Iodine is an essential mineral for thyroid health. Although many types of seafood are rich in iodine, it is also found in eggs, dairy products and some plant foods. In addition to foods that contain iodine naturally, this mineral can be consumed through fortified sources. Iodized salt is a common source.
Getting enough iodine is important for thyroid health. The thyroid is responsible for hormonal regulation, metabolism, nervous system health, and more. If a person has an iodine deficiency, it can affect their health. A deficiency is especially dangerous for pregnant women.
Here are the 13 iodine-rich foods, how much iodine a person should consume, and the risks of consuming too much or too little of this mineral.
- 1 Foods rich in iodine
- 2 1. Seaweed
- 3 2. Cod
- 4 3. Halibut
- 5 4. Alaska Pollock
- 6 5. Crab
- 7 6. Scallops
- 8 7. Squid
- 9 8. Tuna
- 10 9. Milk
- 11 10. Cheese
- 12 11. Yogurt
- 13 12. Eggs
- 14 13. Iodized salt
- 15 Why iodine is important
- 16 How much iodine per day?
- 17 Risks associated with iodine deficiency
- 18 Risks of excess iodine
- 19 Sources
Foods rich in iodine
Seaweed is full of natural iodine and contains approximately 232 micrograms (mcg) per serving. This is more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 150 mcg for men and non-pregnant women. The high iodine content of seaweed is due to its ability to absorb concentrated iodine from the ocean.
In general, fish and seafood are a good source of iodine. However, cod is particularly rich in this essential mineral. One serving of cod contains approximately 158 mcg of iodine, which is the RDA for most adults.
Halibut is another seafood rich in iodine. Research shows that Atlantic halibut contains about 21 mcg of iodine per serving. Although less than some other fish, it still provides a good amount of iodine.
4. Alaska Pollock
The Alaska pollock is a member of the cod family that frequents the cold waters of the North Pacific. A 120 gram (g) serving of Alaska Pollock provides about 67 mcg of iodine, or about half the RDA. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, selenium, and niacin, all of which contribute to immune and nervous system health.
Although crab contains less iodine than other seafood, it still provides between 26 and 50 mcg in a 100g serving. Apart from being a good source of protein, crab also contains many other essential nutrients. It provides selenium, B12 and zinc.
Scallops are an excellent source of iodine. They provide 135 mcg per serving, or 90% of the RDI. They may also benefit heart health and the central nervous systemTrusted Source.
Squid contains about 65 mcg per serving. It is also a good source of vitamin C, iron, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Since tuna is a fattier fish than other varieties, it contains less iodine. However, at 17 mcg per serving, it’s still a decent source of this mineral. Tuna is an accessible and 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, a cup of non-fat cow’s milk contains an average of 85 mcg, more than half of the RDI.
Some 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 mcg of iodine.
Eggs, especially egg yolks, are a good source of iodine. In general, a large egg contains 26 mcg of iodine.
13. Iodized salt
Iodized salt is perhaps the most popular and abundant source of iodine in the average person’s diet. It takes a little more than half a teaspoon of iodized salt to obtain the AQR of iodine.
It is one of the most convenient and affordable ways to prevent iodine deficiency. This is a particularly good source of iodine for people on a vegetable-based diet, as plant foods are generally a poor source of iodine.
Why iodine is important
Iodine is an essential mineral for the regulation of the thyroid. Without enough iodine, people can experience problems such as weight gain, excessive fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, and cognitive impairment.
The presence of this mineral in iodized salt makes some people think that sodium and iodine are synonymous. However, it is not the case. Classic table salt is available with and without iodine, and many popular salts, pink Himalayan salt, do not contain iodine.
How much iodine per day?
The recommended daily allowance of iodine is 150 mcg for adult men and women. A single teaspoon of iodized salt contains 250 mcg. It is therefore relatively easy to respect the RDA.
It is important to note that the iodine recommendation for pregnant women is significantly higher at 220 mcg.
Since the risk of iodine deficiency increases dramatically during pregnancy, people planning a pregnancy are recommended to take a prenatal vitamin containing at least 150 mcg of iodine daily.
Risks associated with iodine deficiency
The people most at risk of iodine deficiency are pregnant women and people who have a diet low in sodium. Not consuming enough iodine every day can lead to long-term thyroid problems. Goiter, hypothyroidism, and pregnancy complications can all result from iodine deficiency.
Risks of excess iodine
Consuming too much iodine can also be problematic. A diet containing excess iodine is associated with inflammation of the thyroid gland and thyroid cancer. The damage from a high iodine diet occurs over time.
Also, consuming a very large amount of iodine at one time can cause short-term discomfort. A person may experience burning in the mouth and stomach, fever, nausea, and diarrhea. People who take iodine supplements should ensure that the product contains only the AQR, or less, to avoid consuming too much iodine.
Iodine content in food samples. (nd).
Nerhus, I., et al. (2018). Iodine content of six fish species, Norwegian dairy products and hen’s egg.
Pehrsson, P., et al. (2016). Iodine in food—and dietary supplement—composition bases.