Iodine is a crucial nutrient required by many functions in the human body. It is a substance used by the thyroid gland to make hormones. Without enough iodine, the thyroid will not produce these hormones that are required for proper body function. If you have a condition that impairs your production of thyroid hormone, you need extra iodine.
This article will cover what iodine rich foods for hypothyroidism to eat and how they can be used as a remedy for under productive thyroid, a condition caused by low levels of this hormone in the body. With an estimated 2 billion people around the world deficient in iodine focusing on these foods can help to cure many illnesses.1
What Is The Thyroid?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in the neck, located on either side of the trachea (windpipe) behind the Adam’s apple. The primary function of the thyroid is to produce hormones that regulate metabolism and how quickly our body uses energy and produces certain chemicals.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a condition caused by low levels of thyroid hormone in the body. The symptoms of hypothyroidism vary from person to person and may include fatigue, weight gain, muscle aches or weakness, dry skin and hair, brittle nails, decreased sensitivity to cold. Its estimated that 5% of the population in America over the age of 12 suffer from this condition.2 Hypothyroidism is when thyroxine levels are lower then required.
What Causes Hypothyroidism?
There are many causes for hypothyroidism, including age, autoimmune diseases, radiation damage to the thyroid gland, chronic illness, obesity, or poor dietary habits. One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism today is iodine deficiency. When iodine levels are low in the body the thyroid gland cannot function properly and cannot produce sufficient amounts of hormones that regulate metabolism and energy level. This can lead to all of the symptoms listed above so focusing on iodine rich foods for hypothyroidism is very beneficial for overall vitality.
Iodines Role In The Thyroid
The thyroid gland requires iodine for its healthy function. It is a water-soluble mineral and is found in almost all foods, but it also comes from your body itself. Because these two sources are not always enough, it’s important to get ample amounts through food firstly and if that is not possible then supplement with it.
Iodine works by stimulating the production of thyroxine hormones. Thyroxine is the main hormone that is created by the thyroid and controls many different functions of your body.
Foods Rich In Iodine For Thyroid Conditions
Seaweed Varieties: Seaweed is a very good source of iodine, containing various amounts ranging from 10 mg to 150 mg per 1 ounce. The best type of seaweed to consume is the kelp which has a high concentration of iodine and a smaller amount of sodium. The worst type is nori, which has no nutrition value other than iodine.
Oysters: Oysters are packed with various vitamins and minerals, but they are most commonly known for their high iodine content. Oysters contain up to 220 mcg of iodine per 3 ounces. Out of the iodine rich foods for hypothyroidism oysters have numerous other beneficial minerals.
Liver: Liver is another high concentration source of iodine. A 3 ounce serving can yield up to 25 mcg of iodide per serving.
Wild Cod: Wild cod has a very high iodine content, containing up to 380 mcg per 3 ounces. Other types of fish that are high in iodine are pike, sea bass, trout, halibut, mackerel and fresh water fish like bass.
Wild Tuna: Tuna is a type of fish that can be very high in iodine, containing up to 200 mcg per 3 ounces. The tuna sold in cans has a lower concentration of iodine compared to the ones sold fresh because during the filleting process, the bones are removed which are rich in iodine.
Beets: Beets are highly beneficial for your health as it contains vitamin C, folate, magnesium, fiber and various other vitamins. It also contains a small amount of iodine which amounts to about 90 mcg per 3 ounces.
Cranberry Juice: Cranberry juice contains significant amounts of potassium and vitamin C. Calcium levels are also boosted in the drink. The amount of iodine in this drink is 300 mcg per glass according to the USDA.
Whole Eggs: Whole eggs are a rich source of iodine, containing up to 30 mcg of this mineral per egg.
Milk, Yogurt and Cheese: Whole milk and yogurt contain up to 20 mcg of iodine per 8 ounces. Cheddar cheese contains even more content, with a serving yielding between 40 to 60 mcg.
Supplements For Hypothyroidism
If you can not achieve adequate levels of iodine in your food sources then supplementing iodine is the next obvious choice. Iodised salt is available in most countries and adding this to your meals is a solid way to get more iodine in your diet. Firstly it really is important to understand bioavailability and foods closest to nature are easily absorbed by the body. Iodine rich foods for hypothyroidism should be considered first before any supplements are used.
Other Remedies For Hypothyroidism
Boost Zinc and Selenium: Other ways to help cure hypothyroidism is to boost zinc and selenium intake. Zinc and selenium are needed for the conversion of T4 into T3 which is the active thyroid hormone. Iodine rich foods for hypothyroidism are not the only focus as you should also add in foods like brazil nuts for selenium and almonds for zinc.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D can actually help your body make more hormones naturally to increase your metabolism.
Good Source Of Magnesium: Magnesium helps to regulate thyroid hormone levels in the body because it inhibits its production.
Stress Reduction: If you’re not getting enough sleep or your body is in a constant state of stress then those hormones will not be regulated. By calming down you will be better at regulating hormones and your thyroid as a result. Popular methods like breathwork, using a sauna, meditation or yoga can dramatically lower stress hormone levels like cortisol in the body.
Probiotics: Probiotics can help health problems by baking more healthy bacteria in the gut which helps regulate everything from digestion to hormone production.
Deep Sleep: Getting the minimum 8 hours of sleep at night will help regulate metabolism in the body.
Get On Top Of Metabolic Health With These Foods
In summary this list of iodine rich foods for hypothyroidism will help to regulate thyroid hormones in the body. Paying close attention to your stress levels, getting adequate rest and lowering toxicity in your environment can help your body overcome an under active thyroid. Try adding more seafood, fresh seaweed, brazil nuts and cranberry juice to benefit from natures strongest iodine sources.
Further Reading: Iodine rich foods for thyroid function