Have you been feeling more tired of late, struggling to lose weight, or just not feeling like yourself?
It could be worth ensuring you are getting sufficient iodine in your daily diet.
The mineral iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function and overall health. Iodine is most commonly found in seafood, iodised table salt, fortified bread and previously in dairy products. If you follow a vegan or plant predominant diet it's important to ensure you are getting enough.
How much iodine do you need?
Age in years Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) - Iodine per day
1 to 8 90 ug
9 to 13 120 ug
14 to > 70 150 ug
Pregnancy 220 ug
Adapted from National Health and Medical Research Council
Why do we need iodine?
The thyroid gland requires iodine to produce hormones that are essential for growth and development, metabolism, and mental function. An iodine deficiency can impair thyroid hormone production, a condition known as hypothyroidism. Fatigue and muscle weakness, among other symptoms, are common symptom of hypothyroidism.
How can I obtain sufficient iodine on a plant based or vegan diet?
One option is to choose iodised salt. About 1/2 teaspoon of iodised salt provides around 120 ug to 150 ug iodine. Sea salt and other specialty salts are not usually iodised, so it's important to check the label if you're not sure. It's worth noting that some people may need to reduce salt intake for health reasons, so this may not be the best option for everyone.
Another great vegan source of iodine is seaweed. Sea vegetables are naturally rich in iodine and can be found in many forms. It is important to not over consume seaweed, as too much iodine can actually be harmful. Kelp is particularly rich in iodine and easy to exceed the RDI, so wakame, dulse and nori are a better options.
Vegan Iodine sources include:
Sea Vegetables Serve size to provide approximately 150ug iodine
Wakame 2 - 3 teaspoons
Dulse 1 - 2 teaspoons
Nori. 1 - 2 teaspoons
Adapted from Smyth (2021)
Testing and Supplements:
If you are concerned about your iodine intake or lack of energy, a urine test can determine your iodine status. It's important to note, that healthy thyroid hormone production also requires selenium and tyrosine among other nutrients. Brazil nuts and firm tofu provide good amounts of these nutrients.
Iodine can also be taken as a supplement, however I would recommend first testing your iodine levels as recommended above.
If you want support to improve your nutrition and energy, book in for a free 15 minute phone consultation to see how I can help.
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As a plant based nutritionist, I am often asked about protein on a plant based diet. The thing is, if you are consuming sufficient calories from a varied whole foods diet, you are more than likely getting enough protein. To understand where the research is at with optimal protein intake, read on.
A one day eating guide focusing on protein.
1.2g of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended for optimal health (PMID: 29635313). So if you weigh 70kg, you should aim for around 84 grams of protein per day. This should be calculated on your healthy body weight.
If you are looking for muscle growth on a training program, up to 1.6g per kilogram of bodyweight is recommended (DOI:10.1136/bjsports-2017-097608).
The following one day, whole foods plant based diet, provides:
Protein - 81.9g, including Leucine 5.3g
This diet exceeds recommended amounts of fibre, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and potassium.
Breakfast - Overnight oats
Oats, .5 cup
Soy Milk, 1 cup
Hemp seeds, 1 tbsp
Ground flaxseeds, 1 tbsp
Raspberries, .5 cup
Lunch - Quinoa, kale and tofu salad
Kale, 1 cup
Quinoa, cooked, .5 cup
Pumpkin seeds, 2 tbsp
Banana, 1 medium
Walnuts, 0.25 cup
Dinner - Lentils with sweet potato and amaranth
Lentils, cooked, .5 cup
Tomato, canned, .5 cup
Mushrooms, cooked, .5 cup
Broccoli, cooked, .5 cup
Sweet potato, cooked, .5 cup
Amaranth, cooked, .5 cup
Poor sleep can have major impact on our moods. There are many factors that can affect the sleep such as kids, a demanding job or stress from everyday life. But did you know your sleep disturbances may be caused by internal issues including vitamin and mineral deficiencies, impaired neurotransmitters, poor gut health, chronic stress, perimenopause, low blood sugar, etc. As a Sydney vegan nutritionist, we can work through what may be impacting your sleep, and work on diet based strategies to improve upon your experience.
Overall, How can I help you?
As a Bondi based vegan nutritionist and certified personal trainer, I understand there are so many varying factors to mental health, and therefore I am dedicated to helping you find the balance through specialised diets and a selective health/exercise plan. I am dedicated to providing a unique service to each individual client, and truly see what past and present issues are holding you back from achieving your health potential.
I am here to help you reach your lifestyle goals.