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Food Safety Focus (201st Issue, April 2023)– Article 3

Iodine-rich Foods - Are You Having Enough?

Iodine is a nutrient essential for the production of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine, in the body. Thyroxine facilitates the development of the nervous system, so it is especially important for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, infants and children to have enough iodine intake. A local study in 2021 by the Department of Health suggested that schoolchildren in Hong Kong are getting enough iodine through their diets. However, lactating mothers and pregnant women who do not take iodine supplements do not have enough iodine intake. 

The human body only requires a tiny but consistent daily intake of iodine. Within a balanced diet, one can consume iodine-rich food like dried kelp and laver, seaweed (nori) snacks, shellfish, marine fish, eggs and dairy products to meet the daily recommended intake. The World Health Organization also advises using iodised salt to address iodine insufficiency. Women who are pregnant or lactating should obtain advice from healthcare professionals regarding additional iodine requirements.