When we think of iodine in food, we are normally reminded of shellfish. However, most of the foods we eat contain at least a small amount of iodine. The human body needs iodine in order to properly metabolize foods. If you are not getting enough iodine in your diet there is a good possibility that you may develop hormonal issues that can lead to problems with your thyroid. Many people are unaware of the actually benefits of iodine in their diet and as a result often do not get enough.
Complications From Inadequate Amounts of Iodine
If you are not getting enough of the mineral iodine in your body, you can develop issues with your thyroid, such as goiters. A goiter appears just below the jaw line, on the neck and is caused by swelling in the thyroid gland. The reason for this is that iodine is needed in the body in order to produce what is called thyroxine. If a person does not produce enough thyroxine, he/she can suffer from what is known as hypothyroidism. When this occurs the symptoms will be weight gain, swelling around the eyes, dry or sparse hair, dry skin, memory loss and a number of other issues such as the above mentioned goiter.
What If I Am Allergic to Iodine
There is not a person alive who does not need iodine in their diet. There are many people who are under the erroneous impression that they are allergic to iodine because they have had issues and reactions when eating shellfish. For years the assumption was that iodine was the culprit. However, more recent studies have shown that the reaction was more likely to the muscle protein within the shellfish. The truth is, if a person were truly allergic to iodine there is almost no way he/she could eat anything, as most of the foods we eat contain at least small amounts of this mineral. If you have the suspicion that you are allergic to iodine or if you have ever had an incident which has lead you to believe this is the case, ask your doctor for a better explanation as to why you have had the reactions you have had.
Which Foods Contain the Highest Levels of Iodine?
Contrary to what many people believe, shellfish does not contain the highest amounts of iodine. Other salt water fish such as cod, perch, sea bass and haddock contain a much higher level of iodine than shrimp or lobster. For example, a three ounce serving of the meat from a cod fish contains about 99 mcg of iodine, as compared to shrimp which contains about 35 mcg per three ounce serving. In addition, things like kelp and seaweed are also great sources of iodine. For a better understanding of which foods are recommended in people who may be suffering from some sort of iodine deficiency or hormonal imbalance as a result, it is best to check with your doctor.
Other Iodine Containing Foods
There is iodine in everything we eat and in animal products it often depends on what the animal was fed. For example, meat can contain anywhere from 24 mcg to 500, depending on the feed as well as the part of the animal being consumed. Poultry also contains anywhere from 16 mcg to 60. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt will contain a varied amount of iodine, again based primarily on what the cow was fed during its life. A good range of iodine content from dairy products would be anywhere from 58 mcg to 116. Eggs, according to what the chicken was fed can contain 13 to 26 mcg of iodine. Obviously, any sea fish will contain much more iodine and the levels can range from 100 mcg to 1200 depending on the fish being eaten. Seaweed and kelp contain anywhere from 70 mcg to 630, as do shellfish. One gram of table salt (Iodized) has about 77 mcg of iodine. As you can see by reading the information contained above, most foods have iodine in them to some level.
What If I Think I May Have an Iodine Deficiency?
If for some reason you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above and believe that you could be experiencing an iodine deficiency, the first thing you should always do is consult your physician to get a professional opinion. Many of the symptoms associated with an iodine deficiency could also be caused by a number of other issues so it is always a good idea to be sure. If it is determined that you are in fact suffering from an iodine deficiency then your doctor will be able to help you come up with a plan in terms of getting higher levels of iodine in your diet. In some cases it may become necessary to consult with a nutritionist to develop a dietary plan that will work for you.
Most people do get an adequate amount of iodine provided they eat a well balanced diet. However, there are those who, for whatever reason do not receive enough iodine. There are a couple of foods that may be responsible for an iodine deficiency as they tend to block the body’s consumption. cabbage, brussel sprouts and nuts are among some of the foods believed to act in this way. For more information on which foods could be hindering your iodine consumption, there is a lot of information on the web as well as in print.