Have you noticed that your skin suddenly seems to be excessively dry and itchy? Are you suffering from frequent headaches? Do you feel like you are having difficulty recalling information? If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, you could be suffering from an iodine deficiency.
A trace mineral, iodine plays a critical role in the production of thyroxine and triiodothyronine, two hormones that are produced by the thyroid. These hormones are responsible for regulating the metabolic functions of the majority of cells. They are also essential for the early growth and development of most organs, particularly the brain. If your iodine levels are low, your thyroid won’t produce enough of these hormones. As a result, most major organs, including the heart, kidneys, liver, and brain will suffer adverse effects.
An iodine deficiency can cause a number of problematic disorders. These include hypothyroidism, heightened cholesterol levels, cretinism, goiters, fibrocystic breast disease, and breast cancer, among others.
Given the important role, iodine plays in the body, making sure that you are getting enough of it is critical to your overall health and well-being. The recommended daily intake ranges from 110 mcg for infants to 150 mcg for adults. Fortunately, iodine is present in many foods. If you want to increase your intake of this trace mineral, try adding more of these 20 foods to your diet.
One of the mildest tasting fish, cod is an excellent source of iodine. Single serving size of 3 ounces will provide you with 99 mcg of iodine, and has less than 90 calories, making it a good choice for those who are watching their weight, too. In addition iodine, cod is jam-packed with several other essential vitamins and nutrients. These include omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, protein, magnesium, vitamin E, and magnesium. As mentioned, cod is extremely mild and it easily takes on the taste of whatever it is prepared with. Try marinating a cod steak in teriyaki or another sauce and grill it for a tasty, iodine-rich meal.
2. Baked potato
Potatoes are an excellent source of iodine; however, in order to get this vital nutrient from a potato, your best bet is to bake it instead of mash it; and, make sure you eat the skin. Most of the nutrients that potatoes offer are found in the skin. A medium baked potato will give you about 60 mcg of iodine, or around 40 percent of the daily recommended intake. You’ll also get other important nutrients, including potassium, fiber, and several vitamins. Enjoy a baked potato as a side dish, or turn it into a meal by topping it with low-fat sour cream, cheese, or even broccoli.
3. Iodized salt
Many people are under the assumption that salt, on its own contains iodine; however, that’s not the case. In regard to the chemical makeup of the two, salt is a crystal and is comprised of two elements: chloride and sodium. On the other hand, iodine is a mineral. While general table salt does not contain iodine, there are many salts that are fortified with this essential mineral. A single gram of iodine fortified salt contains more than 75 mcg of iodine, which is around 50 percent of the daily recommended intake. Plus, it has zero calories. So, if you’re looking to up your iodine intake, enjoy a little more fortified salt. But, do so in moderation; too much salt can cause other health problems.
4. Himalayan salt
If you are trying to avoid eating conventional table salt, but you want to increase your iodine intake, Himalayan crystal salt is another option. Unlike conventional table salt, which has to be fortified with iodine, Himalayan crystal salt contains iodine naturally. In fact, just half a gram contains about 250 mcg of iodine, which is more than 150 percent of the daily recommended intake. While it is so dense in iodine, you do want to use it sparingly, however; too much iodine can have adverse effects that are similar to not getting enough.
When most people think of milk, they think of vitamin D and calcium. While yes, it is true that milk is an excellent source of both of these vital nutrients, it also contains other important nutrients, including iodine. A single cup of milk contains about 56 mcg of iodine or around 37 percent of the daily recommended intake. So, go ahead and drink a glass or two of milk (add some low-calorie chocolate for some flavor,) or add it to your smoothies. To get the most health benefits, choose a low-fat organic variety.
If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll be thrilled to know that shrimp is another excellent source of iodine. A 3-ounce serving offers about 35 mcg of iodine or around 23 percent of the daily recommended intake. Plus, a serving size of this amount only has about 84 calories, which makes it a good choice if you are trying to watch your weight and increase your iodine intake. Shrimp is also a valuable source of several other vital nutrients, including protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Boiled, grilled, sautéed; there are so many ways to enjoy shrimp.
Though it may not sound appealing, seaweed, specifically the dried variety, is a great source of iodine. And, believe it or not, it’s actually quite tasty. A small ¼ ounce serving has about 4,500 mcg of iodine, which is more than 3000 percent of the daily recommended intake. Given the high amount of iodine it contains if you are going to consume seaweed, make sure you do so sparingly. You can enjoy dried seaweed as a snack, as an addition to a salad, or even as a side dish.
8. Turkey breast
Three-ounce serving size of baked turkey breast serves up nearly 35 mcg of iodine. That’s around 24 percent of the daily recommended intake. In addition to this vital mineral, baked turkey breast also offers several other essential nutrients, such as potassium, phosphorus, protein, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins. It should be noted, however, that turkey breast is high in cholesterol, so you want to stick to the recommended serving size of three ounces. Enjoy it as a main dish, place it on top of a salad, or make a tasty sandwich.
9. Canned tuna
While all canned tuna contains iodine, it tends to contain much more iodine when it’s canned in oil than in water. Serving size of three ounces of tuna canned in oil offers about 14 mcg of iodine, or around 11 percent of the suggested intake on a daily basis for the average person. In addition to iodine, tuna is also a fantastic source of iron, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. Albacore or bluefin tuna offers the most nutrients, so make sure you are looking for this type if you want to reap the most health benefits.
10. Navy beans
All types of beans are famous for being packed with important vitamins and minerals, including navy beans. One-cup serving size of navy beans will give you more than 30 mcg of iodine, or just slightly over 20 percent of the suggested daily intake. In addition to iodine, navy beans are also an excellent source of calcium, folate, copper, protein, and potassium. Navy beans can be enjoyed in so many ways; as a topping for a salad, as a side dish, or mixed into a soup or casserole.