Wondering what iodine is and why it’s so important to include in your pregnancy diet? Read why iodine is important for a healthy pregnancy here!
Studies have shown that iodine should be an essential part of your healthy pregnancy diet to ensure the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system.
Iodine helps to regulate your thyroid gland and your metabolism. Deficiencies of this essential mineral during pregnancy can impact on your baby’s IQ – researchers from Surrey and Bristol Universities recently revealed that children born to mothers deficient in iodine have lower than average scores in reading and verbal ability. Severe iodine deficiency has been associated with miscarriages and congenital abnormalities.
A healthy pregnancy diet should contain around 220 mcg a day – but you can aim for this as an average over the course of a few days or a week.
Dairy products are a good source of iodine – in addition to all the other nutritional benefits of milk, one cup of the white stuff will provide 56 mcg of iodine (about a quarter of your recommended intake). A cup of plain yogurt will have a similar quantity.
If you are lactose intolerant or have an allergy to milk, other foods which are rich in iodine are:
- Baked potatoes – make sure you eat the skin which also contains lots of valuable dietary fibre, vitamins and potassium
- White fish such as cod – a 100g serving will supply 99mcg of iodine as well as useful protein, calcium, magnesium and potassium
- Shellfish (properly cooked) contain about 90 mcg of iodine for every 100g
- Cranberries are rich in iodine – just 30 grams will contain about 100 mcg. Try and avoid over sweetened cranberry juice and check the sugar content on dried cranberries too.
- Seaweeds, such as kelp have an abundance of iodine – almost too much in fact! A tablespoon of kelp has around 2000mcg but it’s important to avoid excessive levels, especially when you’re pregnant – so go easy on seaweed unless it’s a measured, pregnancy appropriate supplement!