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Are You Getting Enough Iodine in Your Diet?

Iodine is a very important nutrient for nearly every system in your body, but many people don’t include enough iodine rich foods in their diet. Are you getting enough iodine in your diet?

Why Iodine is Important

Nearly every organ and system of the body has iodine present. If you aren’t getting enough iodine it can pose some serious risks to your health. Iodine is needed to maintain healthy thyroid function, supports a healthy metabolism, and aids in growth and development. If you aren’t getting enough iodine you may have problems with your thyroid which can cause fatigue, weight gain or loss, hormone imbalances and mood changes.

Signs of Iodine Deficiency

There are a few things you can look for that will help you to know if you’re getting enough iodine or not. If you have trouble producing saliva or have swollen salivary glands and a dry mouth, this could be a sign of iodine deficiency. You may also experience skin problems such as dry skin, poor concentration, or difficulty retaining information, and muscles pain and weakness.

Too Much Iodine is a Problem Too

Not enough iodine is a problem, but so is too much iodine. If you eat too much iodine then you may increase your risk for thyroid disorders as opposed to preventing them. There’s a definite Goldilocks zone when it comes to iodine, but it is still riskier for your health to be iodine deficient.

Why Are More People Iodine Deficient

This is pretty interesting. Not only is iodine deficiency connected to a reduction in the amount of iodine rich foods in your diet such as wild-caught fish, green vegetables and sea vegetables, but a higher exposure to certain chemicals is a problem too. Chemicals such as bromine, which is found in plastic containers and baked goods, actually blocks your body’s ability to absorb iodine to some degree. Bromine displaces iodine and could be a factor in higher rates of iodine deficiency, though more research needs to be done on this topic.

Luckily for you, table salt has iodine added and that has helped to reduce the rate of iodine deficiency, but the best way to prevent a deficiency is to increase your intake of iodine rich foods.

Recommended Daily Dose

The USDA recommends the following amount of iodine per day, broken down by age and gender:

Birth to 6 months: 110 micrograms

7–12 months: 130 micrograms

1–8 years: 90 micrograms

9–13 years: 120 micrograms

14 years and older: 150 micrograms

Pregnant women: 220 micrograms

Breastfeeding women: 290 micrograms

How Can You Make Sure to Get Enough?

You simply need to include more iodine rich foods in your diet, especially foods that contain the mineral naturally and aren’t fortified. Sea vegetables are a great way to get iodine, which means if you’re a sushi enthusiast you’re covered! Seaweeds such as kelp, nori, kombu, and wakame are great sources of iodine. If this isn’t your speed, then you can also find iodine naturally in cage-free eggs, some whole grain products, and grass fed meat are also great sources. You can also find it in organic yogurt, tuna, lima beans, bananas, green peas, prunes, and corn.

So, try to pay extra attention to how much iodine you’re consuming!

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Victor Camilo

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