When it comes to health and vitality its important to get enough broad spectrum of nutrients and minerals. Some of these vitamins are very common in our diet, yet others we have to mindfully remember to add food sources to receive enough. Iodine is necessary for healthy thyroid function and selenium is also used in hormonal pathways and various other bodily functions. Read on this article to find the best foods rich in iodine and selenium.

An estimated 2 billion people around the world are iodine deficient which is causing detrimental health effects often undiagnosed.1 On the other hand an estimated 500m to 1 billion people globally are deficient in selenium often without the person even knowing it!2

foods rich in iodine and selenium

What Is Iodine And Why Do We Need It?

Iodine is a trace element that is essential for all cells to function properly. It regulates many metabolic reactions that take place inside the body. The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce the hormones that regulate metabolism, body temperature, muscle movement and the rate of growth. Iodine deficiency can lead to goiter (enlarged thyroid), which can cause health problems in the future. The shortage of iodine in our diet has been linked to many other diseases, including heart disease, osteoporosis, reproductive failures and autoimmune diseases.

What Is Selenium And Why Do We Need It?

Selenium acts as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is needed for the production of antibodies and is important for the immune system of the body. Selenium also supports liver detoxification and helps protect against damaging of our cells by free radicals. Selenium is also believed to be beneficial to those suffering from skin diseases, such as acne, due to its ability to regulate skin cell renewal processes.

Food Vs Supplements?

If our diet lacks iodine and selenium, the thyroid gland and other functions will begin to suffer. To counter this issue it is possible to supplement with vitamins containing iodine or selenium only if your diet is falling short of the recommended daily intakes. However, it is important that the body always has an ample supply of both iodine and selenium, so foods rich in iodine and selenium should be eaten on a daily basis. Food is always the most bioavailable avenue for getting the best intake of selenium and iodine, just as nature intended.

What Is The Recommended Daily Intake Of Iodine?

In the United States, the recommended daily intake of iodine is 150 mcg per day for adults. Most foods that have high levels of iodine contain it in small amounts; therefore, it may be difficult to reach this amount by diet alone however foods rich in iodine and selenium can help boost this. Pregnant women this number is increased to about 220mcg per day and if breast feeding a further increase to 250mcg is considered safe.

What Is The Recommended Daily Intake Of Selenium?

In the United States, the recommended daily intake of selenium is 55mcg per day for adults. Here is a table that shows the different foods that have high levels of selenium:

Which Foods Are Abundant In Iodine?

Seaweed: Kelp, dulse, nori, wakame and arame. Up to 3000mcg per sheet of seaweed for kelp species!
Oysters: Grown in iodine-rich coastal regions of the world
Yogurt: Grass fed cows yogurt can contain up to 75mcg per 100g serving.
Cod: Wild caught fish especially cod varieties are rich in iodine.
Whole Eggs: High in Iodine, 1 large egg can contain 25mcg of iodine.
Tuna: Once again wild caught is higher in important minerals, a can normally has 17-20mcg of iodine.
Beets: Beets should be cooked and should never be eaten raw, Cooking the beets releases the iodine.
Iodised Salt: Struggling to get enough foods rich in iodine can be counterweighted by adding iodised salt.

The most potent iodine food is no doubt seaweed, incorporate this into your diet to rejuvenate the thyroid.

foods rich in iodine and selenium

Which Foods Are Abundant In Selenium?

Brazil nuts: 1/4 cup has 5,000mcg of selenium.
Spirulina: 1 tablespoon has 400mcg.
Oysters: Grown in selenium-rich regions of the ocean.
Wild Caught Salmon: A one-ounce serving of wild caught salmon has 1,200 mcg.
Sardines: One-ounce serving has 1,000mcg.
Beef Liver: Very high in selenium and other important minerals
Chicken: Tasty and packed with selenium
Pumpkin seeds: 1/4 cup has 2,000mcg.
Figs: 1/4 cup has 1,100mcg.
Whole Eggs: 6 eggs have 667mcg of selenium.

The most potent selenium food is brazil nuts, be careful on these as eating too much can lead to selenium toxicity. A handful of brazil nuts twice a week will be more then beneficial for your selenium requirements.

Which Foods Are Rich In Both Iodine And Selenium?

If you’re looking to get both minerals from one food source you’re best considering options like beef liver, wild caught fish or shellfish. These foods are extremely bioavailable food sources with nutrients ready for your body to uptake. Foods rich in iodine and selenium offer a two packed punch for thyroid and immune system health.

The Absorption Of Iodine And Selenium

Both iodine and selenium are absorbed in the body through specific receptors in the intestines. For both nutrients the uptake occurs mainly in the jejunum, but also in the ileum, in which it is transported to different areas in the body. The amount absorbed depends on how much of both nutrients are available in our food sources or supplements. Foods rich in iodine and selenium that are from organic farms or wild caught in nature offer higher absorption rates then those in traditional factory farms.

Benefits of Iodine In Your Diet

Supports Thyroid Function: The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce the hormones that regulate metabolism. A deficiency of iodine can lead to goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), which can cause serious health problems in the future.

May Prevent Cancer: Severe iodine deficiency has been linked to cancer of all types, especially breast, prostate and colon.

Maintains Healthy Weight: The thyroid hormone T3 is an appetite suppressant that helps control weight. Iodine is required by the body to make T3.

Supporting Good Immune Function: Studies have shown that iodine deficiency contributes to autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.

Healthy Brain Function: Iodine is important for the development of the brain, nervous system, and reproductive system.

Improves Sleep Quality: The thyroid produces melatonin to regulate sleep-wake cycles. With low levels of melatonin, you are more likely to suffer from insomnia or other sleep problems.

Cardiovascular Health: Iodine helps maintain a healthy heart by regulating cholesterol levels in blood vessels.

Supports Healthy Pregnancy: The placenta uses iodine for its development. Its a crucial role in the growth of a child a necessary building block to cellular life. Foods rich in iodine and selenium are important for pregnant mothers.

Benefits of Selenium In Your Diet

Anti Inflammatory Effects: The body converts selenium into an active form called glutathione, which can reduce inflammation.

Aids in Metabolic Functions: Selenium is required by the body to use folic acid, which is essential for cells to different metabolic functions. When the body doesn’t produce enough selenium it can’t absorb folate.

Improves Brain Function: Selenium is important for the development of the brain and nervous system, as well as critical for hormone production and cellular growth.

Protects Against Heart Disease: Selenium has antioxidant properties that may promote heart health by protecting against damage from free radicals, which are byproducts of metabolism.

Boosts Immune System Function: Studies have shown that selenium is important for immune system function, including fighting infections.

Regulates Blood Sugar Levels: If the body doesn’t have enough selenium, it can’t produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Research shows that selenium helps prevent type 1, or juvenile diabetes.

high in selenium

What Inhibits Uptake Of Iodine And Selenium?

Quit Smoking: Smoking has been shown to inhibit the uptake of iodine and selenium and can also increase the body’s excretion levels and lower levels in the thyroid.

A Poor Diet: It is clear that a diet low in foods rich in iodine and selenium will affect your thyroid function.

Alcohol: Alcohol has been shown to inhibit iodine and selenium absorption.

In Summary

So as you can see its very important to eat a well based diet with foods rich in iodine and selenium. Eating foods like sushi, brazil nuts, and ground beef with organ meats can be a tremendous way to immediately boost intake of these key nutrients. A vibrant and healthy lifestyle awaits those who are willing to dive into nature and restore health with foods we have always eaten since early cultures. Together we can restore abundant levels and help thyroid issues facing a large percentage of the world.

Further reading on HaveUHeard

Benefits of beef liver and bone marrow, Why apple cider vinegar is beneficial to seniors, 7 benefits of red meat consumption.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6284174/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482260/