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How to Get More Iodine in the Diet

by
author image Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.
How to Get More Iodine in the Diet
A woman holds vitamin supplements and a glass of water. Photo Credit Michael Shivers/iStock/Getty Images

Though iodine supplements – and multivitamin supplements containing iodine – are available, you can actually meet your daily iodine needs by eating a well-balanced diet that includes iodine-rich foods. Because your body uses dietary iodine to make thyroid hormone, iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism -- which slows down your metabolism -- and cause mental retardation in babies born to iodine-deficient mothers, according to the American Thyroid Association. Fortunately, a variety of healthy foods are good sources of iodine.

Iodine Requirements

How to Get More Iodine in the Diet
A female patient sits in an exam room and talks to her doctor. Photo Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Including iodine-rich foods in your diet every day will help you meet the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for iodine. But talk with your doctor if you’re pregnant, nursing or have hypothyroidism to see if iodine supplements are appropriate for you. According to the Institute of Medicine, the iodine RDA is 150 micrograms daily for adult men and women, 220 micrograms per day during pregnancy and 290 micrograms of iodine daily for women who are breastfeeding.

Dairy Foods

How to Get More Iodine in the Diet
A yogurt smoothie with fresh fruit on a table. Photo Credit peredniankina/iStock/Getty Images

Dairy foods -- including milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream -- are excellent sources of dietary iodine. Even soy milk is a good source of iodine, according to the American Thyroid Association. The Office of Dietary Supplements reports that 1 cup of yogurt provides 75 micrograms of iodine, 1 cup of milk contains 56 micrograms, 1/2 cup of chocolate ice cream provides 30 micrograms and 1 ounce of cheddar cheese contains about 12 micrograms of dietary iodine. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests consuming three 1-cup equivalents of dairy foods daily when eating 2,000 calories a day.

Seafood and Seaweed

How to Get More Iodine in the Diet
Two fresh fish filets stuffed wtih shrimp and spinach over rice. Photo Credit Maria_Lapina/iStock/Getty Images

Eating seafood – especially fish – or seaweed is a good way to boost your dietary iodine intake. Three ounces of cod, fish sticks and shrimp provide 99, 54 and 35 micrograms of iodine, respectively, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. The amount of iodine in one whole sheet of seaweed is highly variable and is anywhere between 16 and 2,984 micrograms of iodine. If you’re pregnant or nursing, limit fish consumption to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish – such as shrimp, catfish or salmon -- weekly, suggests the American Pregnancy Association.

Iodized Salt

How to Get More Iodine in the Diet
A bottle of spilled table salt on a cutting board. Photo Credit Jiri Hera/iStock/Getty Images

Using iodized salt – in moderation – instead of regular salt on foods is an excellent way to boost your daily iodine intake. It’s important to note, however, that not all salt is iodized. The Office of Dietary Supplements reports that 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt contains about 71 micrograms of iodine, which is almost half of the adult RDA. But use table salt sparingly since it can drastically boost your sodium intake. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests limiting sodium to 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams daily -- and 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt contains about 581 milligrams of sodium, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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