value can be obtained by five dried prunes.

Apart from iodine, Prunes contains several nutrients and vitamins, such as vitamin K, vitamin A, iron, and potassium.

Final Thoughts

The foods are not only the best sources of iodine but also very nutritious and easy to add to your daily routine. Hence add them to your diet and save yourself from the risk of its deficiency. 

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