|Kombu is a great source of iodine and easy to use.|
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Iodine Deficiency on the Rise
Studies show that nearly three quarters of adults may not be consuming enough iodine. Many people now enjoy sea salt and other fancy salts that do not have significant iodine content but even those labeled iodized table salt may not contain sufficient quantities to support optimal health. The avoidance of salt, in order to protect against high blood pressure, adds to this problem.
Several other factors contribute to us not having adequate dietary iodine. For one, eating a lot of soy and cruciferous vegetables can inhibit the absorption of dietary iodine, especially when eating cruciferous vegetables raw. The environmental toxin, perchlorate, pervasive in ground water and food supplies, can also block the thyroids ability to absorb of iodine.
Why we Need Iodine
Iodine is needed for the production of thyroid hormones and is required in order to have a healthy thyroid gland and achieve optimal health. The thyroid control's your metabolism, regulating many body functions such as heart rate, body temperature, and more.
When you produce too little thyroid hormone, you have a condition called hypothyroidism. Symptoms of Hypothyroidism include:
* a slow metabolism
* lower heart rate
* unexplained weight gain
* dry skin and hair
* hair loss
* always feeling cold
* muscle aches
Inadequate iodine consumption can cause cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and certain forms of cancer.
Pregnant women with iodine deficiency may have babies with a form of mental retardation know as cretinism.
Sea Vegetables as a Source of Iodine
Sea vegetables are an excellent source of iodine. But take care not to overdo their consumption, especially if you have hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), or an autoimmune thyroid disease, as dietary excess can worsen these conditions.
The RDA for iodine is:
* 150 micrograms per day for adult men and women
* 220 micrograms for pregnant women
* 290 micrograms for lactating/breastfeeding women
The amount of iodine in commonly found seaweed:
* One inch of Kombu has 1,454 mcg
* 1 tablespoon of Main Coast Kelp has 595 mcg
* 1 tablespoon of Agar Agar has 120 mcg
* 1 tablespoon of Wakame has 82 mcg
* 1 tablespoon of Main Stage Dulse has 68 mcg
* 1 sheet of Nori has 40 mcg
Ways to Consume
Cooking with Kombu: An easy way to introduce iodine-rich sea vegetables into your diet is to add a strip of kombu into a pot of beans, soup, or grains when cooking, especially when using your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. When your dish is cooked, you can either remove the kombu or, if it's nice and soft, cut it up and stir it back into your dish.
Seaweed Salad: I love seaweed salad, especially when dining at Japanese restaurants. However, many restaurants buy this salad in bulk which often contains food coloring, such as yellow #4 and blue #1. So always ask if they make their own and what they put in it. When serving it at home, I like to buy mine from Vital Choice. It's pricey but you get at about three small 2-person servings in each 8 ounce tub. Of course you can make your own but I have yet to find the authentic "stringy" dried Hiyashi Wakame seaweed used to make it.
|Vital Choice's seaweed salad has no additives, preservatives, heavy metals, radionuclides, or synthetic food coloring|
You can also just use regular wakame for a seaweed salad but it will have a different texture. I prefer to throw pieces of wakame in soup or beans, as I described above with kombu. It's typically found in miso soup, when you order it in a restaurant.
Nori: My grandsons can go through a case of Kirkland's Roasted Seaweed snacks like a swarm of locusts. Sushi rolls are another way to enjoy nori. You can easily make your own sushi at home. Check out my recipe for Brown Rice Sushi with Roasted Eggplant, Peppers and Shiitake Mushrooms.
|This Nori comes with a bamboo mat for making sushi|
|Brown rice sushi|
Dulse Flakes: You can sprinkle dulse flakes on your food with products from Eden Organic and others.
Agar Agar: Commonly used in vegetarian cooking as a thickening agent, it can be purchased as flakes or powder.
|Agar agar flakes|
Kelp: Bragg's makes a nice Kelp general purpose seasoning that combines kelp flakes with rosemary, onion, garlic, thyme, red bell pepper, carrot, tomato, black pepper, basil, EVOO, parsley, tarragon, lemon and orange peel, apple cider vinegar, celery and dill seed, oregano, savory, she, ginger, coriander, bay leaf, and turmeric. Sounds amazing, no?
|Bragg's Kelp Seasoning|
I hope I gave you a few ways to increase your iodine consumption using delicious sea vegetables. But remember, don't overdo it!