Iodine is a trace mineral required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones and functioning of the thyroid glands. Iodine, when combined with amino acid, produces thyroid hormones that play a major role in all the physiological functions. Thyroxine T4 and triiodothyronine T3, the two thyroid hormones regulate the metabolism in every cell of the body. This is required for the development of skeletal and nervous system.
Iodine also plays a major role in preventing fibrocystic breast diseases, a condition that causes swelling of the breast tissues. Iodine modulates the effect of the hormone estrogen in the breast tissue, thereby decreasing the swelling. Besides breast fibrocystic diseases, iodine can also prevent health conditions like cognitive impairment, cretinism, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, multiple miscarriages. Our body contains 20 to 30 milligrams of iodine, which is stored in the thyroid gland, just below the voice box. Some amounts of iodine are also found in the lactating mammary glands, salivary glands, stomach lining and blood.
Deficiency of Iodine:
A deficiency in iodine can have a terrible impact on the body. The deficiency occurs due to insufficient consumption of iodine rich foods. Low levels of iodine in the body impair the functioning of the immune system and can even lead to miscarriage in extreme cases. Iodine deficiency in the body can also lead to goiter or thyroid enlargement. It leads to the enlargement of the thyroid due to the overstimulation of the thyroid glands by the thyroid hormones. Severe iodine deficiency in pregnant women can lead to cretinism, a condition that leads to the failure of the thyroid gland, stunted physical growth, deafness and spasticity in the child. These conditions can be treated with iodine supplements if diagnosed in the initial stages.
Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency:
Iodine deficiency in the body can bring in various symptoms. They are:
- Goiter, or enlargement of the thyroid gland
- Weight gain
- High cholesterol
- Rapid heart beat
- Appetite fluctuations
Recommended Daily Allowance of Iodine:
In our entire lifetime, we need less than one teaspoon of iodine for proper health and development. Since the body cannot store iodine, you need to eat a little bit of it every day. Conversely, excess iodine supplements can cause burning in the mouth, weak pulse, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and even coma in extreme cases. Excess consumption of iodine can also inhibit the synthesis of thyroid hormones, leading to hyperthyroidism, thyroid papillary cancer and iodermia. Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (TUL) of iodine:
- 1-3 years: 200 mcg
- 4-8 years: 300 mcg
- 9-13 years: 600 mcg
- 14-18 years: 900 mcg
- 19 years and older: 1,100 mcg
- Pregnant women 14-18 years: 900 mcg
- Pregnant women 19 years and older: 1,100 mcg
- Lactating women 14-18 years: 900 mcg
- Lactating women 19 years and older: 1,100 mcg
Top 25 Rich Food Sources of Iodine:
It is very important to include high amounts of iodine rich foods in your diet as the body cannot synthesize this mineral. The amount of iodine found in food sources is small. The quantity of iodine depends on environmental factors like use of fertilizers and soil concentration. Here is a list of 25 best iodine rich foods.
1. Iodized Salt:
Iodized salt is the main source of iodine in our diet. Iodized salt consists of table salt combined with minuscule amounts of iodine containing salts. Just one gram of salt provides the body with 77 micrograms of iodine and 0 calories.
2. Sea Vegetables:
Sea vegetables contain excellent sources of iodine. Kelp contains the highest amount of iodine than any other food on this planet. One serving of kelp contains around 2000 micrograms of iodine while one tablespoon of arame contains 730 micrograms of iodine. Wakame is another excellent source of iodine with one tablespoon providing 80 micrograms of iodine.
3. Baked Potato:
Baked potatoes are another great source of iodine. A medium sized baked potato provides 60 micrograms of iodine, helping you meet 40% of the daily-recommended value. Besides, the baked potato is also rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and potassium.
Milk is not only a great source of calcium and vitamin D, but can help you meet your daily value of iodine as well. 1 cup of milk provides 56 micrograms of iodine and 98 calories. Milk also contains several essential minerals like phosphorus, folate, manganese, magnesium and potassium.
5. Dried Seaweed:
Dried seaweed is the best source of iodine. A quarter serving of dried seaweed provides a whopping 4500 micrograms of iodine. This is more than 3000% of the daily value of iodine. Make sure you consume seaweed in small portions to gain all the benefits.
Fishes are able to extract iodine from the seawater. Cod is a delicious, moist and a low calorie fish that comes packed with several essential nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, protein, folate, vitamin D, E and potassium. A three-ounce serving of cod provides 99 micrograms of iodine, amounting to 99% of the daily value.
As mentioned earlier, seafoods are great sources of iodine and shrimp is no exception. A three-ounce serving of shrimp provides 35 micrograms of iodine, around a quarter of the recommended daily value. Besides, regular consumption of shrimp can also raise your protein, calcium and other essential mineral levels in the body.
8. Himalaya Crystal Salt:
People are usually apprehensive about consuming table salt in excess amounts due to its high sodium content. In addition, table salt is chemically processed and is stripped of all its nutrient content. Himalaya salt, also known as gray salt, is an excellent alternative to table salt. A half gram of Himalaya salt provides an incredible 250 micrograms of iodine, over 150% of the daily value of iodine. So, consume this salt in moderation.
9. Turkey Breast:
Three ounces of turkey breast can provide 34 micrograms of iodine, around 23% of the daily value of this essential mineral. Turkey is also a good source of B complex vitamins, potassium and phosphorus, which are essential to a healthy body. Lean turkey is low in calories too, with three ounces containing just 70 calories.
10. Dried Prunes:
Consuming five dried prunes a day can provide you with fiber, boron, vitamins, mineral and 13 micrograms of iodine. Dried prunes are a calorie dense food, and hence should be consumed in moderation.
11. Navy Beans:
Beans are one of the most versatile foods that you can include in your diet. A half-cup serving of navy beans can provide you with protein, potassium, copper, folate, calcium and iodine. You also get around 32 micrograms of iodine with every half cup serving of navy beans.
12. Tuna Fish:
Tuna, particularly canned tuna, contains high levels of iodine. Three ounces of tuna provide 17 micrograms of iodine, i.e. 11% of your daily iodine value. It also provides the body with vitamin D, iron, protein and minerals.
13. Boiled Eggs:
A hard boiled egg can help you meet 12 micrograms of iodine, around 9% of the daily value. It also supplies the body with vitamin A, E, antioxidants, calcium, protein and zinc. Enjoy a hard boiled egg with cottage cheese and slice it to pair with a leafy green and vegetable salad.
Yogurt is one of the healthiest foods to include in your daily diet. It is also an excellent option for increasing the iodine levels in your body. A cup of yogurt provides 154 micrograms of iodine and 154 calories. So, enjoy yogurt smoothie in your breakfast or combine it with berries for a light evening snack.
Banana is an excellent energy boosting fruit. It contains a high potassium content that energizes you in a jiffy. However, not many are aware of the iodine content in bananas. A medium sized banana provides 3 micrograms of iodine, amounting to 2% of the daily value.
Strawberries are a nutrient dense fruit that provides the body with a plethora of essential vitamins and minerals. This delicious fruit is a surprising source of iodine as well. A cup serving of iodine contains 13 micrograms of iodine, around 10% of what an average person needs in a day.
17. Canned Corn:
Corn can also help you boost the levels of iodine in your body. A half cup of canned corn provides 14 micrograms of iodine and 67 calories. You can enjoy corn as a side dish or prepare it in a creamy soup to enjoy all the benefits.
A serving of lobster daily can prevent you from iodine deficiencies. A 100 grams serving of lobster provides 100 micrograms of this essential mineral, around 67% of the daily value. Moreover, lobsters are quite low in fat content, making them a perfect choice for health conscious people. Lower cholesterol levels in lobsters help to maintain the triglyceride levels, thereby keeping the heart healthy. Lobsters are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
19. Cheddar Cheese:
Cheddar cheese is one of the most delicious options to get more iodine in your diet. An ounce serving of cheddar cheese provides 12 micrograms of iodine and 452 calories. Since the food is high in calories, you must consume it in moderation. Add a slice of cheddar cheese to the sandwiches and burgers or sprinkle some over soups and salads to enjoy all the benefits.
This bright colored fruit provides a plethora of health benefits. It contains high concentrations of vitamin C, K, B, antioxidants and fiber. This fruit is an amazing source of iodine as well. Four ounces of cranberries provide 400 micrograms of iodine, equaling to 267% of the daily value. Cranberry is also renowned for its positive effects on urinary tract infection. The fruit is low in calories as well. While purchasing packaged juice, be aware of its sugar content.
21. White Bread:
White bread is usually not recommended because of its high carbohydrate content, but if consumed in moderation, it can be a great addition to your diet. Two slices of white bread contain 45 micrograms of iodine, or 30% of the daily-recommended value.
22. Green Beans:
A half-cup serving of green beans can help you meet 2% of the daily value of iodine. Green beans are a great source of folate, vitamin B, C, protein and potassium as well. It provides nearly 40% of the daily value of folate and 53% of the daily value of fiber, which protects the colon and flushes the amount of toxins from it.
Pineapple is also a good source of iodine. It contains a range of vitamins, minerals and bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme used for the treatment of autoimmune disorder. Pineapple also acts as an anticoagulant, lowering the blood pressure.
Rhubarb has been used since the 3rd century BC for its medicinal properties. It is one of the best sources of iodine. In addition, it also provides calcium, manganese, copper, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Its roots contain anthraquinone, a stimulant laxative used for relieving constipation.
Watercress is one of the best sources of iodine for the vegans. In fact, its high iodine content gives it a nutritional breakaway value from other cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are also known for their anti-cancer effects. The anti-cancer benefits of watercress arise from the high levels of antioxidants present in it. Watercress also provides a wide range of vitamins and other nutrients. You can use this versatile vegetable in green salad, pasta or soups for a subtle peppery flavor.
It is difficult to get the daily-required levels of iodine from the food sources alone. Besides the above-mentioned foods, you can also take iodine supplements. There are several types of iodine supplements in the market for you to try. Make sure you know the difference between all the supplements.
Tips to Optimize the Iodine Levels Naturally:
- Try to purchase as much organic food as possible. Wash all the fruits and vegetables thoroughly to clear the pesticides and other chemicals.
- Avoid eating and drinking from plastic containers.
- Avoid soda and aerated drinks. Drink, pure filtered water instead.
- Your personal care products should be as chemical free as possible.
Will you include these iodine rich food sources to have sufficient levels of iodine in the body system? Follow the tips too for maintaining optimum levels of iodine in your body. Don’t forget to share your views on the same.