The thyroid gland is responsible for managing growth and metabolism and Iodine is a mineral that’s essential to the proper functioning of this gland. An iodine deficiency can cause symptoms such as fatigue, high cholesterol, lethargy, depression, and swelling of the thyroid gland. You can support your thyroid and prevent dangerous deficiencies by eating the right amount of iodine rich foods each day. Here are five of my favourite food sources of iodine…
- Kelp noodles – these gluten free noodles are made from kelp and have a taste and mouth-feel similar to rice noodles. They’re a great low carb, low calorie substitute for other types of noodles in everything from Thai salads to spaghetti. They’re made from kelp, sodium alginate (a form of seaweed-derived salt), and water. Seaweed is a wonderful source of iodine!
- Kelp flakes/seasoning – there are many varieties of kelp seasoning on the market, and Pacific Harvest are a NZ company with good ethics and wonderfully pure seaweed products. When using the Pacific Harvest kelp seasoning, you don’t need to add salt to your food either as it has a naturally salty taste with a fraction of the sodium. I wasn’t able to find exact iodine content information, however the Pacific Harvest website says: As a guideline, the recommended daily intake to maintain thyroid function is 1/4 tsp per day.
- Shrimp – a quick cooking addition to stir-fries, shrimp, and other seafood, are a tasty and protein-rich source of iodine. Serving Size (85 grams), 35 micrograms of iodine
- Himalayan Pink Salt – 100% unrefined Himalayan Rock salt (I buy Mrs Rogers Naturals) has 84 trace minerals, including in Iodide and Selenium. These two are especially deficient in NZ soils.
- Eggs – One large hard-boiled egg will provide just under 10% of the RDA for iodine, along with protein, vitamin A, Vitamin D, zinc, calcium, antioxidants, and more. Serving Size (1 large egg), 12 micrograms of iodine
It is important to realize that the RDA for iodine is not in milligram doses but in micrograms:
- 150 micrograms (mcg) per day for adult men and women
- 220 mcg for pregnant women
- 290 mcg for lactating/breastfeeding women
A note on goitrogens and the thyroid
There is concern in some circles that goitrogens such as those found in soy products, cruciferous vegetables and cassava, can reduce the uptake of iodine which is a crucial nutrient for healthy functioning of the thyroid. There are some differing views on this however – Dr Terry Wahls actually proposes that there is no scientific evidence for a correlation between thyroid issues and cruciferous vegetable consumption.
Worldwide, it’s thought that about 40% of the population are iodine deficient. It’s important to remember that real food brings nutrients into our bodies in the appropriate ratios. As soon as you take an Iodine supplement you run the risk of creating deficiencies in other nutrients such as selenium. Foods rich in iodine are more often than not rich in selenium as well, which maintains the balance of nutrients in your body. I always recommend getting your required nutrients from real food.
As always, I’m not a medical doctor, and the tips and advice given on this blog are for general healthy living, they are not intended to diagnose or treat a medical condition.