(Maria Masters/ Health) –– Your thyroid needs iodine to work properly and produce enough thyroid hormone for your body’s needs, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). If you don’t get enough iodine, you risk hypothyroidism or a goiter (a thyroid gland that becomes enlarged to compensate for the thyroid hormone shortage, per Medline Plus).
Most Americans have no problem getting enough iodine, since table salt is iodized—but if you’re on a low-sodium diet (as an increasing number of Americans are for their heart health) or follow a vegan diet (more on that later), then you may need to up your iodine intake from other sources.
Many types of seaweed are chock-full of iodine, but the amount can vary wildly, Mira Ilic, RD, a registered dietician at the Cleveland Clinic, told Health. According to the NIH, the iodine amounts in different seaweed species vary considerably. For example, commercially available seaweeds in whole or sheet form have iodine concentrations ranging from 16 mcg/g to 2,984 mcg/g (the recommended dietary allowance for a non-pregnant or non-lactating person is 150 mcg). (…)