Do you ever go through the ingredient list of your groceries? Have you ever wondered, if the food that is considered healthy, is actually good for you or if eating healthy food gives the permission to eat as much of it as you like just because it´s considered healthy? If you answer those questions with “YES” you are familiar with nutrients like fats, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, cholesterol as well as several vitamins. Today I´d like to focus on one essential nutrient that is also found in most foods: Iodine
Iodine is important for a unrestricted thyroid function and is present in foods and iodized salt. It contains several chemical forms of iodine, including sodium and potassium salts. Iodine usually occurs as a salt and is also called iodide. The suggested amount of daily iodine consumption is 150-200 micro grams (µg) per adult.
If your body produces too much iodine or if you suffer an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies produced by your immune system stimulate your thyroid to produce too much T-4, you´ll have to stick to a low iodine diet. The aim of that diet is not to lose weight but to reduce the intake of iodine in your everyday life and cure the symptoms that might be a sign of an overproduction of T-4 or iodine, also know as hyperthyroidism. Of course the symptoms vary from person to person but the most common ones are as follows: diarrhea, fatigue, insomnia, muscle weakness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, skin dryness as well as weight loss. A simple blood draw can show whether your thyroid produces too much iodine.
In case you suffer from any of the symptoms that were named on top or discovered an overproduction of iodine and intend to improve the function of your thyroid, you should avoid processed foods and Iodine-rich foods like sea vegetables, yogurt, cow’s milk, eggs, iodized salts, seafood and sushi.
Here are some other examples of Iodine rich sources that should be avoided:
=> I have to say my first example, the following fruit, has surprised me when I came across the amount of iodine that it contains, I just thought what the health?! Just a piece of Kiwi includes 80 micrograms of iodine, which equals almost half of the amount of iodine you should transfer to your body daily. That means that eating 2 Kiwis almost covers the whole amount of iodine you should eat on a daily basis. If you eat three Kiwis you have covered the amount of iodine that a pregnant woman should eat in one day.
=> Seafood is usually a great source of iodine. Shrimp for example has a very high amount iodine (35 micrograms of iodine per serving, which equals 2-3 pieces) but you should not neglect that shrimp provides your body with protein and calcium. In comparison to other types of fish, shrimp is quite harmless, (120g) Haddock contain 390 micrograms of iodine and 120g Cod contain 230 micrograms of iodine. Although shrimp does not consist of as much iodine as Haddock, 35 micrograms per piece makes it iodine rich.
Also on top the iodine richest foods: Ewe’s milk cheese containing 114 μg iodine.
=> Eggs are known for being very iodine rich, especially the yolks. Sticking to a low iodine diet means having to segregate the egg whites and the yolks when eating eggs.
Iodine low foods:
=> Despite from containing a very tiny amount of iodine, ginger is an anti-inflammatory herb that can help you boost your immune system which is why it should be part of a low iodine diet.
=> Bananas will help you feel like you have had enough to eat, since they contain lots of iron so they might be a great breakfast option with some egg-whites-pancakes.
=> Pasta and noodles, although those two are unpopular among people who want to lose weight, you are absolutely allowed to eat them in a low iodine diet as long as they don´t contain high-iodine ingredients like certain (creamy) sauces.
=> Unsalted nuts, unsalted nut butters, unsalted nuts and unsalted nut butters and more unsalted nuts and unsalted nut butters. Nuts are supposed to be a major part of a low iodine diet.
Other iodine low foods are white bread (6 mcg ), apricots (0,5 mcg), apples & pears (1 mcg), tomatoes (1 bis 2 mg) as well as other kinds of fruit and vegetables, rice (1 bis 2 mcg), beef (3 mcg).
In conclusion, you should try to avoid seafood and dairy products and aim for fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and unsalted nuts if you would like to focus on the amount of iodine that most foods consist of. Of course you should not totally cut dairy products and fish since they also contain life essential nutrients that your body needs to function properly, but you should always re-think your food choices and make sure you eat even healthy foods in moderation. Don´t forget to check out the ingredient list on all packaged foods you buy. From my personal experience with different nutrition plans I can guarantee you that sticking to a particular diet is going to allow you to taste food in a more in intense way and also recognise the flavours more intensively.