Being a hypothyroid patient, I’m wondering if Himalayan pink salt and sea salt will have an equal or higher percentage of iodine compared to the iodized table salt which I’m currently using. As iodine is vital for proper thyroid functioning, could you please let me know which salt is good with a high iodine content?
Iodine is an essential nutrient but it is not essential for us to get it from salt, especially when much better, safer, and nutritionally sound iodine food choices exist.
Both, Sea salt and Himalayan salt contain traces of iodine. This can translate to being anywhere from a bit less to much less compared to any iodized salt. It all depends on the salt type, quality, and source. Both, sea salt and Himalayan salt provide numerous minerals, including iodine. These unrefined salts are considered minerally balanced and nutritionally beneficial. Refined salt, on the other hand, meaning all typical white table salt is an industrially processed, refined food. As such, it is not recommended for anyone who chooses to eat a healthy diet, especially a whole food, plant-based diet. The whole point of “iodized salt” is to synthetically add iodine to it and it can actually provide too much iodine in many cases, especially given how liberal people often are with their table salt.
The concentration of Iodine in pink Himalayan salts is < 0.1 g according to the potentiometric method by spectral analysis. The Iodine content is much lower than the Iodized salt and your body does not have to absorb a sudden increase in Iodine, which might cause another complication.
The goal is not to depend on any salt for your iodine intake. It does not benefit your health to choose an iodized salt just to get the iodine while exposing yourself to all of the health risks associated with refined salt. Likewise, any kind of salt should be used very minimally, it is not meant to play any significant role in our diets, especially when the diets of most people include some or many processed foods, which all contain too much sodium already. Excessive sodium intake has been linked with dangerous conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), kidney stones and kidney disease, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
Instead, the solution for optimal health is to look towards your diet to fill in the appropriate nutritional needs by using real food. Many fruits and vegetables, and other whole plant foods and mushrooms, will provide some iodine. This includes foods like strawberries, bananas, leafy greens, certain whole grains, and beans. How much iodine these contain depends on the food’s source and quality. Usually, organic produce and food grown in rich, fertile soil are nutritionally superior in terms of their mineral content. When we eat a healthy and varied whole food, plant-based diet, all of these nutrient amounts add up and provide us with all the nutrition we need, including iodine.
The Best Source of Plant-Based Iodine
For dietary excellence, additional nutrient support, and confidence, or if someone has higher iodine needs due to certain health conditions or dietary patterns, the top source of iodine in a whole food plant-based diet will be sea vegetables - often referred to as seaweed as well.
These whole plant foods are amongst the richest iodine food sources in nature and provide many other health and nutrition benefits in addition to the iodine. The best sea vegetable choices include wakame, kombu, dulse, and kelp.
Only a little bit of sea vegetables is required in the diet, on average a small amount about once to several times per week depending on which sea vegetable it is, as they are very rich sources of iodine. For example, you can sprinkle a small or large spoon of dulse flakes into a soup or on a salad or just chew on a piece of dulse or similar sea vegetables as a snack on a regular basis. Plant-based “sushi” is another easy and popular way to enjoy sea vegetables in the diet. In general, sea vegetables should be consumed similar to herbs and spices in the diet, meaning adding small amounts to the diet regularly. In such a case, you would measure servings based on a “sprinkle” or a “spoon”. These are not foods that you eat by the “cup” or else you would quickly overdo a good thing.
Dr. Michael Greger presents the nutrition science of how different sea vegetables rate in terms of their iodine content and thyroid health in the video linked here.
Do not use or depend on salt for iodine. Eat some sea vegetables on a regular basis as part of your whole food, plant-based diet for optimal iodine levels and thyroid health.