Iodine is an essential mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. If it is not enough in the body, serious diseases develop. But they can be prevented — if you enrich the menu with iodine. And just adding iodized salt to the menu is not enough!
Why does the body need iodine
As a pure element, iodine is a dark, shiny stone or purple dye. It is found in trace amounts in soil and water, and is found in some foods.
Iodine is very important for the health of the thyroid gland, as it plays a large role in the production of hormones. Given that the body does not produce iodine on its own, it must be obtained from food.
Adequate amounts of this valuable mineral in the diet have been proven to help improve metabolism, brain health, and hormone levels. And its deficiency is fraught with the development of hypothyroidism, brain damage, an increase in the thyroid gland to abnormal sizes (goiter). And if a woman experienced a lack of iodine during pregnancy, her offspring have an increased risk of congenital anomalies.
On a note!
According to WebMD portal experts, almost a third of the world’s population has a high risk of iodine deficiency.
How much iodine is required daily
The recommended daily amount of iodine depends on the age and sex of the person. The average values are:
- Children from birth to six months: 110 mcg.
- Children seven months to one year old: 130 mcg.
- Children 1 to 8 years old: 90 mcg.
- Children 9 to 13 years old: 120 mcg.
- Adolescents 14–18 years old: 150 mcg.
- Adults: 150 mcg.
- Women in position: 220 mcg.
- Nursing mothers: 290 mcg.
On a note!
Vegans and people who eat little dairy, seafood, and eggs tend to need more of the mineral, too.
13 Foods High in Iodine
Fortunately, getting iodine from food is not difficult. They are rich in many everyday products.
According to National Institutes of health, considered one of the best sources of iodine. A 10-gram serving of dried nori seaweed will enrich the body with 232 micrograms of iodine, which is almost 1.5 times the daily requirement. Nori is used to make sushi and seafood salads and more.
No wonder in the Soviet Union every Thursday was a fish day. This brought many benefits to human health. High-quality fish is replete with usefulness, contains Omega‑3 fatty acids, phosphorus, riboflavin and vitamin D. It is also rich in iodine.
The most valuable sources of iodine are cod, halibut and pollock. On average, cod contains 158 mcg of iodine per 100 g of product, pollock — 1210 mcg, and halibut — 18 mcg.
Crabs, scallops, squid, shrimp, oysters and other types of shellfish contain protein, vitamins and healthy fats in addition to iodine. With all this, they are a dietary product — their calorie content is minimal. Due to the fact that mollusks absorb sea water, they abound in iodine. For example, one serving of boiled shrimp contains 13 micrograms of iodine.
By the way!
Just 100 grams of boiled oysters can provide 90 micrograms of iodine, which is more than half the daily requirement for an adult.
4. Dairy products
The content of iodine in dairy products depends on whether the cows were given feed additives with a valuable substance. On average, one cup of milk contains 85 micrograms of iodine. In addition to it, milk is a source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and group B.
Dairy products in the absence of health contraindications should be present in the diet daily.
Scientists have concluded that animal products are the richest sources of iodine. And eggs are no exception. One hard boiled egg will provide the body with 26 micrograms of iodine. And besides this — iron, folic acid, riboflavin, vitamins D and E, high-quality protein.
Eggs can be eaten whole, or you can add them to salads and first courses, prepare cocktails based on them.
6. Iodized salt
Salt enriched with iodine is rightfully considered a healthy product. But there is also a downside to it. When using it, you should be careful, as excess sodium in the diet can lead to health problems.
In addition, it is important to understand that most of the salt in the diet does not come from the salt shaker, but from processed foods. And in its preparation, iodized salt is used very rarely. That’s why it’s not enough to have a salt shaker with the “correct” salt on the table to make up for an iodine deficiency.
Did you know?
Many consumers believe that for the first time they began to saturate salt with iodine in the USSR, but in fact, such an idea was first born in Switzerland in 1922.
The best way to eat potatoes to get iodine is baked. Many people underestimate potatoes, but meanwhile, they are rich in vitamin C, potassium and other nutrients. One medium baked potato contains about 60 micrograms of iodine.
If you want to increase the amount of iodine, potatoes can be sprinkled with a little cheese. It also contains iodine.
8. Turkey breast
The turkey is commonly associated with the festive table at Christmas. But you should try to serve it more often on the dinner table and on weekdays. Moreover, from her breast you can cook a lot of healthy, dietary dishes.
In addition to high-quality protein, selenium and B vitamins, turkey contains a lot of iodine. So, in 100 g of the product there will be 40 mcg.
Dried plums contain more nutrients per gram of weight since they are devoid of water. In addition to being high in fiber, which is good for digestion and can provide relief from constipation, prunes contain iodine.
One serving of 5 prunes will bring 13 micrograms of the mineral to the body, which corresponds to 9% of the daily requirement.
On a note!
Prunes as a food product appeared as early as the 6th century BC, when the Egyptians noticed that some fruits do not deteriorate in the sun, but dry out, acquiring a different taste and useful properties.
10. Canned tuna
An 85 g can of canned tuna in oil contains 14 micrograms of iodine, which corresponds to 11% of the daily requirement. That said, tuna is also a great source of protein, omega‑3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. And it’s a great snack for those who come home from work late and don’t have time to cook dinner. It is useful to include tuna in salads, to supplement cereals with them.
11. Sea beans
All types of legumes are good for health. And sea beans are no exception. It contains many vitamins and minerals, including iodine. A cup-sized serving of boiled navy beans provides 30 micrograms of iodine, which is slightly more than 20% of the daily value.
Beans are easy to add to your diet. It can be used as one of the salad ingredients, as a filling for pies and pies, added to soups and main dishes.
12. Canned corn
It is often added to salads, along with beans. It’s tasty, juicy, nutritious and versatile. Many products are perfectly combined with it, and therefore it is easy to introduce it into the daily diet.
Half a cup of canned corn will provide 14 micrograms of iodine, which is equal to 10% of the daily value.
13. Meat by-products
Once they were considered food for the poor, and today they are used to prepare dishes worthy of the festive table. There are many useful substances in offal, and their cost is lower than meat. A beef liver weighing 70 grams will have 32 micrograms of iodine.
Eat right, enrich the menu with products with iodine and be healthy!
Olga Lushnikova, nutritionist
For optimal functioning of the thyroid gland (like any other organ), the body must receive all the necessary macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), but some of them should still be emphasized.
It should be noted that the thyroid gland is extremely sensitive to drastic calorie restriction. When losing weight, this fact must be taken into account. Any rigid diets can lead to changes in the functioning of the thyroid gland, and as a result, hormonal disorders.
On the other hand, obesity can also cause a malfunction of this important endocrine organ, leading to hypothyroidism (decreased production of thyroid hormones).
To maintain thyroid function, you should increase your intake of certain nutrients.
- Iodine. There are regions with insufficient content in soil, plants, water, which leads to damage to the thyroid gland in local residents. With insufficient intake of iodine in the body, endemic goiter with hypothyroidism develops. Food sources of iodine: cod liver, seaweed, any sea fish, squid, shrimp, egg yolk; legumes, milk, persimmon, blueberries, feijoa.
- The amino acid tyrosine. It is an important component for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid, i. easily synthesized in the body. It is abundant in nuts, seeds, dairy, parmesan, fish, beef, chicken, and wild rice.
- Vitamin D. Regulates the functioning of the thyroid gland, its deficiency is associated with its autoimmune diseases, for example, Hashimoto’s disease. Vitamin sources: egg yolks, beef liver, fatty fish, fish roe, hard cheese, chanterelle mushrooms.
- Selenium. It is part of the important deiodinase enzyme involved in the formation of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4). To get the required amount of selenium, you need to include fish (salmon, sardines, herring), Brazil nuts, chicken, turkey, garlic, eggs, mushrooms and other foods in your diet every day.
- Iron. The thyroid gland is very sensitive to insufficient oxygen (hypoxia), any anemia can disrupt its work. Therefore, it is important to consume foods containing iron: red meat, organ meats, seafood, legumes, green leafy vegetables, whole grains. For optimal absorption of iron, it is necessary to include both vegetable and animal sources in the diet, combine it with vitamin C (berries, herbs, rose hips, pomegranate, etc.) and B vitamins.
- Vitamin B12. Deficiency anemia also affects the functioning of the thyroid gland, leading to a decrease in hormone production and, as a result, a decrease in its function. Vitamin B12 deficiency is often observed in vegetarians, because the main sources of this vitamin are animal products: meat, fish, poultry, offal, seafood, hard cheeses.
In addition, for optimal thyroid function, you need:
- Zinc. Contained in seafood, oysters, liver, chicken, cheese.
- Vitamin A (retinol). Its sources are liver, eggs, butter, meat, poultry, cheese; orange vegetables and fruits, green leafy vegetables.
- Omega‑3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. They contain any fatty sea fish, fish caviar, olive, hemp and other oils, flax and chia seeds.
Thus, a varied, balanced diet will help maintain thyroid health for a long time.
If any signs of a violation of its work appear, you need to seek help from an endocrinologist who will prescribe the necessary studies and treatment if necessary.
Shutterstock photo materials used
Is There an Ideal Diet to Protect against Iodine Deficiency? / Krela-Kaźmierczak I., Czarnywojtek A., Skoracka K. // Nutrients - 2021