Iodine. The mineral you need to know about

Posted on :  November 22, 2019

by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist

Do you know why your body needs iodine? It is an easy mineral to miss but it plays many important roles in your health.


From the moment life appears as a foetus, iodine is vital. It supports normal growth and development of tissues and the central nervous system. This is the reason why women planning to become pregnant and pregnant women are recommended to consult with their GP about iodine supplementation.

Iodine supplements can assist by preventing lifelong learning disabilities and conditions like Cretinism that affects children.

Cretinism is a condition of severely stunted physical and mental growth owing to untreated congenital deficiency of the thyroid hormone, iodine assists with supporting thyroid health.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck. The reasons why it is important to have a fully healthy and functioning thyroid gland are many, your thyroid gland assists with the following:

  1. Allows your body to produce energy
  2. Regulates and ensures a normal metabolism.
  3. Allows every cell in your body to absorb oxygen properly
  4. Controls the temperature of your body and the rate of your heartbeat.
  5. Ensures your immune system and central nervous system is regulated.
  6. Helps control your blood pressure.

The signs of iodine deficiency (hypothyroidism) can result in Goitre. Goitre is a swelling in the neck resulting from an enlarged thyroid gland. It’s unsightly and most of the time this condition can be remedied by taking in enough iodine. Other uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms can be dry skin, fatigue and hair loss.

So, the question to be answered is how much do you need daily for health? It is recommended anyone aged 14 years and over get 150 µg/day of iodine. The foods which give your body the most iodine per 100g include:

Oysters 160 µg – Try Safcol Delicatessen Smoked Oysters in Oil 85g. This makes a perfect protein topping with whole grain pasta. Add finely chopped English spinach, minced garlic, parmesan and fennel seeds (optional). Combine in a mixing bowl. Serve a portion on a plate and top with a teaspoon of lemon zest, parsley and lemon juice. Refreshingly delicious.

Sushi (containing seaweed) 92 µg

Salmon 60 µg – My ‘go-to’ for a delicious and healthy lunch is a pouch of Safcol Salmon Mild sweet Chilli 100g on two pieces of whole-grain bread, a dash of low-fat mayonnaise and my favourite salad vegetables. Perfect!

Bread (fortified with iodised salt) 46 µg

Steamed snapper 40 µg

Cheddar cheese 23 µg

Eggs 22 µg

Ice cream 21 µg

Chocolate milk 20 µg

Flavoured yoghurt 16 µg

Regular milk 13 µg

Tinned tuna 10 µg – A delicious addition to any salad is Safcol Yellowfin Tuna Chunks Light* Italian Style in Oil 95g. This variety is marinated in the healthiest choice of oil, extra virgin olive. Extra virgin olive oil is full of phytonutrients and monounsaturated fat, so you are not just adding a fat but adding health to your meal or snack.

Take home message

Before reading this blog post you may not have known why your body needs iodine. Now there are many delicious reasons to make sure you are including it as part of your diet. Why not start by selecting one of the delicious varieties of fish and seafood offered by Safcol ‘The Seafood Experts’?