Iodine – the Essential Element
Iodine — the essential element: The question of iodine has come up for some readers after reading my article on salt, in which I suggested using only unrefined salt in lieu of the more common table salt. Chemical iodine in the form of potassium iodide is added to regular table salt, and most of us assume that we are getting the necessary needed iodine from this fortified salt. Unrefined salt, on the other hand, does not add iodine and has only a low trace amount in its composition.
Iodine as a Necessary Nutrient
Iodine is a necessary nutrient for thyroid function and to inhibit goiter. Many other conditions are also linked to low iodine, including ADHD, pregnancy loss, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other nervous system diseases. Iodine deficiency is more common than we realize – more than any other time. Infants are at risk for brain damage and mental retardation when women have low amounts in pregnancy.
How to get Iodine in your Diet
One of the reasons may be the existence a few elements that are prevalent in our diet in this day and age. These three elements, fluoride, chlorine and bromide, can inhibit the uptake or absorption of iodine. Fluoride and chlorine are often added to our drinking water, and bromide is in many chemical additives in breads and processed foods, as well as pesticides, plastics and additives for swimming pools. So it is a useful question as to how to get iodine in your diet if not through the addition of table salt. Fortunately, there are plenty of foods high in iodine, many of which happen to have other positive nutritional benefits as well.
The food that boasts the highest amount of iodine is sea vegetables. Sea vegetables may not sound that appealing, and you may not know how to prepare them but they are quite simple and delicious! See my previous article on the subject to learn more about them. In addition to sea vegetables, iodine is also in seafood, strawberries, cows’ milk, yogurt and meat (supplemented in the animals feed), cranberries, prunes, boiled eggs, navy beans and canned tuna. You can also take supplements with the supervision of your doctor. Over-consumption of iodine supplements can also lead to health risks.
So, eat your unrefined salt, add more foods with iodine, filter the fluoride and chlorine out of your water and eat whole, unprocessed foods without added bromide and you should be good to go!
Here is a delicious sea vegetable recipe that is high in iodine:
- ½ package dry wakame sea vegetables soaked in filtered water for 5 min and drained
- 1 large chopped cucumbers
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 6 green onions chopped
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds
- ¼ to ½ cup toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 11/2 tbsp Mirin (Japanese rice cooking wine)
- 1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
- ½ tbsp umeboshi vinegar
- 1/8 tsp cayenne or red chili flakes or to taste
- 1-2 tbsp Nama Shoyu or soy sauce to taste
- 4- 5 drops Stevia
In a large salad bowl, combine drained sea vegetable with all other vegetables. Combine all dressing ingredients. Add to salad and toss to combine dressing, adjust flavors.
You can read more about the benefits of sea vegetables here.