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Foods to boost iodine

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for most adults is 150 micrograms (mcg). Iodine is toxic at high doses and the upper limit for adults is 1100mcg.

Iodine is essential for normal growth and metabolism. Iodine is particularly important for normal mental and physical development from conception and throughout childhood. Low iodine levels can cause thyroid diseases and goitre. Severe iodine deficiencies, thankfully not seen in New Zealand, can cause stillbirth, congenital abnormalities, cretinism and dwarfism.

  • All bread, excluding organic or unleavened bread, is now fortified with iodine.
  • Seafood is a rich source.
  • Dairy products and eggs also contain iodine.

Each of these provides around 30mcg iodine – one-fifth of your daily iodine needs

  • 1/2-1 piece sushi with seaweed
  • 1 1/2 small cans (drained) fish (tuna, salmon or sardines)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups trim milk
  • 1/2 marinated mussel

Did you know? 2 slices light multigrain bread (not organic) Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding have much higher iodine needs (220mcg and 270mcg per day, respectively), so the government subsidises a 150mcg iodine tablet which is recommended for these women.

First published: Sep 2010



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