15 Iodine Rich Foods For Pregnancy
Iodine is a mineral directly responsible for proper thyroid functioning, which is critical for a healthy pregnancy. The thyroid produces hormones that help regulate metabolism, heart health, and fetal development during pregnancy. These thyroid hormones also repair damaged cells and influence bone and brain development in pregnancy. Believe it or not, this mineral is responsible for MANY functions in the body.
Pregnant women should strive to consume 220 micrograms of iodine every day. While iodine deficiency is rare in the US, pregnant women are advised to monitor their iodine intake. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can result in severe problems for mother and baby, including underdeveloped thyroid and impaired neurodevelopment. As well as increased risk of miscarriage, prematurity, stillbirth, and low birth weight.
So, how can you ensure you’re consuming enough iodine during pregnancy? The best way to ensure you’re getting plenty of iodine during those nine months is to eat iodine-rich foods! You can also find well-rounded prenatal vitamin supplement options that include iodine in their list of nutrients.
However, before starting any new supplement, it’s essential to speak with your doctor or dietitian first. We review all the details on prenatal vitamins, including the pros and cons of specific brands inside The Prenatal Nutrition Library, to help you find the best option for you!
For a more comprehensive breakdown of iodine and its importance during pregnancy, click here.
15 Iodine Rich Foods For Pregnancy
Delicious, nutritious, and highly recommended during pregnancy, the first iodine-rich food on our list today is greek yogurt. Greek yogurt contains up to 50% of pregnant women’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iodine. Greek yogurt also has plenty of calcium and protein to support baby development. Enjoy greek yogurt for breakfast, brunch, or snack, and add fruit, nuts, and granola for an extra boost of nutrients plus flavor.
Iodine content: up to ~116 mcg/ 8 oz. serving
Have you craved milk during your pregnancy? It’s a super common pregnancy craving, and one reason is the iodine. Full-fat milk is an excellent source of this nutrient, containing anywhere from 34-50% of the RDA, depending on the brand. Milk is also a great source of calcium, directly contributing to the formation of a baby’s bones and teeth. You can enjoy milk all by itself or add it to your favorite smoothie, milkshake, or cereal.
Iodine content: 85 to 160 mcg/ 8 oz. serving
Eggs are one of the best foods to consume during pregnancy. They are a good source of iodine, as well as high-quality protein, iron, choline, and vitamin D. From helping to strengthen your immune system to support your baby’s brain and memory development; we highly recommend adding eggs to your pregnancy diet today. Here’s a list of ways you can enjoy eggs during pregnancy!
Iodine content: 26 mcg/ single hard-boiled egg
Beans, beans. They’re good for your heart…and ensure you consume plenty of iodine during pregnancy. Lima beans contain a decent amount of iodine – making them a good choice for anyone needing an extra little iodine boost. They also have plenty of fiber, non-heme iron, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Add lima beans to your meal plan occasionally to ensure you get all the nutrition you need.
Iodine content: 16 mcg/ 1 cup, cooked
Fresh or frozen, strawberries are a great addition to your pregnancy meal plan. Fruits aren’t generally a great source of iodine, but strawberries are higher up on the list than most. Besides being an iodine source, strawberries are chock full of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and water. Yes – WATER. Because strawberries are ~91% water, they are excellent for helping expecting mothers stay hydrated, especially during the warm months. Add them to a smoothie, eat them plain, or dip them in dark chocolate – yum!
Iodine content: 13 mcg/ 8 large strawberries (about 1 cup)
Dried prunes are a great snack during pregnancy and delicious addition to any snack plate or trail mix. While prunes contain a fair amount of iodine, they are most known for their rich fiber content. They can help expecting mothers ward off common pregnancy symptoms, such as constipation, irregularity, and hemorrhoids. That said, consuming prunes in moderation is essential to avoid an upset stomach and with plenty of fluids to prevent constipation.
Iodine content: 13 mcg/ 5 dried prunes
Cranberries contain a TON of iodine, with over 100% RDA in just one cup or less. While they are mostly made up of healthy carbs and fiber, they also contain vitamin C and antioxidants. Because cranberries taste tart and bitter, most prefer to add them to salads, trail mix, bread, cereal, or yogurt. Adding this fruit to your diet regularly can help you guarantee you’re getting enough iodine to support yourself and your growing baby.
Iodine content: 400 mcg/ 1 cup raw or ¼ cup dried
Baked potatoes, or more specifically, the skin on baked potatoes, is a source of iodine. Surprisingly, baked potatoes are also a source of vitamin C, with around 12% RDA for pregnant women. Baked potato topping choices are endless, from beans to shredded chicken, butter, or salsa. Since iodine is found in dairy products and iodized salt, adding a bit of these two toppings can increase the iodine content.
Iodine content: 60 mcg/ single baked potato
Cod is a high-quality and low mercury fish choice making it a safe seafood option to consume during pregnancy as long as it is thoroughly cooked and sourced from a reputable distributor. Just three oz. of cod contains over 60% of the RDA of iodine for pregnant women. Plus, it’s chock full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, directly contributing to the baby’s brain development and overall growth. Cod also has a lot of nutritional value, with vitamins A, C, E, B12, B6, and niacin, as well as trace amounts of several other vitamins and minerals.
Iodine content: 158 mcg/ 3 oz.
Did you know that shellfish are entirely safe to consume during pregnancy? Due to their low mercury content, shellfish like shrimp are safe to consume as long as they are thoroughly cooked. This goes for fresh AND frozen shrimp. With 15% of the RDA of iodine and a whopping 24 grams of protein, shrimp is an excellent addition to your pregnancy diet. Add shrimp to your next pasta, stir-fry, salad, or soup. YUM!
Iodine content: 35 mcg/ 3 oz.
Here’s another pregnancy-safe shellfish that’s chock full of iodine. Consuming just six oysters can provide you and your baby with over 60% of the RDA for iodine, around 20% of the RDA for iron, and 8 grams of protein. Oysters also contain vitamins B12 and B6, magnesium, and zinc. Again, keep in mind that shellfish, like oysters, are only safe to consume when thoroughly cooked.
Iodine content: 144 mcg/ 6 oysters
The last fish on our list today is tuna. Canned or fresh, tuna is a good source of iodine. Keep in mind that there are a variety of types of tuna. Skipjack is a low mercury tuna option safe for pregnancy, whereas ahi tuna is a higher mercury choice and recommended to skip during pregnancy. Just three oz. of tuna contains about ten mcg of iodine and a whopping 24 grams of protein.
Plus, tuna is super versatile. You can add tuna to almost any salad, whip up a tuna salad sandwich, or serve tuna “cakes”/burgers with your favorite sides. We recommend asparagus and brown rice!
Iodine content: 10 mcg/ 3 oz.
Seaweed is one of the most iodine-rich foods on Earth. The amount of iodine varies depending on the type of seaweed. Many types of seaweed are safe for consumption during pregnancy, including Nori. However, the seaweed variety that contains the most iodine is Kombu Kelp. Iodine is an essential nutrient, but it is possible to get too much. Besides iodine, some seaweed is rich in iron (spirulina), fiber, protein, calcium, and magnesium. Enjoy seaweed on your next salad or with sushi options safe for pregnancy.
Iodine content: varies, 16 mcg to 2,000+ mcg per serving
Beef liver is safe to eat during pregnancy (in moderation) and recommended! While beef liver only contains around 7% RDA of iodine, the other nutrients found in beef liver make it more than worthwhile. With about 50% of the RDA of iron, 23% of the RDA of vitamin C, 26% of the RDA of vitamin B6, and plenty of other vitamins and minerals, beef liver is a nutritional powerhouse. Need some beef liver recipe inspiration? Click here!
Iodine content: 14 mcg/ 3 oz.
As the name suggests, iodized salt (table salt) is an excellent source of iodine. While we don’t recommend getting your RDA of iodine solely through salt, it can be a great way to up your iodine levels quickly and easily, especially if you find that you regularly lack iodine. Sodium (salt) is essential for many reasons, including blood pressure regulation, fluid balance, and prevention of dehydration. Sprinkle salt over your next baked potato for iodine win-win!
Iodine content: 45 mcg/ 1 gram
Consuming plenty of iodine is vital for the health of both mother and baby.
Iodine is responsible for many bodily processes AND is involved in the proper growth and development of baby. So, add these foods to your pregnancy shopping list today to ensure both you and baby get the nutrients you need for a happy and healthy pregnancy.
Remember that just like an iodine deficiency can be dangerous, an excess can also be hazardous. While rare, excess iodine intake can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in extreme cases, delirium, stupor, and shock. So, be sure to consume iodine-rich foods in moderation!
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