"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Sunday, March 27, 2011

RADIATION: Iodine rich foods

     With the hopes you will never need to know this, I am passing on to you what I have learned about protecting oneself from the effects of nuclear radiation, specifically iodine-131:

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has a good discussion of how to prevent radiation-induced thyroid cancer and a list of  iodine-rich foods which I've pasted below.

Disease Prevention: Radiation-induced thyroid cancer
Radioactive iodine, especially 131I, may be released into the environment as a result of nuclear reactor accidents. Thyroid accumulation of radioactive iodine increases the risk of developing thyroid cancer, especially in children. The increased iodine trapping activity of the thyroid gland in iodine deficiency results in increased thyroid accumulation of radioactive iodine (131I). Thus, iodine-deficient individuals are at increased risk of developing radiation-induced thyroid cancer because they will accumulate greater amounts of radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide administered in pharmacologic doses (50-100 mg for adults) within 48 hours before or eight hours after radiation exposure from a nuclear reactor accident can significantly reduce thyroid uptake of 131I and decrease the risk of radiation-induced thyroid cancer (24). The prompt and widespread use of potassium iodide prophylaxis in Poland after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident may explain the lack of a significant increase in childhood thyroid cancer in Poland compared to fallout areas where potassium iodide prophylaxis was not widely used (25). In the U.S., the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires that consideration be given to potassium iodide as a protective measure for the general public in the case of a major release of radioactivity from a nuclear power plant (26).

Food sources
The iodine content of most foods depends on the iodine content of the soil. Seafood is rich in iodine because marine animals can concentrate the iodine from seawater. Certain types of seaweed (e.g., wakame) are also very rich in iodine. Processed foods may contain slightly higher levels of iodine due to the addition of iodized salt or food additives, such as calcium iodate and potassium iodate. Dairy products are relatively good sources of iodine because iodine is commonly added to animal feed in the U.S. In the U.K. and northern Europe, iodine levels in dairy products tend to be lower in summer when cattle are allowed to graze in pastures with low soil iodine content (6). The table below lists the iodine content of some iodine-rich foods in micrograms (mcg). Because the iodine content of foods can vary considerably, these values should be considered approximate (30).

Food Serving Iodine (mcg)
Salt (iodized) 1 gram 77
Cod 3 ounces* 99
Shrimp 3 ounces 35
Fish sticks 2 fish sticks 35
Tuna, canned in oil 3 ounces (1/2 can) 17
Milk (cow's) 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) 56
Egg, boiled 1 large 12
Navy beans, cooked 1/2 cup 32
Potato with peel, baked 1 medium 60
Turkey breast, baked 3 ounces 34
Seaweed 1/4 ounce, dried Variable; may be greater than 4,500 mcg (4.5 mg)
*A three-ounce serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.

Another source listed cheddar cheese, condensed milk, eggs, fish, fish oils, malt bread, sea salt, trifle and Naan bread as iron-rich foods. TRIFLE? A trifle, to the British, is "a cold dessert made with sponge cake spread with jam or fruit, soaked in wine or sherry, covered with a custard sauce and cream." Why eat seaweed to stave off radiation poisoning when you can eat trifle? Just asking.



  1. Well, for one reason, your body isn't able to process/absorb the nutrients from seaweed very well.

  2. I wrote my brothers: "Hey guys, what is that quote from some famous Brit (not, apparently, Winston) about English trifle (the dessert)? I'm posting a list of iodine-rich foods which protect against radiation--and one source I read listed "trifle" as one of them. (Beats seaweed!)"

    Ted wrote back tongue-in-cheek, "I don't know, but you're getting into dangerous theological territory. See following quote.

    'Never think that Jesus commanded a trifle...'
    Dwight L. Moody