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Avoid Iodine Deficiency: Get All the Iodine You Need on a Vegan Diet | Soul in the RawBoth iodine deficiency and iodine toxicity have a very significant impact on your thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism. Issues with your thyroid can result in dramatic weight loss and gain, metabolic and cholesterol problems, and more.

Iodine deficiency and toxicity are common on a vegan, plant-based diet, so be sure to read these simple recommendations in order to make sure you avoid it, and facilitate the proper functioning of your hormones.

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the low-end of your neck. Is it part of your endocrine system, which is crucial for producing, storing, and releasing hormones into the blood. The hormones related to the thyroid impact metabolism, growth, and body temperature.

Both iodine deficiency and iodine toxicity are very dangerous to the body, and it is easy to fall into both, especially if you are vegan. Be sure to read these simple recommendations for making sure you attain just the right amount of iodine, and protect your thyroid.

Download the Plant-Based Iodine Deficiency Prevention Guide

Download a PDF summary guide to learn how to prevent iodine deficiency and iodine toxicity on a vegan diet. The guide includes a list of iodine-rich vegan foods. You can hang this summary on your fridge to remember this important nutrient!

Avoid Iodine Deficiency: Get All the Iodine You Need on a Vegan Diet | Soul in the Raw

Iodine Deficiency

Avoid Iodine Deficiency: Get All the Iodine You Need on a Vegan Diet | Soul in the Raw

The daily needs of iodine are 110 µg (micrograms) for ages 0-6 months, 130 µg for ages 7-12 months, 90 µg for ages 1 to 8, 120 µg for ages 9 – 13, 150 µg for ages 14 and up. For pregnancy, it is 220 µg, and 290 µg for breastfeeding women. The safe upper limit for iodine is 1,000 micrograms per day, and 300 for kids.

Iodine deficiency symptoms are related to thyroid issues, including mood swings and depression, low energy, memory issues, PMS, headaches, swelling of the neck, feeling cold, dry skin, weight gain or loss, hair loss, and more.

If you are iodine deficient or consume an excess of iodine, it can result in a goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid gland. A goiter is a symptom of both hypothyroidism (slower metabolism and weight and cholesterol increase) and hyperthyroidism (weight loss, and increased metabolism).

An iodine deficiency can also impact the brain development of a fetus, and there may also be a connection between too much iodine and acne.

Several foods, which are extremely healthy, exacerbate iodine deficiency. This means that if you consume soy, flax seeds, raw cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower, maca, cabbage, mustard, and more), all known as goitrogenic foods, and consume too little iodine, your iodine deficiency will be even worse.

The consumption of many of these raw cruciferous vegetables may block the thyroid’s capacity to absorb iodine. The amount varies greatly, depending on the cruciferous vegetable. For example, you can eat almost as much cauliflower as you want, but just three cups of raw mustard greens a day are too much due to the impact on iodine and thyroid function.

Instead of avoiding healthy goitrogenic foods, be sure to get enough iodine in your diet, and will be explained below.

Iodine Deficiency and Iodine Sources

Avoid Iodine Deficiency: Get All the Iodine You Need on a Vegan Diet | Soul in the RawTo prevent iodine deficiency, be sure to consume sources of iodine from plants. While iodine used to be in the soil, the content of iodine varies greatly. Foods grown near the ocean are usually higher in iodine.

In the United States, 76 µg per 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 gram) is added to iodized salt. ¼ teaspoon of iodized salt provides 580 mg of sodium. Sea salt is not necessarily iodized. However, because salt is one of the leading killers of disease, it is better to stay away from it (or decrease intake below 1500 mg) and stick to other sources of iodine.

The best source of iodine is seaweed, because it contains the same amount of iodine as seafood, without fat-soluble pollutants found in the ocean.

Iodine in dairy is very dangerous, and it comes from a surprising source. Common farming practices include using iodine-containing disinfectants to wash udders, dip teats, and clean milk tanks. Dipping the teats in iodine disinfectant can increase pus content in milk by 60% in cows with staph mastitis! This iodine content is completely unregulated.

You can easily get enough iodine by eating just two nori sheets, or a half teaspoon of arame or dulse.

Great sources of iodine include nori, dulse, and wakame. These foods also reduce breast cancer risk and wakame aids in lowering high blood pressure.

The Health Benefits of Iodine-Rich Plant Foods

Avoid Iodine Deficiency: Get All the Iodine You Need on a Vegan Diet | Soul in the RawIn addition to providing iodine, intake of seaweeds aids in the prevention of lifestyle-related chronic diseases. In a recent study in Ecuador, just 6 grams of wakame (including the natural sodium, so it’s even more impressive) led to a massive drop in blood pressure, especially for those who were suffering from very high blood pressure. It also alleviated gastritis (stomach inflammation), and chronic headache in some of the study participants.

Seaweed can even work better than chemo for clearing cancer cells! A population study comparing women with breast cancer to women without, found that consuming just 1 sheet of nori per day can cut a woman’s chance of breast cancer in half. This is probably because the more seaweed you eat, the less estrogen you have in your system, all via impacting gut bacteria!

Wakame also lowered blood pressure in hypertensives. Just two teaspoons of seaweed salad for a month dropped blood pressure by 14 points. And after two months, consumption of that much seaweed was associated with up to a two-inch thinner waistline – not a shabby benefit.

In addition, eating sea vegetables, which cover 70% of the planet, provides incredible phytonutrients found nowhere else. They provide you with fiber, unique carotenoids, and polysaccharides, and several polyphenol defense compounds – each of which has anticancer properties.

Sea vegetables contain lots of B vitamins and minerals.

Iodine Toxicity

Avoid Iodine Deficiency: Get All the Iodine You Need on a Vegan Diet | Soul in the RawToo much seaweed of any kind may increase the risk of thyroid cancer, because of getting too much iodine.

There are also two kinds of seaweeds you should completely stay away from. In particular, do not consume hijiki, as it is high in arsenic, or kelp and kelp supplements, as it is too high in iodine.

Also avoid gargling with iodine solutions, because this can overload the thyroid with iodine. Additionally, be careful of products, like soy milk, that is made with kombu. This can lead to iodine toxicity as well.

Iodine Deficiency in Vegans and Iodine Supplementation

Avoid Iodine Deficiency: Get All the Iodine You Need on a Vegan Diet | Soul in the RawStudies have found that on average, vegans aren’t getting enough calcium, iodine, and B12, however, omnivores are deficient in calcium, iodine, and 5 more nutrients.

If you are vegan, you shouldn’t feel inferior in your dietary choices – just smarter about them, just like anyone should.

Iodine is particularly important, as it is very easy to have an iodine deficiency and an iodine toxicity as a vegan.

According to a 2011 study, USA vegans had much lower iodine than vegetarians, yet neither had abnormal thyroid functions. In Europe, where salt is minimally iodized, deficiencies are more common, and there are even indications of abnormal thyroid function among vegans.

Iodine is crucial for fetal neurological development, and iodine deficiency in the fetus can impair cognitive ability. As such, Dr. Greger recommends that pregnant women take an iodine supplement during pregnancy to be absolutely certain that they are getting enough iodine.

Nascent iodine is a supplement form of iodine that is easily and naturally absorbed in the body. It has been used since the 1920’s topically, to help skin tissue and kill bacteria, and also for urinary-tract bacterial infections. It was also used to support normal blood pressure levels, and in dentistry.  Detoxadine is a vegan-friendly, deep-earth sourced nascent iodine product, and the best iodine supplement I have found:

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Download the Plant-Based Iodine Deficiency Prevention Guide

Download a PDF summary guide to learn how to prevent iodine deficiency and iodine toxicity on a vegan diet. The guide includes a list of iodine-rich vegan foods. You can hang this summary on your fridge to remember this important nutrient!

Avoid Iodine Deficiency: Get All the Iodine You Need on a Vegan Diet | Soul in the Raw

How will you be including iodine into your diet from now on? Comment below!

Avoid Iodine Deficiency: Get All the Iodine You Need on a Vegan Diet | Soul in the Raw

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Soul in the Raw is a high-raw vegan recipe + education blog. Marina creates quick, easy, and delicious high-raw vegan recipes and blogs about the health benefits of a high-raw plant-based diet. You can get more of Marina’s awesome recipes, tips, and lifestyle techniques on the free Facebook group: Raw Souls .