Your body needs iodine for normal thyroid gland function. If you've got thyroid issues or have a restricted diet, there are many ways to get iodine into your diet.
Step 1: Eat a balanced diet Eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid to ensure you get your body's daily requirement of all essential vitamins. You can see the food guide pyramid at MyPyramid.gov.
Step 2: Add salt Use iodized salt as a source of iodine. A quarter teaspoon of iodized salt provides 95 micrograms of iodine. Adults should get 150 micrograms of iodine per day.
TIP: The Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences offers a list of recommended daily intake amounts for infants, children, males, females, pregnant women, and lactating women on their website.
Step 3: Eat seafood Add seafood to your diet to get iodine. Cod, sea bass, haddock, and perch are good sources of iodine. A 6-ounce portion of ocean fish provides 650 micrograms of iodine.
Step 4: Eat seaweed Eat seaweed. Kelp is a rich source of iodine and is sold in most grocery stores, but, if you can't find it, go to a Japanese grocer. Sprinkle kelp powder or granulated kelp in yogurt, soup, or smoothies, or mix it into recipes for meatballs and meatloaf.
TIP: Drink kelp tea or kombucha -- a blend of sugar and fermenting tea -- to take advantage of the iodine content in seaweed.
Step 5: Drink milk Drink more milk to get more iodine. Iodine solutions are used to clean and disinfect cows' teats and dairy equipment. The iodine then leaches into the milk and milk products.
Step 6: Eat plants grown in iodine-rich soil Eat plants and vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil to get more iodine. If you grow your own vegetables, you can test your soil for iodine with a testing kit available from your local extension office of the USDA.
Step 7: Take supplements Take iodine supplements -- available at pharmacies and health and nutrition outlets -- to get more iodine. Check with your doctor, though -- too much iodine can cause hyperthyroidism.
FACT: Large quantities of iodine-129, a radioactive isotope of iodine, were released in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986.