The 6 Best Sources of Iodine – Food, Supplements

Iodine is a chemical element which our body needs no matter our BMI, yet cannot produce on its own. [1] So, we get it from our diet. This mineral is naturally present in the soil and ocean waters.

Although a lot of salt water and plant foods contain it, it’s also widely available in iodized salt and supplements. [2]

Our guide is constructed to help you:

  • Learn the importance of iodine
  • The best food sources of it
  • When supplements play a role

However, there’s generally little iodine in food, unless it’s added in the making. This is why processed foods may be richer in it because of added iodized salt.

Our thyroid gland needs this chemical element to make hormones and if it doesn’t have sufficient, it may cause problems like enlarged thyroid.

Iodine is also important for female ovulation, reduced risk of thyroid cancer, and healthy pregnancy. Iodine deficiency is one of the most common health issues in the world. [3]

This is why in a lot of cases in addition to diet improvements, iodine supplements are also necessary for prevention or treatment of some health problems.

Knowing the importance of iodine for hormonal regulation, fetal development, and more, it’s pivotal that we acquire it from the best source, both foods and supplements.

Find them out below.

The Best Sources of Iodine-Foods & Supplements

1. Cod

This versatile white fish is known for its delicate texture and mild flavor.

Also, it’s one of the healthiest fish in the world. [4] It’s a relatively low-fat and low-calorie fish, yet rich in minerals and nutrients, including iodine.

  • Delicious source of iodine
  • Rich in plenty of nutrients
  • Weight loss friendly fish

The IFCD noted that fish that are low in fat are the most abundant in iodine. Generally speaking, per 3 ounces of cod, you get around 63 to 99 mcg or 42 to 66 percent of the RDA. [5]

However, the presence of iodine in cod may vary and it’s conditioned by the way the fish was raised, either in farms or it’s wild-caught. The region also plays a role.

It’s really a yummy fish that’s easy to cook-you can pan-fry it, broil it, bake it, grill it, etc. and combine it with a variety of veggies.

As it’s low in calories, fat, and carbs and abundant in protein, this fish may be a smart diet choice for people with a higher BMI looking to slim down.

Protein helps build muscle mass and boosts the presence of other pivotal nutrients you need.

2. Seaweed

Seaweed is considered to be among the optimal iodine sources. [6] Still, the amount depends on the type, region, and way of preparation. It tastes briny and salty with a crispy or rubbery texture.

Generally speaking, it’s a good way to supply your body with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

  • Good source of iodine
  • Reduces fat absorption in the body
  • The amount depends on the variety

Also, being a low-calorie food, it can be of aid for those with a higher BMI.

The three most popular varieties of seaweed are wakame, nori, and kombu. Kombu has been found to have the higher presence of iodine among all types of seaweed.

The lowest one is nori, a type of red seaweed which is used only in sushi rolls.

Most of the types don’t need cooking prior to consumption and go great in salads, casseroles, soups, etc.

Moreover, it may be a great choice for people on a weight loss journey-one study from Newcastle University found it a useful ingredient because it prevents the body’s fat absorption. [7]

3. Eggs

Eggs are another good source of iodine. One whole egg is a lean source of protein, as well as numerous vitamins and minerals and healthy fats. As with most other nutrients in eggs, iodine also comes from yolk.

The egg yolks contain iodine as it’s added to chicken feed. However, the amount varies because of the amount of iodine that’s added.

  • The yolk is a great way to acquire iodine
  • Provides you with 16 percent of the RDI
  • Good for dieters

Averagely speaking, one big egg has 24 mcg of iodine or 16 percent of the RDI. [8] If you have a higher BMI, adding eggs to your diet is also a smart move.

They’re known to prolong the feeling of fullness and lower the risk of overeating.

Eggs are also praised for their versatility in terms of prep-you can fry, bake, poach, boil, etc. them and combine them with a long list of veggies and meat for a hearty meal.

4. Dairy

Dairy products are abundant in iodine and it depends on the content of iodine present in the feed of the cattle, as well as the usage of iodine disinfectants during the milking. [9]

  • Dairy products are rich in iodine
  • Yogurt is with the highest amount
  • Delicious & nutritious

According to a study that tested the iodine presence of 18 brands of milk, all of them had at least 88 mcg per 8 ounces. Some brands had up to 168 mcg per a cup.

With this in mind, a cup of milk helps you get between 59 and 11 percent of the RDI. Yogurt is also awesome when it comes to iodine- a cup has around 50 percent of the RDI.

When it comes to cheese, cottage is one of the best options-one cup has 65 mcg.

Dairy is really versatile when it comes to preparation and adding it to your diet. Whether you opt for a glass of milk or yogurt in the morning with oatmeal or add cottage cheese to your meal, it’s always a good and yummy idea.

Dairy also contains other important nutrients besides iodine.

5. Shrimp

Shrimp is seafood low in calories and rich in protein, and it’s also a good source of iodine. [10] When you consume it regularly, you also supply your body with pivotal nutrients like selenium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.

  • Healthy source of iodine
  • Nutritious & delicious
  • Numerous ways to prep it

Same as other seafood, shrimp is great when you need to up your iodine levels as it absorbs some of the iodine naturally found in seawater.

Per 3 ounces of shrimp, you get around 35 mcg of iodine or 23 percent of the RDI. [11] Shrimp can be really delicious-it tastes mild and it’s soft, yet firm.

It’s the healthiest when steamed in water or in broths with spices. You can also bake, broil or sauté them in olive oil.

If you’re on a diet because of a higher BMI, make sure you stay away from the not-so-healthy shrimp options like popcorn or garlic butter shrimp.

6. Iodine supplements

Generally speaking, if you live in the US or in most developed countries, you needn’t take iodine supplements.

However, they’re recommended as a source of iodine in case of hypothyroidism if an iodine deficiency caused it.

  • Iodine deficiencies aren’t common in developed countries
  • May be of aid in case of hypothyroidism
  • Available in 2 forms

This being said, if the iodine deficiency isn’t the cause, the supplements won’t provide any advantages. [12]

And, in some cases like abnormal thyroid function, excessive amounts of it can lead to complications!

Still, when taken orally, iodine is likely safe for most individuals when the dosage is appropriate. The dosage, which you should always consult with your doctor, is mostly conditioned by the reason behind it.

Iodine is usually found in two forms- potassium iodide or sodium iodide. [13] Also, many multivitamin supplements contain it.

Final Thoughts

Without doubt, if we want a healthy thyroid function, optimal cognition, healthy pregnancy, etc. we need to meet the RDI for iodine.

This mineral, which the body needs a lot, but can’t produce on its own, can be acquired mostly through our diets; however, in some cases, supplementation may also be necessary.

Since it’s an essential nutrient, those with limited access to seafood, iodized salt, and some veggies should know other food sources rich in these nutrients.

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