Your Paleo Guide to Iodine-Rich Foods
How much do you know about iodine? As a general rule, I think it’s important to know about the different micronutrients that our body needs to function optimally and what foods from which we can get them. Iodine is one of these micronutrients! I like to approach food as medicine, so knowing which foods are rich in iodine ensures I give my body exactly the amount it needs.
Iodine is Vital for Your Body
One such micronutrient is iodine. This mineral is vital for numerous processes in your body including cellular metabolism, regulating thyroid function, and ensuring our body develops properly. Iodine is a key player in the production of thyroid hormone, and our body cannot produce it on its own, so it’s important that we consume enough of it through the foods we eat.
Iodine Deficiency (And What It Means)
For adults, the recommended intake of iodine is 150 micrograms a day. The recommended intake is increased for pregnant (220 mcg/day) and lactating (290 mcg/day) women. Although there are many foods that are rich in iodine, iodine deficiency is still prevalent around the world and causes a multitude of problems including goiter and intellectual impairments.
There are many reasons why iodine deficiency continues to be a problem. One being that people just do not eat enough iodine-rich foods. This is mostly due to the fact that the standard American diet is the norm.
There’s something deeper to the iodine deficiency conundrum though. The quality of soil in which our food is grown also affects our iodine intake. Depending on where your food comes from, the soil could be more deficient in iodine than normal. That means that it can’t pass on that vital nutrient to the fruits and vegetables that we later consume.
It’s worth mentioning that you can also overconsume iodine. If this happens, it can also lead to goiter. The over consumption of iodine doesn’t pose a threat to most people, but it is good to be aware that there can be some drawbacks to eating too much.
Paleo-Friendly Iodine-Rich Foods
What Paleo-friendly foods can you eat to ensure that your iodine intake stays at a healthy level? Well, that ultimately depends on where your food was grown. But, for simplicity’s sake, we are going to discuss which foods are naturally rich in iodine. Let’s get into it.
Foods from the sea are going to contain high levels of iodine. There are all kinds of sea vegetables out there, but vegetables in the brown algae family are generally higher in iodine than others. These include popular veggies like kombu/kelp, wakame, and arame. In fact, some studies show that brown algae plants can accumulate up to a 30,000 more concentrated form of iodine than sea water. It’s also worth noting that sea vegetables are incredibly rich in other important micronutrients. If they’re not already in your diet, start now!
In the same vein as sea vegetables, seafood is, of course, quite rich in iodine as well. When buying fish, be sure to look for wild-caught varieties if possible. Cod, shrimp, and tuna are all great sources of iodine.
Eggs also make the list for iodine-rich foods. Besides being rich in iodine, eggs also pack a powerful protein and b-vitamin punch. They’re a great addition to your diet, if you’re not already eating them.
If at all possible, eggs that come straight from the farmer are best. That way, you know exactly how the chickens are raised and fed. Or if you have friends or family members who raise chickens, even better! If buying from the store, it’s always best to look for pasture-raised and organic eggs.
Cranberries are surprisingly rich in iodine along with a whole host of other vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. In fact, 4 ounces of the berries have nearly 400mcg of iodine. That’s nearly 267% of your recommended daily allowance.
As with most berries, organic is best. If buying the juice, be sure to read your ingredients label closely and avoid any juice with added sugar.
It wouldn’t be fair to talk about iodine in foods without mentioning salt. Salt was originally iodized to prevent deficiencies which were quite common in the early 1900s. One gram of iodized salt contains 60mcg of iodine. Just half a teaspoon of iodized salt meets the recommended value for adults.
Many people, especially people interested in health and wellness, have moved away from using iodized salt and more towards using Celtic or pink Himalayan sea salt. These types of salts are incredibly rich in micronutrients and are usually less processed than iodized salt. If you’re getting enough iodine in your diet by eating the previously mentioned foods, the use of iodized salt really shouldn’t be necessary.
Paleo-Friendly Iodine Rich Foods
- Sea vegetables
- Iodized Salt
- Navy beans
- Canned corn
It’s important to get a wide variety of micronutrients in our diet each day, and iodine is no exception. What ways can you think of to incorporate more iodine-rich foods in your daily routine?
Download Your FREE Paleo Starter Kit Today!
- 3-Day Paleo Diet Meal Plan
- Comprehensive Paleo Diet Shopping List
- 5 of Our Favorite Paleo Diet Recipes