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Foods rich in iodine

The iodine is a trace mineral that the body needs to function properly but can not produce. Thus, it is essential to know which foods are rich in iodine and to promote their consumption in the diet.

The thyroid gland needs iodine to make hormones. Thus, when there is a deficiency of this micromineral, different health complications can arise, both in adults and in children.

What is iodine?

Iodine is a very important micromineral for the proper functioning of the body as it plays a leading role in the synthesis of thyroid hormones . Therefore, altered levels of iodine can lead to various diseases, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

The alteration of thyroid hormones can negatively affect both the growth and the subsequent maturation of the central nervous system , in the prenatal stage and during the first years of life. In addition, these hormones are responsible for regulating growth and development, as well as metabolism and reproduction.

The foods with the highest amounts of iodine are fish and shellfish . That is why people allergic to this type of food should take iodized salt, always under medical prescription.


Iodine plays an active role in numerous functions in the body. That is why it is so important to have adequate levels of this trace mineral.

  • Growth: the consumption of foods rich in iodine is essential, especially for children, as it facilitates growth and development.
  • Fat burning: another of the functions of this micro mineral is that it greatly helps excess fat in the body. Thus, foods with a high iodine content are essential in the diet of athletes.
  • Mental agility: another of the functions it fulfills in the body has to do with mental agility. Adequate levels of iodine favor the capacity of both attention and concentration.
  • Cell function: iodine is part of the function of cells.


  • Hormone metabolism: iodine is essential for the synthesis of hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. These hormones perform very important functions in the body, such as balancing oxygen consumption by the tissues or producing energy.
  • Sexual desire: another of the benefits of this micro mineral has to do with libido and increased sexual desire. That is why one of the main symptoms of iodine deficiency is a decrease in sexual desire.
  • Cardiovascular health: it is also responsible for reducing the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries. Therefore, adequate levels of iodine greatly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction .
  • Mental functions: the main reason why pregnant women should consume higher amounts of iodine is that this micro mineral is essential for the mental development of the fetus.
  • Healthy skin: and, finally, it is very important to take care of both the health and the appearance of the skin. Those who suffer from iodine deficiency have excessively dry and rough skin.

Recommended daily amount of iodine

The daily amount of iodine that each person needs depends on their age.

  • Babies (0-6 months): 110 micrograms.
  • Babies (7-12 months): 130 micrograms.
  • Children (1-8 years): 90 micrograms.
  • Children (9-13 years): 120 micrograms.
  • Adolescents (14-18 years): 150 micrograms.
  • Adults: 150 micrograms.
  • Pregnant women: 220 micrograms.
  • Lactating women: 290 micrograms.

The women breastfeeding need almost 50% more iodine than other adults to provide this trace mineral your baby.

Foods rich in iodine

Unlike other nutrients, iodine is not present in many foods. It could originally be found in the ground, where it was absorbed by cultivated food. However, the increasing global deforestation and erosion has caused a large deficit of this micro mineral in the soil and, therefore, in food.

In relation to the natural sources of iodine, fish and shellfish are the most important. Also iodized salt , commonly consumed by the population.

Fish and seafood

Fish and shellfish are the foods with the highest amount of iodine. The richest species in this micro mineral are: salmon , tuna, bonito, canned mussels, red mullets and all kinds of shellfish.

In addition, this type of food contains a large selection of nutrients that are very favorable for the health of the body. This is the case of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids , essential for the heart to remain in good condition, healthy and strong.

The fish and shellfish are also an important source of vitamins of group B, in addition to vitamins A, D and E . One of the main benefits of these foods has to do with their low caloric intake. In addition, they have a minimal fat content.


Seaweed, a very popular food in certain eastern countries, is high in iodine . In some cases it is such that they even exceed the recommended daily amount, thus posing a health hazard.

Thus, it is very important to consume seaweed in moderation. They are very rich in nutrients such as calcium and help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Its benefits and health properties are very broad: they strengthen the immune system , eliminate heavy metals present in the body, cleanse the digestive system, etc.

Meats and foods of animal origin

Meats contain small amounts of iodine , so they are not the best sources to obtain it.

However, there are some animal products , such as milk, dairy and eggs, that do contain significant amounts of this nutrient.

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits can be rich in iodine, only if they have been grown in a soil in which this micromineral is present. Thus, it is advisable to add foods such as spinach, chard, onion and lettuce, among others, to the daily diet .

Certain types of legumes , such as beans, contain iodine. However, they are not the best source to obtain it since they contain other acids that greatly hinder its absorption.

As for fruits , they should always be fresh and in season. The best are blueberries, oranges, and pineapple. Regarding nuts, it is peanuts that provide the most iodine.

Iodized salt

As for iodized salt , as its name suggests, it provides a large amount of this mineral. But it is not recommended to consume in excess to avoid health problems such as hypertension and fluid retention.

Iodine deficiency

If the iodine deficiency occurs during pregnancy, there is a high risk of different abnormalities in the fetus: deaf-muteness, mental retardation and congenital malformations.

When the deficiency of this micromineral occurs in children, the consequences can be disastrous for their development, both physical and mental due to the decrease in learning capacity . In underdeveloped countries, where iodine deficiency in children is relatively common, it is estimated that the youngest lose 15% of IQ.

Among adults, a lack of iodine leads to a number of symptoms such as extreme tiredness, cold intolerance, and an enlarged thyroid gland.


Goiter is a disease characterized by the excessive enlargement of the thyroid gland , located at the base of the neck. It is a disorder that in the vast majority of cases is not painful, although it can cause discomfort when breathing and swallowing.

The main cause of this disorder is precisely the iodine deficiency in the diet. It is important to pay special attention to the symptoms: swelling at the base of the neck, cough, hoarseness and difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

Cretinism in children

Cretinism is a disease in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones for different body functions to develop normally. It occurs in newborn babies . It is important to pay attention to the symptoms and establish the most appropriate treatment. Otherwise, the little ones may have problems in their physical and mental development.

The main cause of cretinism in children is a lack of iodine during pregnancy . The main symptoms of this disorder are: constipation , cold extremities, jaundice that lasts over time and swelling of the face.


Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is not active enough to produce the necessary amount of thyroid hormone. Although it can occur in people of all ages, it is a more common disease in women over 60 years of age.

Symptoms can vary dramatically from person to person. The fatigue occurs in virtually 100% of cases, accompanied by a feeling of exhaustion. Other signs of hypothyroidism include weight gain, joint and muscle pain, constipation, dry skin, and depression.

Excess iodine: toxicity

In the same way that iodine deficiency can be harmful to health, if this micro mineral is ingested in excess it can also be dangerous: inflammation of the thyroid gland , heartburn, fever , nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In the most severe cases, it can lead to a coma.


Hyperthyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone.

Symptoms include both physical and mental signs: anxiety , fatigue, hair loss, heat intolerance, increased appetite, nodules on the neck, nervousness and irritability.

By way of conclusion, highlight the importance of iodine for all the body’s functions to function properly. That is why it is so important to know which foods are rich in iodine , as well as the recommended daily amounts for each population group.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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