Even though iodine deficiency disorders are one of the biggest worldwide public health issues these days, for some of you this may be the first time you hear of the thing. Iodine is a dietary trace element which the human body can’t produce.
This nutrient is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). In their turn, the two hormones contribute to many bodily functions such as nitrogen retention, intestinal absorption of galactose and glucose, thermoregulation, lipolysis and much more.
But which natural foods are the greatest sources of iodine? And more importantly, which of these foods do we have in our pantry? Fortunately, various everyday foods are high in iodine, making it all the easier for us to stock up on this nutrient. Let the countdown begin!
Cow’s milk is and has always been one of the richest natural sources of iodine. In fact, one serving of milk contains 56 mcg which translates to 37% of the daily recommended value. One study even suggests that there is a significant increase in cow’s milk iodine concentration (from 300 to 500%) over the past 15 years. Talk about a nutrient-dense food!
Yogurt is another member of the dairy product family to join the ranks of iodine-rich foods. Research proves that one cup of yogurt contains 75 mcg of the element, covering 50% of your body’s recommended daily value. Given this, it’s safe to say that yogurt is way richer in iodine than milk.
3. Cheddar Cheese
If you have a soft spot for cheese, we have some great news for you! Cheddar cheese can do a lot more than making any dish taste better. It’s also rich in iodine. However, it doesn’t contain as much of the element as yogurt or milk, but it can still do the trick.
Although most people think of omega-3 fatty acids when it comes to tuna, this versatile seafood is also jam-packed with iodine. After all, it’s a morsel of food that comes straight from the sea. So, iodine is a given. One serving of canned tuna satisfies 11% of your daily recommended iodine intake. That sounds promising.
If you’ve never tasted cod before, then it’s time you did. The soft, moist and tongue-tingling flavor of the cod fish meat will make sure you do. But, if you are still not convinced, think of all the iodine a single serving of codfish packs. It may answer to 66% of your daily recommended iodine needs.
Did you know that 75g of shrimp contain as much as 37 mcg of iodine? Why do you care? You probably don’t, but your thyroid sure does. But, iodine is not the sole reason shrimp deserves a spot in your weekly meals. This delicious seafood also packs lots of calcium and protein.
Fruit and Vegetables
Even though prunes are not the first fruit we think of when we go grocery shopping, their sweet, tangy flavor is enough to persuade us of making an exception now and then. But, wait to hear what science has to say about this purple-tinged fruit. Not only does it taste awesome and aids digestion (we all know that, don’t we?), but it is also an excellent source of iodine. Five prunes are enough to meet 9% of the recommended daily iodine value.
Potassium aside, bananas are also home to numerous essential nutrients, including iodine. However, if you’re looking for a natural pick-me-up which at the same time promotes your thyroid health, bananas are the way to go. Could it get any better than this?
9. Green Peas
Much like bananas, green peas could provide you with a significant amount of iodine to boost the production of thyroid hormones. Let’s not forget that green peas also contain lots of potassium, folate and vitamin C to boost our immunity as well.
Whether it’s boiled, canned or on the cob, corn holds a special place in many people’s hearts. However, summer barbecues shouldn’t be the only reason to indulge in a meal chock-full of corn. Iodine is one of the various essential nutrients found in our favorite yellow-hued veggie next to magnesium and phosphorous.
Like we needed another reason to eat more potatoes! From complimenting the flavors of a meat dish to serving as great salad ingredients, potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables out there. Luckily, they are as nutritious as they are tasty. In fact, one medium potato contains up to 60 mcg of iodine which translates to 40% of the daily recommended value.
12. Lima Beans
Protein aside, lima beans also pack lots of iodine. In fact, just half a cup of this versatile food answers to 5% of your daily recommended value. Ready to give your thyroid a nutritional boost while fueling your muscles with protein?
13. Baked Turkey
Who doesn’t love turkey sandwiches? Fortunately for us, though, rich flavor is not the only thing turkey is known for. Much like the other foods on this list, it also packs an iodine punch. To our surprise, this punch is about 23% of the DRV which is quite high.
Between vitamins, calcium, zinc and antioxidants, eggs are a great source of various nutrients. Iodine happens to be one of them. To be exact, one large egg contains about 16% of DRV. That’s quite the iodine boost!
15. White Bread
No matter how hard you may try, chances are you won’t be able to find one kitchen which has no bread. So, it’s a good thing it’s high in iodine, helping us reach the DV in the tastiest way possible. In fact, one study proves that one slice of white bread translates to 23% of the daily recommended value.
16. Himalayan Salt
Even though Himalayan salt is mostly known for its pink-hued color, this mineral “goldmine” is also packed with significant amounts of iodine. It also contains iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium, four minerals in which most Americans are deficient. Given its rich nutritional profile, it’s no surprise that Himalayan salt is recommended for those who suffer from iodine deficiency.
If eating raw fish is not your thing, chances are you’ve never come close to eating seaweed. On the flip side, if you are an avid sushi fan, we want to let you in on a little secret. You’ve been sneaking significant amounts of iodine in your body all this time without even knowing it.
Experts report that seaweeds have the unique ability to accumulate iodine from the ocean. Given that, people who consume seaweed on a regular basis such as the Japanese usually don’t face iodine deficiency issues.