Body and Soul: Good-for-You Iodine


Did you know iodine intake has dropped approximately 50% in the past 20 years? Blame that decrease on popular “designer” salt blends and kosher and sea salts that usually dont contain iodine. In fact, a recent study found that more than half of iodized table salts didnt meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations recommendations for iodine levels. Thats a big deal, says Robert Utiger, PhD, an endocrinologist with the Harvard Institutes of Medicine, because “iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormone.”

Some experts think that adding more iodine to your diet can help boost a sluggish metabolism, but Utiger is most concerned about iodine levels in pregnant and nursing women. “A deficiency in the mother can cause impairment in physical and mental development in the fetus,” he says. The number of pregnant women with dangerously low iodine levels jumped from less than 1% to 7% in the past 30 years, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Here's your get more iodine plan. Start by looking for a prenatal vitamin that contains iodine if youre pregnant. For everyone else: Have some sushi—both seafood and seaweed are great sources of iodine.

Not a seafood lover? Try a glass of milk.

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