So what’s the deal with iodine?
Iodine is an essential nutrient that the body uses to produce thyroid hormones. These are pretty important for maintaining the body’s metabolism and are crucial in growth and development. Inadequate intake of iodine can lead to a variety of issues including thyroid dysfunction (including hypothyroidism), goitre, and in severe cases, intellectual disability.
Iodine is found mainly in seafood, especially seaweed. So, are you eating seafood and/or seaweed regularly to get enough of this vital nutrient? If not, don’t worry, you are not alone! So much so, that the Australian government recognized this problem and fortified table salt with iodine. But table salt has gotten a bad rap lately and many people are cutting down to try to control or prevent high blood pressure. Since 2009, it has been mandatory to use iodised salt in the making of commercially produced bread in Australia (all bread, except organic bread). How much commercial bread are you eating?
The catch… even if you are getting enough iodine in your diet, there are some foods that interfere with iodine absorption in the thyroid. These are called goitrogens and are found in foods such as the brassica family (cabbage broccoli, radishes, and cauliflower), soybeans, peanuts and pine nuts. If these foods are being eating in a large quantity, and you suspect your thyroid might be in trouble, it’s best to cut down on consumption or cook them to deactivate the goitrogens.
If all of this sounds like a bit of a concern to you and you are worried that you are not getting your daily dose of iodine, perhaps now is a good time to get your levels checked by a health professional. Testing is done by checking the levels in your urine. If your levels are low, changes to your diet, and/or supplementation will help. ‘Self medicating’ with iodine is not a good idea, as too much iodine can lead to problems too (hyperthyroidism). A quick check by a qualified practitioner is your best bet for preventing thyroid problems. If you would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.