The World Health Organization (WHO) regards iodine deficiency as the most prevalent yet easily preventable cause of impaired cognitive development of children around the world. In fact, they report that this deficiency affects 72% of the world’s population. Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones which play a vital role in the development of most organs but especially the brain. Inadequate intake of this trace mineral can lead to disorders such as hypothyroidism, goiter, decreased fertility rate, increased infant mortality and increased cholesterol levels.
Iodine also has the following benefits
- Aids in the removal of heavy metals and toxic chemicals in the system
- Boosts immunity
- Stimulates the activity of antioxidants in the body
- Aids in shiny hair and healthy skin
- Prevents enlarged thyroid gland
- Controls metabolic rate
- Helps to maintain energy levels
The recommended daily intake for children ages 1- 8 is 90mcg. For kids 9-13: 120 mcg daily, 14 years and older: 150 mcg daily. Pregnant women are advised to have 290 mcg daily. Iodine does not occur naturally in specific foods like calcium, iron or vitamins do. Instead, it’s present in the soil and then ingested through foods grown on that soil. Seafood and sea vegetables are also a good source. Switzerland was the first country to add iodine to table salt in the 1920’s in an attempt to combat deficiency.
There are plenty of iodine rich food sources to add into your diet, including. . .
- Seaweed, whole or 1 sheet can contain 11% to 1,989% of recommended daily intake! Nowhere is it as highly concentrated as in seaweeds. Kelp and bladderwrack have especially high levels. In Japan, consumption of iodine is 25% higher than compared to American intake due to a diet rich in seaweed. Studies are even being done that correlate breast cancer rates between the two countries to iodine intake.
- Cod, 3 oz = 66%
- Cranberries, 1oz = 60%
- Plain yogurt, 1 cup = 50%
- Shrimp, 3oz = 23%
- Egg, 1 large = 16%
- Dried Prunes, 5 pieces = 9%