The answer surprised me. You see, most of the time I will avoid a food item just because I know that God didn’t make it that way. For instance, table salt – it is refined and then fortified. If God wanted it that way, He would have made it that way. So we don’t eat it – we choose the unrefined salt instead.
The following quotes from the Weston A. Price Foundation indicate that fortified table salt can easily provide too much iodine. But on the flip side, if we’re not careful with our diet, we may not be getting enough iodine.
Here’s why we need iodine, but not too much.
“Iodine: Although needed in only minute amounts, iodine is essential for numerous biochemical processes, such as fat metabolism, thyroid function and the production of sex hormones. Muscle cramps are a sign of deficiency as are cold hands and feet, proneness to weight gain, poor memory, constipation, depression and headaches. It seems to be essential for mental development. Iodine deficiency has been linked to mental retardation, coronary heart disease, susceptibility to polio and breast cancer. Sources include most sea foods, unrefined sea salt, kelp and other sea weeds, fish broth, butter, pineapple, artichokes, asparagus and dark green vegetables. Certain vegetables, such as cabbage and spinach, can block iodine absorption when eaten raw or unfermented. Requirements for iodine vary widely. In general, those whose ancestors come from seacoast areas require more iodine than those whose ancestors come from inland regions. Proper iodine utilization requires sufficient levels of vitamin A, supplied by animal fats. In excess, iodine can be toxic. Consumption of high amounts of inorganic iodine (as in iodized salt or iodine-fortified bread) as well as of organic iodine (as in kelp) can cause thyroid problems similar to those of iodine deficiency, including goiter.”
Here are the food sources of iodine, and the last item tells how much we need each day.
“PLANT FOODS: Any food grown near the sea is likely to contain iodine, but especially rich sources include asparagus, garlic, lima beans, mushrooms, strawberries, spinach, pineapple and leafy greens. Coconut products, which always grow near the ocean, are good sources of iodine. Blackstrap molasses also provides iodine.
SEAFOOD: Iodine levels vary widely in fish and shellfish, but all seafoods contain some iodine. In published reports, cod, haddock, whiting, oysters and mussels test high. The hepatopancreas (yellow “butter” or “mustard”) in lobster tested as an extremely rich source and it is likely that the hepatopancreas of other saltwater shellfish would contain high levels of iodine as well.
BUTTER: Butter from cows pastured on iodine-rich soil will contain iodine. Look for butter from farms located near the ocean, or that have used seaweed or fish meal as a soil amendment. The cows should also be fed sea salt. The combination of iodine with selenium and vitamin A in butter make this traditional fat an ideal food for the thyroid gland.
SEAWEED: Levels of iodine in seaweed vary widely according to species and how the seaweed is dried. One study found a huge range of 2-817 mcg iodine per 100 grams. Iodine content is reduced when seaweed is dried in the sun, and iodine may vaporize during cooking and humid storage conditions. Some Asian seaweed dishes contain in excess of 1,100 mcg iodine (Thyroid Oct 2004, 14(10):836-841). Seaweed contains lignans, phytoestrogens that can depress thyroid function. This may explain why thyroid problems (except for goiter) are common among the Japanese, even though they eat a lot of seaweed.
SALT: Five grams (one teaspoon) of unrefined sea salt, a conservative estimate of the amount typically consumed in a day, provides only about 3 mcg iodine; iodized salt provides over 1,500 mcg iodine per five grams. The FDA’s Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for adults is 1,100 mcg per day; thus, it is possible to greatly exceed the UL by using iodized salt.”
And here’s a bit more about kelp (seaweed).
Kelp: Like all sea vegetables, kelp provides minerals found in sea water, especially iodine and trace minerals that may be lacking in our depleted soils. For Westerners unaccustomed to including seaweeds in the diet, a small daily supplement of kelp in tablet or powdered form is a good idea, but don’t overdo—excess iodine may also cause thyroid problems.
Since we’re pretty sure our soil is not iodine-rich, we probably don’t get iodine in the butterfat in our goat milk. We use unrefined sea salt on a daily basis – most of the time in the form of a homemade seasoning salt that contains kelp. Don’t be scared; this is a great tasting seasoning salt. And the level of kelp could be increased more, as its presence is not detectable to anyone with tastebuds. 😉
How do you make sure you’re getting iodine, but not too much?
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