I JUST NOTICED MY SEA SALT GRINDER STATES ON THE LABEL “THIS SALT DOES NOT SUPPLY IODINE, A NECESSARY NUTRIENT.”  I looked at my garlic salt and it has no iodine.  My regular iodized salt has been in the cupboard for eons used mainly for gargling when inflicted with a sore throat!  Salt was iodized because people were developing deficiencies and hypothyroid – an under-active condition of the thyroid.  I had to check it out – there still are countries where iodine deficiency is prevalentIF WE ALL ATE SEAWEED WE’D BE OK.  But, if you like meat, poultry and seafood, drink milk, eat baked potatoes and enjoy beans in your diet, you can probably get enough iodine.


Iodine is a chemical element essential for the production of thyroid hormones that regulate growth and metabolism. Diets deficient in iodine increase risk of retarded brain development in children (cretinism), mental slowness, high cholesterol, lethargy, fatigue, depression, weight gain, and goiter: a swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck. Please note that both too much and too little iodine can cause hypothyroidism.
Iodine is a component of almost every living plant and animal. No standard measurements of iodine in food exist because iodine concentrations vary across the world. In general, foods from the sea contain the most iodine, followed by animal foods, and then plant foods. Of all foods seaweed, like kelp, is the most famous and reliable source of natural iodine, however egg and dairy products can also be good sources.
Select Food Samples for Iodine Content Please note that other than dried seaweed and fortified salt the concentrations of iodine in these foods can vary widely and this table should be taken as a rough guide. Food Serving Size Iodine Dried Seaweed (Buy from Amazon.com) 1/4 ounce >4,500µg (4.5 mg) (3000% DV) Cod 3 ounces* 99µg (66% DV) Iodized Salt (Fortified) 1 gram 77µg (51% DV) Baked Potato with peel 1 medium 60µg (40% DV) Milk 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) 56µg (37% DV) Shrimp 3 ounces 35µg (23% DV) Fish sticks 2 fish sticks 35µg (23% DV) Turkey breast, baked 3 ounces 34µg (23% DV) Navy beans, cooked 1/2 cup 32µg (21% DV) Tuna, canned in oil 3 ounces (1/2 can) 17µg (11% DV) Egg, boiled 1 large 12µg (8% DV) *A three-ounce serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Source: Linus Pauling Institute Article on Iodine How much iodine do I need?
In your entire lifetime you will need less than a teaspoon of iodine to ensure good health, however, your body cannot store iodine so you have to eat a little bit every day. You only need 150 micrograms (mcg, µg), or 20,000th of a teaspoon, to meet your daily requirement. If iodine is in most plant and animal foods how can anyone be deficient? According to the World Health Organization iodine deficiencies exist in 54 countries as of 2003. Map provided by the World Health Organization
There is no exact answer as to why iodine deficiencies occur, however, two theories exist: People live in a part of the world with low levels of iodine in the soil or sea. People eat high amounts of refined foods that lose their iodine content during refinement. Refined sugar, for example, has no iodine. Some countries, like the U.S., show risk from excess iodine intake which suggests over consumption of foods fortified in iodine, like salt.
Is too much iodine good or bad? The tolerable upper intake for iodine is set at 1.1mg (1,100µg) for adults 19 years and older. Risks of high iodine intake include both hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and goiter. Really acute iodine poisoning can lead to burning of the mouth, throat, and stomach; fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weak pulse, and even coma.5 With that said, some studies suggest that Japanese intake of iodine is up to 1.2mg (1,200µg) a day, and can confer health benefits, including cancer protection. Japanese people get most of their iodine from kelp seaweed. Please consult your doctor before taking high doses of iodine, do so with caution, and for limited time periods.
Is there Iodine in Breast Milk? New mothers should be aware that their breast milk contains iodine for their new born children. The amount of iodine in breast milk will depend on the mother’s diet. A 1984 sample of women from the United States found the average concentration of iodine excreted in breast milk to be 114µg per day.4 This more than meets the adequate intake requirement of 110µg per day for infants ranging 0-6 months, but falls a little short of the 130µg per day requirement for infants ranging 7 months to 1 year. This should not necessarily be taken as a cause to eat a lot more iodine on the part of lactating women, as too much iodine can also be harmful.
I don’t eat salt, meat, or seaweed, where can I get iodine? Your options are to consider supplements, buy foods enriched in iodine, or ensure that the plant foods you consume come from parts of the world where the soil is rich in iodine.
I have hypothyroidism, can I consume iodine foods, or take iodine supplements? Worldwide, iodine deficiency is the number one cause of hypothyroidism, however, iodine deficiency rarely causes hypothyroidism in the U.S. The only time you should consume iodine is if the cause of your hypothyroidism is from iodine deficiency, and even then, only consume moderate amounts. Note: Too little or too much iodine can cause hypothyroidism. Other causes of hypothyroidism include: Hashimoto’s disease, thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid), congenital hypothyroidism, surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid, radiation treatment of the thyroid, and some medications. If you have hypothyroidism from these causes, the U.S. National Institute of Health cautions that: “…taking iodine drops or eating foods containing large amounts of iodine—such as seaweed, dulse, or kelp—may cause or worsen hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.” As such, only consume iodine in moderate amounts to maintain a proper level.



Twice a week, make seafood—fish and shellfish—the main protein food on your plate.
Seafood contains a range of nutrients, including healthy omega-3 fats. According to the
2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating about 8 ounces per week (less for young children) of a variety of seafood can help prevent heart disease



1.get creative with seafood
Think beyond the fish fillet. Try salmon patties, a shrimp
stir-fry, grilled fish tacos, or clams with whole-wheat
pasta. Add variety by trying a new fish such as grilled Atlantic
or Pacific mackerel, herring on a
salad, or oven-baked pollock.

2.put it on a salad or in a sandwich
Top a salad with grilled scallops, shrimp, or crab in place
of steak or chicken. Use canned tuna or salmon for sandwiches
in place of deli meats, which are often higher in sodium.

Bowl of Japanese Delicacies

3.shop smart
Eating more seafood does not have to be expensive.
Whiting, tilapia, suai, sardines, canned tuna, and some
frozen seafood are usually lower cost options. Check the local
newspaper, online, and at the store for sales, coupons, and
specials to help save money on seafood.

4.grow up healthy with seafood
Omega-3 fats from seafood can help improve nervous
system development in infants and children. Serve
seafood to children twice a week in portions appropriate for
their age and appetite. A variety of seafood lower in mercury
should also be part of a healthy diet for women who are
pregnant or breastfeeding.

5.know your seafood portions
To get 8 ounces of seafood a week, use these
as guides: A drained can of tuna is about 3 to
4 ounces, a salmon steak ranges from 4 to 6 ounces, and
1 small trout is about 3 ounces.

6. eat a variety of seafood
Include some that are higher in omega-3s and lower
in mercury, such as salmon, trout, oysters, Atlantic
and Pacific mackerel, herring, and sardines.

grilled fish

7.keep it lean and flavorful
Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or
baking—they don’t add extra fat.
Avoid breading or frying seafood and
creamy sauces, which add calories and fat. Using spices
or herbs, such as dill, chili powder, paprika, or cumin, and
lemon or lime juice, can add flavor without adding salt.

8.shellfish counts too!
Oysters, mussels, clams, and calamari (squid) all
supply healthy omega-3s. Try mussels marinara,
oyster stew, steamed clams, or pasta with calamari.


9.keep seafood on hand
Canned seafood, such as canned salmon, tuna, or
sardines, is quick and easy to use. Canned white tuna is
higher in omega-3s, but canned “light” tuna
is lower in mercury.

10.cook it safely
Check oysters, mussels, and clams before cooking.
If shells don’t clamp shut when you tap them, throw
them away. After cooking, also toss any that didn’t open.
This means that they may not be safe to eat. Cook shrimp,
lobster, and scallops until they are opaque (milky white).
Cook fish to 145°F, until it flakes with a fork.

Adapted from USDA 10 tips series.