Vegan Iodine Foods - Iodine-Rich Diet
Iodine is an essential trace element required for the production of thyroid hormones, which are involved in numerous metabolic processes. To prevent iodine deficiency, it is important to consume iodine-rich foods daily to meet the daily iodine requirement. Especially during pregnancy, it is crucial to ensure an adequate iodine intake to avoid developmental disorders in the child 1.
Some plant-based foods such as soy and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower contain goitrogens. These inhibit the processing of iodine in the body. 6.
We have compiled a list of some selected iodine-rich foods that should be regularly consumed as part of a healthy diet. These are plant-based or vegan foods high in iodine.
The iodine content in everyday foods is generally very low. Most of the iodine is found in algae, which absorb iodine in high amounts from the world's oceans. Among this group, kelp (kombu) contains the highest amount of iodine, ranging from 241 to 4,921 mg of iodine per kg, followed by wakame algae with 93.9 to 185.1 mg/kg and nori with 29.3 to 45.8 mg/kg. 7. These values indicate that the daily iodine requirement for an adult (150 µg) can be met with just 1 to 4 grams of the mentioned algae.
The iodine content in any type of algae typically ranges from 16 µg to 2,984 µg per gram. 8.
In comparison: The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) considers "dried algae products with an iodine content of 20 mg per kilogram and higher as not marketable, as they can harm health" 9. For this reason, consuming algae is only advisable in extremely small quantities. Both the daily requirement and the upper limit of iodine intake for adults of 1,100 µg per day can be easily exceeded by consuming algae, which can lead to thyroid dysfunction 10.
On the other hand, spirulina algae contain very little iodine since they are mostly cultivated in fresh water, not seawater.
Sea Salt with Algae
Iodized table salt is not recommended because the iodine is usually of unnatural origin (industrial waste) 11. Many industrially processed products have iodized salt added to them. In vegan products, healthy sea salt is increasingly being used instead. Sea salt naturally contains some iodine. There are already sea salts with algae available in specialty stores, which can ensure a good supply of iodine for the body.
Additional Iodine-Rich Foods
Other iodine-rich foods include garlic, soybeans, sesame seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, pumpkin, and beets. 12. White navy beans (32 µg per half cup) and potatoes with skin (1 medium potato, 60 µg) also contain iodine. 13.
Dried plums (13 µg per 5 pieces), apple juice (1 cup contains 7 µg), lima beans (half cup, 8 µg), green peas (half cup, 3 µg), and bananas (medium size, 3 µg) contain iodine in small amounts. 14. The iodine content in foods depends on the iodine levels in the soil and is subject to regional variations. 15.
Iodine-containing tablets or dietary supplements should only be taken in consultation with a doctor. When taken in high amounts, they can cause side effects and interactions with medications, as well as promote an excess of iodine, which can lead to thyroid health damage similar to iodine deficiency. Refer to the 16 for more information.