Usually, the World’s Healthiest Foods focuses on individual foods and their nutritional benefits. However, this time, they have decided to look further into iodine and its importance to your health.

Iodine is a mineral that is found throughout Earth’s environments. Interestingly it even helps with stabilizing the ozone layer which protects the Earth. Since it is usually in the soil, iodine becomes absorbed by plants. However, this is not always the case.  

Soils found in certain northern parts of the United States, such as the Pacific Northwest, the Upper Midwest, and New England have low amounts of iodine. At one time, in the U.S. when food consumption remained on the local level, people would experience iodine deficiency, which most prominently presented as a goiter on the neck. This was due to swelling of the thyroid gland, which needs iodine.

Without iodine, the thyroid cannot properly regulate the release of hormones into the body. The World’s Healthiest Foods recommends that 150 micrograms of iodine daily for the thyroid to function properly.

Iodine can be found in several foods.  The most potent concentration of iodine is found in sea vegetables, such as kelp.  Sea vegetables pack a whopping 500% of the recommended daily requirement of iodine!  

Other excellent sources of iodine 

  • Scallops
  • Yogurt
  • Cod
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Eggs
  • Tuna
  • Cow’s milk.

There is, of course, another source of iodine that is commonly available to Americans:  iodized table salt. This is salt that has been fortified with iodine, which was introduced in the early 20th century. The World’s Healthiest Foods takes a balanced approach toward recommending iodized table salt. They realize that it can be a useful source of iodine, especially if you are restricted for one reason or another from utilizing the sources above.  

Conversely, they also prefer to get the nutrients you need from whole, fresh foods.  Americans already get a lot of salt in their diet from eating highly processed foods and frequenting fast-food restaurants.

Want to learn more about how iodine is important for your health? Read the full article here:  Iodine.