Iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function. However, Germany is still an iodine-deficient area, which is also due to the cultivation of soils. Iodine must therefore be ingested more through food. Which foods are particularly high in iodine?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one-third of all people worldwide are affected by iodine deficiency. In Europe, the proportion is even higher: about half of all Europeans are affected. Due to its very low iodine soil, Germany is even considered a so-called iodine deficiency area. This makes iodine-containing foods imperative.
Over time, an iodine deficiency can become a serious health problem for those affected, since the human thyroid gland depends on an adequate supply of iodine. Without an iodine-rich diet, various health problems can occur.
What functions do foods containing iodine perform?
Food containing iodine supplies the body – and especially the thyroid gland – with the trace element iodine. This is an indispensable component of the thyroid hormones, which control the formation of proteins and thus tissue growth and cell division.
The development of bones and brain, the metabolism, and the so-called “basic metabolic rate”, i.e. the energy consumption for maintaining bodily functions, are controlled by the thyroid hormones and are therefore dependent on an adequate supply of iodine.
What are the effects of a lack of iodine-containing foods?
An adult human needs about 200 µg iodine daily. That’s roughly equivalent to the amount of iodine in 200 grams of Alaska Pollock or 10 grams of iodized table salt. If too little iodine is supplied to the body over a long period (3-6 months), iodine deficiency occurs. This is expressed by a reduced blood concentration of thyroid hormones.
Permanent damage to the thyroid function can be the result, such as hypothyroidism. This leads to greatly reduced physical and mental performance and increases susceptibility to infections.
However, the opposite effect is also possible: If certain areas of the thyroid gland start to work autonomously due to the iodine deficiency, this can lead to an overactive thyroid gland, which can have a life-threatening effect on the metabolism. In addition, these so-called “hot nodes” increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
To avoid these consequences of a long-term iodine deficiency, the daily diet must contain enough iodine-containing foods. The picture gallery shows what contains a particularly large amount of iodine.