Iodine is considered one of the body’s essential nutrients, responsible for regulating thyroid function, supporting healthy metabolism, promoting growth and development, and preventing certain chronic diseases. Unfortunately, many adults consume too little iodine-containing food and are therefore short of iodine.
As a result, many suffer from a number of negative health effects known as iodine deficiency disorders.
Iodine is present in almost every organ and tissue in the body and is essential for almost every system in the body to keep us alive and give us energy. This is why an iodine deficiency carries many risks – a worrying thought considering that some sources estimate that about 50% or more of the adults in Western industrialised countries have an iodine deficiency.
That’s why iodine-rich food is so important.
What is iodine?
Iodine is an important mineral that is absorbed from foods containing iodine, including certain salts (iodized salt), eggs, sea vegetables, fish, beans and other foods. It occurs naturally in mineral-rich soils and seawater.
Iodine in food and iodine-containing salt contains various chemical forms of iodine, including sodium and potassium salts, inorganic iodine (I2), iodate and iodide. Iodine is normally found in the form of salt and is called iodine if it is iodine (not iodine).
We rely on iodine to make thyroxine (T4 hormone) and triiodothyronine (T3), two important hormones produced by the thyroid gland that control many important functions.
The iodide is absorbed in the stomach, enters the bloodstream and circulates to the thyroid gland where it uses the right amounts to synthesize thyroid hormones. Unused iodine that we absorb from food that contains iodine is then excreted in our urine.
A healthy adult has about 15 to 20 milligrams of iodine in the body at one time – 70 to 80 percent of which is stored in the thyroid gland.
What is one of the most common symptoms of iodine deficiency? Thyroid disease.
Thyroid function depends on obtaining the right amount of iodine, so too much (or too little) can lead to many serious health problems.
I was wondering how I could increase my iodine levels. The best way to maintain a normal iodine state is to eat iodine-rich food.
Fifteen major foods containing iodine
Which foods are rich in iodine? Here are the best foods containing iodine, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with lower percentages based on the recommended diet for the average adult:
- Dried seaweed – 1 dried whole leaf: 19 to 2,984 micrograms (quantity varies greatly, from 11 to 1,989 percent).
- Iodized salt – 1.5 grams / about ¼ teaspoon (71% of DV).
- Cod (caught in the wild) – 3 oz: 99 micrograms (66% DV)
- yoghurt (organic, spicy and completely raw) – 1 cup: 75 micrograms (50 percent of DV)
- Dried Vital Substances – 66 micrograms per gram (44% of DV)
- Herbal milk – 1 cup: 56 micrograms (37% of DV)
- Dried Nori – 16-43 micrograms per gram (up to 29% DV).
- eggs – 1 large: 24 micrograms (16% of DV)
- Tuna – 1 can in oil 17 micrograms (11 percent of VD)
- Lima beans – 1 cup boiled: 16 mcg (10% DV)
- corn (organic) – 1/2 cup: 14 micrograms (9 percent of DV)
- Plums – 5 plums: 13 micrograms (9 percent of DV)
- Cheese (search for raw, unpasteurized cheese) – 1 oz: 12 mcg (8% DV).
- Green peas – 1 cup boiled: 6 µg (4% DV)
- Bananas – 1 carrier: 3 micrograms (2 percent of DV)
The ocean is considered an important source of iodine-rich food, such as kelp, hiziki, kombu, nori, carcass and look-out. Kelp algae contain the highest amount of iodine of any food.
Other good sources are cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, but also herb butter (almost all dairy products contain some iodine), sardines, scallops, shrimps and other seafood.
Which vegetables are rich in iodine? As you can see above, green beans and peas are among the best sources of vegetables. Organic/non-GMO corn, green leafy vegetables, onions, sweet potatoes, lots of legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains such as barley are also foods rich in iodine.
Do bananas contain iodine? Yes, although they don’t contain as much dried fruit as plums and raisins.
Berries, including strawberries, also contain them.
Note that the iodine content of a food varies greatly depending on the conditions under which it was grown or produced. For example, as soil depletion is one of the causes of low iodine content in food, crops grown on impoverished soils have a lower iodine content than organic crops.
Also wild caught seafood and organic eggs from free-range chickens are likely to contain more nutrients than conventionally farmed or produced fish.
Health benefits of iodine
1. Promotes a healthy thyroid gland
The thyroid gland must have enough iodine to produce important hormones, including thyroxine.
Thyroid hormones regulate many important biochemical reactions on a daily basis. Among the most important are the synthesis of amino acids from proteins, the activity of digestive enzymes and the proper development of the skeleton and central nervous system.
When thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism result from an iodine-poor diet, symptoms can range from slow metabolism to heart complications, changes in appetite and body temperature, changes in thirst and sweating, weight changes and mood swings.
A sufficient supply of this mineral is also important to prevent goitre or an enlarged thyroid gland.
2. Can help prevent cancer
Iodine improves immunity and helps to induce apoptosis, the self-destruction of dangerous and cancerous cells. It can help destroy mutated cancer cells, but it doesn’t destroy healthy cells.
For example, there are indications that iodine-containing algae may inhibit the development of certain types of breast tumours. This is confirmed by the relatively low incidence of breast cancer in some parts of the world, such as Japan, where women have a diet rich in algae.
Certain types of iodine treatments are also sometimes used to treat thyroid cancer.
3. supports the growth and development of children
Iodine is especially important in the early stages of development, because fetal brain tissue and thyroid receptors are extremely dependent on this mineral for normal formation.
Research shows that iodine deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood can affect healthy growth and development of the brain. Infants with iodine deficiency are more likely to die and have an increased risk of neurodegenerative problems, such as a form of mental disorder called cretinism, poor growth rates, motor problems and learning difficulties.
Although doctors routinely test women for iodine deficiency during pregnancy, it is difficult to obtain an accurate measurement of iodine levels. This is why many health experts are now urging women to increase the intake of iodine-rich food as part of their pregnancy diet and to take iodine supplements, as iodine deficiency is common.
4. Promotes good brain function
Research shows that iodine plays a role in healthy brain development and the maintenance of cognitive skills. Therefore, experts consider iodine deficiency to be one of the most common avoidable causes of mental disorders worldwide, as well as neurodegenerative diseases.
Among the means it uses to promote cognitive health are the promotion of brain development over specific periods of time that affect neurogenesis, neuronal and glial cell differentiation, myelination, neuronal migration and synaptogenesis.
5. Keeps the skin healthy and fights infections
A common sign of iodine deficiency is dry, rough, irritated skin that becomes scaly and inflamed. This mineral also helps regulate perspiration so that people can see changes in the amount of perspiration when their levels become irregular.
Another advantage is the possible help in the treatment of small infections, such as. B. for scratching when applied locally, as it has natural antibacterial properties.
6. Helps control perspiration and body temperature
Sweating is an important detoxification method in which the body releases toxins and even excess calories. Iodine deficiency can disrupt the body’s natural way of removing waste products through the pores and controlling body temperature.
Like the ability to produce sufficient sweat, iodine deficiency can also lead to dry mouth due to abnormally low saliva production. This makes it difficult to enjoy food and can affect digestion to some extent.
It is estimated that around 2 billion people worldwide suffer from iodine deficiency, many of whom are unaware because they have no symptoms. The population in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa is particularly affected.
The deficits of the United States and Europe are expected to increase.
The common signs of iodine deficiency are the following
- Problems with saliva production and good digestion
- Swollen salivary glands and dry mouth
- Skin problems, including dry skin
- Poor concentration and difficulty in holding information
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Increased risk of thyroid disease
- Increased risk of fibrosis and fibromyalgia
- Increased risk of developmental disorders in infants and children.
Although excess iodine is a potential risk of thyroid dysfunction, it is much less common and is considered a relatively low risk compared to a high risk of deficiency. Moreover, a very high intake of foods containing only iodine is very unlikely.
Due to the high prevalence of iodine deficiency worldwide, and the serious health problems it causes, the health community places much more emphasis on adding this mineral to the diet of the average person than on eliminating it.
Why do more people suffer from iodine deficiency?
There may be various reasons for this, for example B :
- Reduction of iodine intake.
- Increased exposure to certain chemicals in processed foods that reduce iodine uptake (in particular compounds called bromine which are found, for example, in many plastic packaging and bakery products).
- Exhaustion of the amount of iodine present in the soil.
Bromine, which is present in many industrially processed foods, is of particular interest to researchers because it is known to a certain extent to block the digestibility and absorption of foods containing iodine. Bromine can displace iodine and can lead to a higher iodine deficiency.
As far as soil depletion is concerned, research shows that soils around the world contain different amounts of iodine, which affects the amount of this mineral in plants. Mineral-deficient soils are more common in some areas, increasing the likelihood of people developing deficiency symptoms.
Efforts to reduce deficiencies, known as salt iodization programs, help to reduce deficiencies in some parts of the impoverished world that have a high degree of disease. But the safest (and safest) way to prevent a deficiency is to increase your intake of iodine-rich food.
Supplements and dosage
Low iodine levels and a diet low in iodine are associated with an increased risk of thyroid disease, but there are also potential thyroid and hormone balance risks associated with excessive iodine uptake, particularly through supplements containing iodine in the form of iodine.
Although this may seem paradoxical, research shows that a higher daily intake is actually associated with an increased risk of thyroid disease, rather than its prevention.
Recommended daily dose:
Recommendations for iodine are given as Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). The ORIs were developed by the Food and Nutrition Council of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies as a set of values used to plan and assess nutrient intake in healthy people.
According to the USDA, the recommended amount of iodine depends on your age and gender and is
- Birth to 6 months: 110 micrograms
- 7 to 12 months: 130 micrograms
- 1 to 8 years: 90 micrograms
- 9-13 years: 120 micrograms
- 14 years and older: 150 micrograms
- Pregnant women: 220 micrograms
- Breastfeeding women: 290 micrograms
What is the best way to meet these recommended amounts? Eat more iodine-rich foods, especially those that contain this mineral naturally and are not enriched.
That’s what it looks like: Benefits of the bladder for thyroid health, digestion and more
Including seaweed and kelp in your diet is one of the best ways to increase your intake because of their high iodine content – as well as the other important minerals and antioxidants they contain.
Various forms of seaweed (such as kelp, nori, kombu and wakame) are among the best natural sources of iodine. However, as with all plants, the exact content depends on the food in question and its origin.
Other good iodine-rich foods include seafood, raw/unpasteurised milk products, some whole grains and eggs from hens in cages. Dairy products and cereals are considered the main sources of iodine in the diet of the average American, although people can afford to consume more raw, unpasteurised dairy products and old whole grains than conventional dairy products and packaged foods.
To a certain extent, vegetables and fruit also contain iodine. The amount depends on the soil, the fertilizers and the irrigation methods used to grow the plants.
Since high-quality meat and dairy products come from grass-fed animals that are fed a healthy diet, the amount of iodine in the feed also varies depending on the quality of the feed and the place where the animals graze freely.
Here are some recipes for iodine-rich food to get you started:
Risks and side effects
As mentioned earlier, too much iodine can lead to thyroid disease, as it can cause goitre just like an iron deficiency. People with Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid inflammation or certain cases of hypothyroidism should consult their doctor to carefully discuss how much iodine, if any, should be taken with supplements.
Are iodine salts and supplements healthy?
According to the USDA, more than 70 countries, including the United States and Canada, have public health programs for iodized salt, and 70% of households worldwide use iodized salt.
The original purpose of salt iodization was to prevent deficiency symptoms. That is why American manufacturers started adding iodine to table salt in the 1920s.
The FDA approves potassium iodide and medical iodide for salt iodination and the World Health Organization recommends potassium iodate for its greater stability.
On average, one in eight teaspoons of iodine-containing salt in the United States contains about 45 micrograms of iodine.
By law, food manufacturers almost always use un iodised salt in processed foods, and products that use iodised salt indicate the salt as iodised in the list of ingredients. The reason for this is to avoid a very high iodine intake, as most of the salt consumed in the United States comes from processed foods.
It is better to use real salt, either Himalayan sea salt or Celtic salt, than iodized table salt. Sea salt contains more than 60 micronutrients and does not pose the same risk of excessive iodine absorption as table salt. It is also much more natural, healthier and tastier.
Many supplements also contain iodine in the form of potassium iodide or sodium iodide, including many multivitamins. Kelp capsules also contain iodine.
They are generally useless if someone is on a diet high enough in iodine, and can even be dangerous if ingested in large quantities. Taking food supplements at the recommended daily dose can be beneficial and is considered safe, but it is also best to keep a close eye on the dosage and strive to absorb nutrients from the food whenever possible.
- Iodine is an essential mineral that enters the body through certain foods and salts.
- We rely on iodine to make thyroxine (T4 hormone) and triiodothyronine (T3), two important hormones produced by the thyroid gland that control many important functions.
- Unfortunately, many people are short of this mineral, which makes it even more important to eat iodine-rich food.
- Low iodine consumption can lead to symptoms such as poor digestion, dry mouth, skin problems, poor concentration, muscle pain, weakness, and others.
- The best and safest way to safely increase your iodine intake is to eat iodine-rich foods such as eggs, seaweed, vegetables, beans and fish.
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