A diet rich in iodine-rich foods may lower the risk of hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid disorder that causes improper functioning of the thyroid gland.We spend a lot of time writing about different types of dietary supplements. And we have a lot of articles about iodine supplements. It is perhaps the most popular and most useful supplement you can take. There are foods that naturally contain it, and there are also iodine supplements that are beneficial to the body for a number of reasons.
People looking to include more iodine in their diet can increase their intake of the following foods:
Seaweed is full of naturally occurring iodine and contains about 232 micrograms (mcg) per serving. That’s more than the 150 mcg recommended daily intake (RDI) for men and non-pregnant females.
Seaweed’s high iodine content is thanks to its ability to absorb concentrated iodine from the ocean.
In general, seafood is a good source of iodine. However, cod is particularly high in this essential mineral. One serving, or 3 ounces (oz.) of cod contains roughly 158 mcg of iodineTrusted Source, meeting the RDI for most adults.
Researchers have found that the body of water the fish lives in determines how much iodine cod contains. For example, cod from the Norwegian Sea had more iodineTrusted Source than Atlantic cod from the North Sea.
Halibut is another seafood high in iodine. Research shows that Atlantic halibut contains about 21 mcgTrusted Source of iodineTrusted Source per serving. Although that is less than some other fish, it still provides a good amount of iodine.
Pollock is a member of the cod family that frequents the cold waters of the North Pacific. A 120 gram (g) serving of Alaskan pollock provides around 67 mcg of iodine, which is about half of the RDI.
It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, selenium, and niacin, which all contribute to immune and nervous system health.
Though crab contains less iodine than other seafood, it still provides 26–50 mcgTrusted Source in a 100-g serving.
Besides being a good source of protein, crab also contains many other essential nutrients. It provides selenium, B12, and zinc.
Scallops are a great source of iodine. They provide 135 mcg per serving, which is 90% of the RDI. They may also be beneficial for heart health and the central nervous systemTrusted Source.
Squid, commonly consumed as calamari, contains about 65 mcg per serving. It is also a good source of Vitamin CTrusted Source, iron, and calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Because tuna is a fattier fish than other varieties, it contains less iodine. However, at 17 mcg per 3 oz.Trusted Source serving, it is still a decent source of the mineral.
Tuna is an accessible, relatively affordable source of iodine that people may find easier to add to their diet than some other seafood.
Dairy products are also a good source of iodine. For example, one cup of nonfat cow’s milk on average contains 85 mcgTrusted Source, which is more than half the RDI.
Despite this, an abstract from a 2017 studyTrusted Source states that the actual iodine concentration in milk products varies greatly. Factors influencing the total concentration include milk yield, season, and whether the farmer engages in teat-dipping with iodine-containing disinfectants. This means milk has a variable amount of iodine.
Certain types of cheese provide more iodine than others. However, on average, cheese contains 37.5 mcg of iodine per 100 g of cheese.
Like other dairy products, yogurt is a good source of iodine. Just one cup of plain Greek yogurt provides up to 116 mcgTrusted Source of iodine.
Eggs — specifically egg yolks — are a good source of iodine. Typically, one large egg contains 26 mcg of iodineTrusted Source.
13. Iodized salt
Perhaps the most popular and plentiful source of iodine in the average person’s diet is iodized salt. It takes just over half a teaspoonTrusted Source of iodized salt to get the RDI of iodine.
This is one of the most convenient and affordable ways to prevent iodine deficiency. It is a particularly good source of iodine for people who follow plant-based diets, as plant foods are generally a poor source of iodine.
Why iodine is important
Iodine is an essential mineral for thyroid regulation. Without sufficient iodine, people may experience issues like weight gain, excessive fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, and cognitive impairment.
The presence of the mineral in iodized salt makes some people think that sodium and iodine are synonymous. However, this is not true. Classic table salt is available with and without iodine, and many popular salts, like sea salt and pink Himalayan salt, do not contain iodine.
How much iodine per day?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)Trusted Source, the recommended daily intake for iodine is 150 mcg in adult men and women. In the United States and Canada, just one teaspoon of iodized salt contains 250 mcg. This makes it relatively easy to meet the RDI.
It is important to note the iodine recommendation for pregnant females is significantly higher, at 220 mcg.
Because the risk of iodine deficiency drastically increases during pregnancy, the American Thyroid Association recommends that people planning on becoming pregnant take a daily prenatal vitamin containing at least 150 mcg of iodine.
Risks associated with iodine deficiency
People most at risk for iodine deficiencies are pregnant females and people who consume diets low in sodium.
Failure to consume an adequate amount of iodine each day could result in long-term thyroid problems. Goiter, hypothyroidism, and pregnancy complications can all result from an iodine deficiency.
Learn more about the signs of iodine deficiency.
Risks of too much iodine
Consuming too much iodine can also be problematic. A diet containing excess iodine is associated with thyroid gland inflammation and thyroid cancerTrusted Source. The damage from a high-iodine diet occurs over time.
Additionally, eating a very large serving of iodine at one time can result in short-term discomfort. A person may experience burning of the mouth and stomach, fever, nausea, and diarrhea.
People who take iodine supplements should ensure the product contains only the RDI, or less, in order to avoid consuming too much iodine.
Iodine: foods, functions, how much do you need & more
What is iodine?
Iodine is one of the trace elements, which our bodies need in very small amounts to keep healthy. Most of the world’s iodine is found in the oceans, which is why marine species of fish and plants, such as a seafood and algae, are usually rich sources of this mineral.
What are the functions of iodine?
Most of our bodies’ iodine is stored in our thyroid gland, which sits on the front of our necks and releases a group of hormones called thyroid hormones. In fact, iodine is key in the production of our thyroid hormones, which in turn affect our overall metabolism. For example, thyroid hormones help our bodies produce energy and help regulate our bodies’ temperature. They’re particularly important during pregnancy and childhood, as they ensure our normal growth and development, including that of our brain and nervous system.
How much iodine do I need per day?
How much iodine you need per day changes according to your age, sex and life-stage.
The dietary reference value (DRV)* for healthy adults (over the age of 18) is 150 μg of iodine per day. During pregnancy and lactation, needs can go up to 200 μg per day.
Following your country’s dietary guidelines on a healthy and balanced diet will help you meet your needs for iodine.
If you are planning to change your diet, have recently done so, or are concerned that you might not be getting enough iodine, we recommend that you consult a qualified nutritionist or dietitian to discuss how to best meet your own nutritional needs.
* These values are based on the adequate intake (AI) estimates from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). They should not be interpreted as nutrient goals. To know more about DRVs in Europe click here.
What foods contain iodine?
Iodine can be found in some foods, as well as in drinking water, though in varying amounts.
Some of the richest sources of iodine are seafood, such as fish, shellfish, molluscs and seaweed. We can also get iodine from eggs, milk and dairy, though the amounts depend on the iodine content of the animal’s diet.
Many countries add iodine to salt (iodised salt), which helps to increase the intake of this mineral. While iodised salt can be a good alternative to regular salt, we should be mindful about our salt intake in general and prioritise other sources of iodine in the diet.
Does iodine interact with other nutrients?
Low levels of vitamin A, selenium, zinc, copper or iron, can impair the functions of iodine in our bodies. However, this is mainly significant when we also have deficient levels of iodine at the same time.
What happens if I have too little iodine?
Diets low in iodine lead to iodine deficiency, which impairs the normal functioning of our thyroid. This usually results in hypothiroidism, a health condition in which our bodies cannot produce enough thyroid hormones. The health consequences of hypothyroidism vary widely between individuals, but commonly include weight gain, excessive tiredness, intolerance to cold and the swelling of our face and other body parts.
Deficient levels of iodine can also have the opposite effect and force our thyroid to work harder and produce more thyroid hormones. This overstimulation of the thyroid gland hyperthyroidism can make it grow, causing a swelling in the neck (goitre). The health consequences of hyperthyroidism vary widely between individuals but can include weight loss, increased appetite, intolerance to heat, insomnia, anxiety, and heart palpitations.
While iodine deficiency can affect our health at any age, it’s particularly concerning during pregnancy and childhood, as it can impair the child’s growth and development, particularly the brain and cognitive development.
What happens if I have too much iodine?
Similar to deficiency, regular high intakes of iodine also affect the normal functioning of our thyroid, increasing the risk of developing hypo- or hyperthyroidism and goitre.
Healthy adults, including during pregnancy and lactation, are advised not to have more than 600 µg of iodine per day, which is about four times the DRV. While it’s not common to get toxic amounts of iodine from foods alone, some such as seafood and algae, may exceed the maximum recommended intake in one serving size, thus should be eaten in moderation.
Before taking iodine supplements, check with your doctor or consult a registered dietitian/nutritionist to discuss if there’s any value or risks in adding a supplement to your diet.
When should I pay extra attention to iodine deficiency?
To some people, it might be hard to get enough iodine from their diets, as their needs are increased, or their food sources are limited.
For example, vegans, vegetarians and those who exclude fish and algae from their diets need to pay extra attention to their iodine intake, as this mineral is mainly present in marine fish and algae and to less extent, in eggs and dairy.
While iodine deficiency can affect our health at any age, it’s particularly concerning during pregnancy and childhood (up to the age of 3 years old), as it can impair the child’s growth and development, such as that of the brain and nervous system. This is important in exclusively breastfeeding vegans and vegetarians since their babies get all their iodine from breastmilk.
Foods With Iodine
Top Foods High in Iodine
Why You Need Iodine
Foods With Iodine
Iodine is a trace mineral that’s generally found in seafood. It’s an essential micronutrient, which means that your body needs it to function properly. On its own, iodine is a dark, shiny stone or a purple dye. However, it’s generally found in invisible trace amounts in water and soil, or as part of other compounds in food.
Your body uses iodine to run several important body processes. While iodine supplements are available, iodine is also frequently added to other foods as a fortification. In places where iodine fortification is common, iodine deficiency is rare.
However, nearly one-third of the world is still at risk for iodine deficiency. Getting enough iodine in your diet has been shown to help improve your metabolism, your brain health, and your hormone levels.
Why You Need Iodine
Your body can’t produce iodine, which makes it an essential micronutrient. Iodine is critical for your thyroid and plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormone.
Since your body can’t produce iodine, it’s important to get enough from your diet. The currently accepted minimum daily intake requirement for iodine is 150 micrograms (mcg). Pregnant and lactating women should consume 220 and 290 mcg respectively.
If you aren’t getting enough iodine, you may start to develop symptoms of hypothyroidism or begin to develop a goiter (abnormal enlargement of your thyroid gland).
Getting enough iodine has been shown to help your body in a number of ways, including:
Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when your body cannot produce enough thyroid hormone. This hormone helps your body maintain your metabolism and supports your organ function. Iodine is critical for your body’s thyroid hormone production, so getting enough iodine may prevent or cure symptoms of hypothyroidism.
If your body is unable to produce enough thyroid hormone, then your thyroid itself may start to grow. Your thyroid is in your neck, just under your jaw. When it starts to grow, you will notice a strange lump developing on your neck. This is known as a goiter. Getting enough iodine can prevent goiters.
Reduced Risk of Birth Defects
People who are pregnant should consume more iodine than others. Iodine helps prevent several types of birth defects. In particular, iodine helps support healthy brain development. Getting enough iodine during pregnancy can prevent birth defects that affect the brain, miscarriage, and stillbirth.
Foods With Iodine
Iodine can be found in a number of foods, but it’s most common in seafood. Eating a diet rich in fish can help you get enough iodine to experience the benefits it offers. According to the National Institutes of Health, these eight foods are some of the best sources of iodine available.
Hands down, seaweed is the best source of iodine available. A 10 gram serving of dried nori seaweed (the type of seaweed used in sushi) contains up to 232 mcg of iodine, more than 1.5 times the daily required minimum.
Seafood in general is a great source of iodine, but cod is particularly healthy. A three-ounce serving of baked cod contains 158 mcg of iodine, which meets your daily minimum.
Salt or table salt for human food use to which iodide has not been added shall bear the statement, “This salt does not supply iodide, a necessary nutrient.”
Aside from seafood, dairy is one of the best iodine options available. An eight-ounce serving of nonfat cow’s milk contains 85 mcg of iodine, more than half of what you need daily.
Like milk, nonfat Greek yogurt is an excellent source of iodine. Because Greek yogurt is denser than milk, it has a higher concentration of iodine: up to 116 mcg per eight ounces.
Another great source of seafood iodine comes from oysters. Just three ounces of cooked oysters can provide up to 93 mcg of iodine, nearly two-thirds of what you need per day.
Animal sources of iodine are generally the richest sources available, and eggs are no exception. A single hard-boiled egg provides about 26 mcg of iodine.
While bread on its own is rarely high in iodine, some manufacturers make it with “iodate dough conditioner.” These conditioners are added to enrich the bread, as with table salt. A single slice of white bread made with an iodate dough conditioner contains up to 185 mcg of iodine.
There are few foods that are as nutritionally dense as beef liver. A three-ounce serving of liver can provide 14 mcg of iodine along with the many other vitamins and nutrients it contains.