Why Iodine is important for vegans and vegetarians

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Iodine is like a superhero for our bodies. Our bodies don’t make it, but we need it to stay healthy. The thyroid gland, a small part in our neck, uses iodine to help our body use energy.

But there’s a catch: most iodine comes from foods like fish and milk. What if you don’t eat these foods? Many vegans and vegetarians don’t. Let’s learn more about this.

Why Iodine is Important

Think of iodine as the fuel that keeps a car running. Without fuel, a car can’t work. Similarly, our body needs iodine to run well. If we don’t get enough, our health can suffer.

One of the main jobs of iodine is to help a part of our body called the thyroid gland. The thyroid controls how our body uses energy.

It’s like the manager of a team, telling everyone what to do. If the manager doesn’t have the right tools, the team can’t work properly. Iodine is the tool that the thyroid needs.

Vegans, Vegetarians, and Their Iodine Challenge

Some people choose not to eat certain foods. Vegans don’t eat anything from animals – no meat, milk, or eggs. Vegetarians don’t eat meat, but they might eat milk and eggs.

Both these diets are full of good things like fruits, vegetables, and grains. They can be very healthy. But they often miss out on iodine because they don’t eat fish or dairy products.

Scientists were curious about this. They wanted to know if vegans and vegetarians were getting enough iodine. So, they did some studies between 2020 and 2022.

They looked at how much iodine was in the food these people ate. They also checked the iodine level in their bodies.

What The Scientists Found

The scientists learned a lot. They found that vegans, more than vegetarians, were not getting enough iodine. This is a problem.

If we don’t get enough iodine, our thyroid gland can’t do its job. We might feel tired or cold. We could even gain weight or have other health problems.

There were some reasons why people didn’t get enough iodine. In some places, they add iodine to salt. This is like adding extra vitamins to cereal.

If you live in a place that does this, you might get more iodine. But if you live somewhere they don’t add iodine to salt, you might not get enough.

Vegans, since they don’t eat any animal products, had the hardest time. They ate the least amount of foods with iodine. This makes sense because they don’t eat fish or milk. So, their bodies didn’t have a lot of iodine.

Getting Enough Iodine in Your Diet

Even if you are vegan or vegetarian, you can still get enough iodine. There are some foods that have iodine added to them.

And there are iodine pills you can take, just like a vitamin. The main thing is to know that you need iodine and find a way to get it.

If you live somewhere they don’t add iodine to salt, be extra careful. Check the foods you eat to see if they have iodine. Talk to a doctor or a health person to see if you should take an iodine pill.

Wrapping Up

Eating healthy is great. Whether you eat meat or not, it’s important to make sure you get all the good stuff your body needs. Iodine is one of those things. It’s like a superhero for our bodies. We need it to stay strong and healthy.

So, if you are vegan or vegetarian, think about how you can get more iodine in your diet. And remember, just like a car needs fuel to run, our bodies need iodine to work right.

This new study in the British Journal of Nutrition is just one way we are learning how to eat better and live healthier.

So, next time you sit down for a meal, think about that little superhero, iodine, and make sure you’re getting enough.

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