The body requires iodine, and as it cannot make it internally, the element must be absorbed from foods we consume. The thyroid uses iodine to synthesize hormones, too little of which can lead to an enlarged thyroid, infertility, autoimmune disease, and an increased risk of thyroid cancer. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can result in reduced mental development in the baby. Balance is important when it comes to iodine, as too much is not healthy either. The recommended amount of iodine for the average adult is 150-220 micrograms per day.
Dried seaweed like nori or kelp is an excellent source of iodine. Just one serving of dried seaweed can contain about 2000% of the daily recommended intake (DRI) of iodine. Seaweed also contains a substantial amount of vitamin K, calcium, and iron — all essential nutrients for building strong bones and staying energized. Because seaweed contains so much iodine, it should be eaten in moderation.
A serving of five prunes contains about 10% of the DRI of iodine for a day. Prunes contain other important nutrients as well, including vitamin K and plenty of fiber. The shriveled fruit helps keep the digestive system running smoothly, but can cause bloating and gas when eaten in excess.
A three-ounce serving of codfish provides 66% of the DRI of iodine. This seafood has one of the highest protein to calorie radios and can help restore and build strong muscles. It also contains B vitamins essential to metabolism and healthy hair and skin. Each serving of cod contains phosphorus, potassium, and selenium, as well.
A baked potato with the peel contains plenty of iodine. Baked potatoes also offer a host of other nutrients, including vitamins B6 and C, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. The starchy entree is also rich in fiber, which keeps the body sated and the digestive system running smoothly.
Shrimp is another seafood rich in iodine. A three-ounce serving contains about 35 mcg and is low in calories and high in protein. Shrimp is an excellent source of other important minerals including selenium and copper. It also contains choline, a nutrient vital for brain development. However, people instructed by a doctor to lower their cholesterol levels should avoid consuming too much shrimp.
This tart fruit contains about 200% of the DRI of iodine in one serving, along with plenty of anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic antioxidants that research shows slow the growth of tumors and reverse free radical damage. The body will also benefit from vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.
Hard-boiled eggs contain about 10% of the DRI of iodine for one day. They are also one of the most cost-effective sources of protein and serve as an excellent source of vitamins and minerals — especially selenium. Egg yolks are rich in choline, a nutrient essential in brain development, liver function, nerve function, muscle movement, and energy levels.
One reason thyroid problems are relatively rare is that today, many salts are iodized. Though it is always best to use salt in moderation, people with thyroid diseases should consider buying iodized salt instead of non-iodized to supply meals without much natural iodine with this vital element.
Many dairy products contain iodine, but just one cup of yogurt delivers about half the DRI for one day. Plain yogurt is also an excellent source of probiotics, which improve gut health and protect against bad bacteria. Unsweetened yogurt is always better than flavored varieties; plain Greek yogurt contains twice the protein of regular yogurt but less calcium.
Although milk is best recognized for its high calcium content, it provides a lot more than that one bone-strengthening nutrient. One cup of milk contains 60% or more of the DRI, depending on the brand. For added nutrition, look for milk fortified with vitamin D, another nutrient the body cannot make without help.
Turkey is a complete lean protein full of essential vitamins and minerals. A three-ounce serving of turkey breast provides about 35 mcg of iodine and is also a great source of iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B6, and niacin. People who eat a lot of meat during the week might consider swapping some servings of beef and pork for turkey, to benefit from the lower cholesterol levels.
Beans are another cost-effective source of protein, and they contain iodine as well. Half a cup of navy beans contains 32 micrograms of iodine, in addition to vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and many other important vitamins and minerals.
Canned tuna is a great lean protein option containing iodine, vitamins and minerals, and plenty of health benefits. It is an excellent source of B vitamins, selenium, phosphorus, choline, vitamin D, potassium, and magnesium and delivers those essential omega-3 fatty acids as well. Light tuna contains less mercury than white tuna, and it is best to limit consumption of one or two servings per week to avoid an unwanted buildup of this element, which is harmful in large amounts.
Although most people now opt for whole grain bread over white bread because of the fiber content, the latter is not completely without nutritional benefit. One serving, or two slices, of white bread contains 45 micrograms or about one-third the DRI of iodine. Though there are more well-rounded foods that contain iodine, the occasional PB&J sandwich isn't entirely devoid of healthy compounds.