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Where’s the Iodine?

Your thyroid hormones need it!

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Iodine food source

When it comes to nutrients, few people give iodine much thought. But a paper published in Nutrients presents evidence that rates of mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency in America are not only common but also appear to be increasing, despite a national salt-iodization program. The authors suggest this shortfall is, in part, due to changing dietary patterns, including food manufacturing practices and types of foods favored in households and how they are prepared (reduced use of iodized salt).

This should raise alarm bells, as iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones, which are critical for liver, kidney, brain and central nervous system functioning. Count these foods as top sources to help get what you need:

  • beef liver
  • chicken
  • dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • eggs
  • fish, shellfish
  • prunes
  • seaweed (nori, kelp, kombu, wakame)
  • table salts labeled “iodized” 

See also: Iodine Deficiency and Fecundity

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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