How to Add More Iodine to Your Diet

Three Methods:Adjusting Your DietTaking Iodine SupplementsUnderstanding Iodine Deficiency

Your body does not make iodine. Instead, you need to consume iodine in form of food or iodine supplements. If you don’t have enough iodine in your body, known as an iodine deficiency, your body cannot make enough thyroid hormone and your thyroid becomes enlarged.[1] This can lead to serious thyroid issues, as well as poor health overall. Iodine is also important for pregnant women, as an iodine deficiency in expectant mothers can lead to serious health issues for the baby.[2]

Method 1
Adjusting Your Diet

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    Be aware of your required iodine intake, based on age and gender. Depending on your age and gender, you will need to ensure you are getting a certain amount of iodine each day.[3]
    • If you are 0-6 months: you need 110 micrograms per day (mcg/day) of iodine.
    • If you are 7-12 months: 130 mcg/day.
    • If you are 1-3 years old: 90 mcg/day.
    • If you are 4-8 years old: 90 mcg/day.
    • If you are 9-13 years old: 120 mcg/day.
    • If you are male and 14 and older: 150 mcg/day.
    • If you are female and 14 and older: 150 mcg/day.
    • Women who are pregnant or breast feeding need higher amounts of iodine. Speak to your doctor about exactly how much iodine you should be getting every day based on your age, gender, and other factors, such as pregnancy.
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    Add table salt to your meals. Most table salts have iodine as an added ingredient. Unless you are on a low-sodium diet, adding table salt to your meals every day is an effective way to add iodine to your diet. Most adults can get 100% of their daily intake of iodine by adding a total of just over 1/2 teaspoon of iodized table salt (approximately 3g) to their meals.[4]
    • You can add iodized salt when you cook and bake. For example, if a recipe calls for salt, use iodized table salt. Iodized table salt does not taste any different from normal table salt.
    • You can also replace your salt shaker with iodized table salt. That way, when you reach for salt during a meal, you are also adding iodine to your dish.
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    Don't have more than 1/2 teaspoon of salt every day. A diet with too much salt could lead to the same symptoms as iodine deficiency, including goiter and hyperthyroidism.[5]
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    Consume more dairy and eggs. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are all good sources of iodine. Incorporate a variety of dairy products into your diet, as well as eggs.[6]
    • Start your morning with a bowl of yogurt. A single cup of plain, low-fat yogurt can provide up to 50% of your daily recommended iodine intake. Add fresh fruit, granola, and honey for flavor and more essential nutrients.[7]
    • Drink reduced fat milk. A single cup of skim or 1% milk can provide almost 40% of your daily recommended intake of iodine.
    • Have eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A single large egg can provide about 16% of your daily iodine intake; serve it on toast, in a breakfast burrito, poached with asparagus, or in a quiche.
    • Add goat’s cheese to your salad or to your pizza. Cheese is high in iodine and also contains essential B vitamins, calcium, and protein. One ounce of raw cheddar cheese contains around 10-15 mcg of iodine. Goat’s milk is usually easier for most people’s digestive system and contains high levels of calcium and protein.[8]
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    Eat more seafood. Seafood, such as cod, haddock, and shrimp, are all excellent sources of iodine. Focus on eating a variety of seafood to get the healthy fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and iodine you need to maintain a healthy concentration of iodine in your body.[9]
    • Go for white fish like cod, sea bass, and haddock. Bake the white fish or steam it to get the most nutritional benefits, and ⅔ of your daily recommended intake of iodine.
    • Have a tuna sandwich for lunch or shrimp cocktail as an appetizer or a snack. A can of tuna, about 3 ounces, can provide about ¼ of your daily iodine intake. 3 ounces of shrimp proves nearly ¼ of your daily iodine intake.
    • Be wary of overeating seafood as certain seafood can contain high levels of mercury, which can be toxic if they are over consumed. Seafood such as haddock, whitefish, trout, shrimp, and scallops are known to have the least amount of mercury. Avoid eating seafood such as ahi tuna, canned albacore tuna, sea bass, bluefish, and swordfish, as these are known to have higher levels of mercury.
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    Check for your geographical region of leaving
    • See whether you stay in sea region or water body region. Because this region posses more iodine salt quantity in it naturally.
    • The vegetables and fruits grew in sea region having more natural iodine salt.[10]
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    Have more enriched grain products like enriched bread and pasta. Enriched grains are products where certain B vitamins and iron have been added to them after processing. They are also great sources of iodine.
    • Look for enriched bread at your grocery store. Many brands will state if they are enriched on the label.
    • Make whole wheat enriched pasta with cod or other seafood to have a meal rich with iodine.
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    Add more beans to your diet, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan. Vegetarians and vegans are at a higher risk for iodine deficiency as they do not eat iodine rich sources like seafood or dairy products. Beans, especially navy beans, are high in iodine and fiber.[11]
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    Don’t eat too much seaweed. Seaweed is naturally concentrated with lots of iodine, but it can provide excessive amounts of iodine in your body, especially brown seaweed such as kelp. So only eat seaweed once a week (yes, the seaweed that is wrapped around your sushi counts), especially if you are pregnant.[12]
    • Excessive amounts of iodine can lead to serious health issues including goiter and hyperthyroidism.[13]

Method 2
Taking Iodine Supplements

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    Talk to your doctor before you take iodine supplements. Most adults who follow a healthy, balanced diet that contains milk, dairy products, and fish should be able to meet their iodine requirements. But supplements containing iodine can help you meet your iodine needs if you do not or cannot consume iodine-rich foods. It’s important to speak to your doctor before you take iodine supplements to ensure you are taking the correct amount and you are taking the iodine supplement that is right for your body.[14]
    • If you have thyroid disease, are taking other medication, or have experienced iodine deficiency over a long period of time, you should always talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
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    Look for ‘potassium iodide’ supplements. The capsules should not exceed the daily adult requirement of 150 mcg/day.[15]
    • Do not take seaweed or kelp supplements as sources of iodine. The amount of iodine in these supplements can vary and in some cases, provide excessive quantities of iodine.
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    Take multivitamin and mineral supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It can be difficult to meet the higher recommended iodine intake when you are pregnant or breastfeeding through just diet alone. But many multivitamin and mineral supplements contain iodine. Check the labels of these supplements to make sure they provide 140 - 150 mcg of iodine. The remainder of the required iodine intake can be met by your diet.[16]
    • If you consume high quantities of iodine-rich foods while pregnant, you may not need to take an iodine supplement. Check with your doctor about your iodine levels before you take any supplements.

Method 3
Understanding Iodine Deficiency

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    Recognize the symptoms of an iodine deficiency. All of the symptoms of iodine deficiency are related to its effect on your thyroid. Your thyroid is a gland in your throat that regulates your metabolic processes, such as growth and energy in your body. If you don’t have enough iodine in your diet, this can lead to iodine deficiency disorders such as:[17]
    • Goiter: This is when your thyroid enlarges, or develops a goiter, as it tries to keep up with the demand for thyroid hormone production in your body. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiter. If you have goiter, you may experience symptoms like choking, especially when lying down, and difficulty swallowing and breathing.
    • Hypothyroidism: This is when you have an underactive thyroid gland, as your thyroid can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep your body running normally. If you have hypothyroidism, your body’s processes will start to slow down. You may feel colder, tire more easily, your skin may get drier, and you may become forgetful or depressed. The symptoms for hypothyroidism are variable so the only way to confirm you have this disorder is to get a blood test. Patients with thyroid disorders should not automatically start an iodine supplement because there are certain types of thyroid disease that are contraindications for iodine supplements.
    • Pregnancy related issues: Severe iodine deficiency in mothers has been associated with miscarriages, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and congenital abnormalities. The children of mothers with severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy can have mental issues and problems with growth, hearing, and speech. In fact, even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy may be associated with low intelligence in children.[18]
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    Get tested for an iodine deficiency. Iodine is released from your body when you pee. Thus, the best way to determine if you have iodine deficiency is to speak to your doctor and have her do tests on your urine.[19] She will then be able to look at the results and check if you have an iodine deficiency based on the iodine concentration in your urine sample.[20]
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    Be aware of the health issues associated with consuming too much iodine. If you already have thyroid problems, like hyperthyroidism, too much iodine can actually worsen your thyroid disorder. Follow the minimum amount of iodine required for you, based on your age and gender. Adults should not exceed 600 mcg/day of iodine to avoid consuming too much iodine.[21]
    • Some people who move from an iodine-deficient region, such as parts of Europe, to a region with higher levels of iodine, such as the United States, may also develop thyroid problems since their thyroids have gotten used to taking in small amounts of iodine. This may then put them at risk of developing hyperthyroidism.[22]

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Categories: Nutrition and Lifestyle Eating