Vegan Sources of Iodine

Learning which foods are good vegan sources of iodine can help ensure you get enough of this essential nutrient while following a plant-based diet. While animal products are traditional sources of iodine, vegans can still meet their iodine requirements by enjoying a variety of plant-based foods.

Iodine is a trace element essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism, growth, and development in humans and other vertebrates. Plant-based iodine sources include seaweed, iodized salt, and some lesser-known options like asparagus and fortified plant-based products. Here’s a list of nutritious and tasty sources:

1. Seaweed (Nori, Kelp, Wakame)

Sheets of nori seaweed piled on a white plate.
Iodine-Rich Nori Seaweed

Seaweed is one of my favorite vegan sources of iodine. Varieties such as nori, kelp, and wakame are rich in this vital nutrient. Including seaweed in a plant-based diet is a great way to meet iodine requirements without the need for animal-derived products.

Drawbacks of Seaweed as an Iodine Source

While seaweed is a rich vegan source of iodine, it’s important to consume it in moderation. Excessive intake of certain types of seaweed may lead to excessive iodine intake. Also, seaweed can contain heavy metals and other contaminants, so sourcing it from reputable sources and consuming it in controlled amounts is essential.

Seaweed Iodine Content

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, nori seaweed contains 2520 mcg of iodine per 100g.

2. Iodized Salt (Fortified With Iodine)

Iodized salt is a convenient vegan source of iodine. The process of iodization involves adding iodine to salt. Incorporating iodized salt into a vegan diet is a simple way to help prevent iodine deficiency.

Iodized Salt Iodine Content

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, iodized table salt contains 5080 mcg of iodine per 100g.

3. Fortified Plant-Based Products

Plant-based products fortified with iodine include certain brands of plant-based milk, such as almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk. Some brands of vegan yogurt, bread, and breakfast cereals are fortified with iodine. Checking product labels for “fortified with iodine” or “iodized salt” can help vegans ensure they’re getting an adequate intake of this essential nutrient.

4. Baked Potatoes (With Skin)

Baked potatoes can contribute to iodine intake in a vegan diet, albeit in smaller amounts compared to seaweed or iodized salt. While they’re not as rich in iodine as other sources, baked potatoes offer a variety of essential nutrients and can complement a balanced plant-based diet. To boost their iodine content, pair baked potatoes with iodine-rich toppings like seaweed flakes or iodized salt.

Baked Potatoes Iodine Content

According to the USDA, FDA, and ODS-NIH Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods, baked potatoes with skin contain 0.5 mcg of iodine per 100g.

5. Celery

While celery isn’t a major source of iodine in a vegan diet, it can still contribute to overall intake. As part of a plant-based diet, including celery can add a small boost of iodine plus some other essential nutrients.

Celery Iodine Content

According to the USDA, FDA, and ODS-NIH Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods, raw celery contains 1.7 mcg of iodine per 100g.

6. Kale

Kale is another modest source of iodine, providing a contribution to overall intake. Incorporating kale into your vegan meals can help boost your daily iodine intake.

Kale Iodine Content

According to the USDA, FDA, and ODS-NIH Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods, fresh, pan-cooked kale contains 1.8 mcg of iodine per 100g.

7. Asparagus

A pile of asparagus spears on a cutting board.

Asparagus is not as iodine-rich as some other vegan sources of iodine, but offers other nutritional benefits in addition to some iodine. It can contribute a small boost to your overall intake.

Asparagus Iodine Content

According to the USDA, FDA, and ODS-NIH Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods, boiled asparagus contains 0.9 mcg of iodine per 100g.

8. Spinach

Spinach offers nutritional benefits such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, in addition to containing some iodine. Incorporating spinach into your meals can help diversify vegan sources of iodine while sticking to a plant-based diet.

Spinach Iodine Content

According to the USDA, FDA, and ODS-NIH Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods, boiled spinach contains 3.9 mcg of iodine per 100g.

9. Pineapple

Pineapple is another food that provides a small boost of iodine. It also offers additional nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants. Enjoying pineapple as part of fruit salads, smoothies, or as a snack can complement a balanced vegan diet and boost overall iodine intake.

Pineapple Iodine Content

According to the USDA, FDA, and ODS-NIH Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods, raw pineapple contains 0.3 mcg of iodine per 100g

10. Broccoli

While not at the top of the list of iodine-rich vegan foods, broccoli contains various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in addition to some iodine. Incorporating broccoli into meals can provide a small iodine boost.

Broccoli Iodine Content

According to the USDA, FDA, and ODS-NIH Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods, fresh, boiled broccoli contains 0.5 mcg of iodine per 100g

11. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are another modest source of vegan iodine. Including sweet potatoes in meals can help vary iodine consumption and promote overall nutrition while following a plant-based diet.

Sweet Potatoes Iodine Content

According to the USDA, FDA, and ODS-NIH Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods, baked, peeled sweet potatoes contain 1.5 mcg of iodine per 100g.

12. Cucumbers

Cucumbers offer hydration, additional vitamins and minerals, plus a small amount of iodine. Including cucumbers in salads, sandwiches, or as a snack can help boost overall iodine intake on a vegan diet.

Cucumbers Iodine Content

According to the USDA, FDA, and ODS-NIH Database for the Iodine Content of Common Foods, raw, peeled cucumber contains 0.5 mcg of iodine per 100g.

Vegan Recipes Containing Iodine

1. Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

A bowl of gluten-free dairy-free spinach artichoke dip next to a plate of crackers.
Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

This luscious spinach dip contributes to overall iodine intake, especially if you use iodized salt. Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe

2. Roasted Asparagus

Balsamic roasted asparagus spears on a white plate.
Roasted Asparagus

This simple roasted asparagus is quick and easy to prepare. Roasted Asparagus Recipe

3. Vegan Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

A white platter with two vegan hasselback sweet potatoes with slits cut in them.
Vegan Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

These plant-based hasselback sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutrient-rich side dish. Vegan Hasselback Sweet Potatoes Recipe