When the U.S. Government began recruiting troops en masse for World War I, the physical exam doctors started noticing a pattern: young men from the upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions frequently had visibly swollen necks. They nicknamed the region “The Goiter Belt” and quickly discovered the link between the low iodine content in the soil and the increase in thyroid problems (which caused the goiters). On May 1st, 1924, the first container of iodized table salt was sold commercially, and by that fall, Morton Salt Company began distributing it nationally.
Iodine is a mineral found in many foods, including produce grown in iodine-rich soil, animals who eat food grown in iodine-rich soil, and seafood, including fish, shellfish and seaweed. We need very little for our bodies to produce the hormone thyroxin, which is necessary to maintain the metabolism (and thyroid). Even though it’s relatively easy to have enough iodine in your diet, the World Health Organization reports that iodine deficiency is rising in America with more than 2 billion people at risk! Considering thyroxin affects behavior, metabolism, libido, cognitive functioning, and susceptibility to cancer and disease – it’s vitally important to make sure you get those 150 micrograms every day.
Not sure if you’re deficient? There’s an easy test: take regular drug-store red iodine and smear it on a one-inch patch of skin. If you’re still seeing red after 2 days, you’re fine. If it disappears, you need more in your diet.
Here are my top 3 iodine-rich foods:
- Seaweed snacks (also rich in iron)
- Himalayan Crystal Salt (gray salt with naturally occurring iodine)
- Locally grown organic produce – Florida soil has plenty of iodine!