This nutrient plays a role in producing energy in the body and is particularly important for children and teenagers where it contributes to normal cognitive development up to 3 years of age and contributes to normal growth from three to 18 years. It also supports the nervous system to work normally and plays a role in helping to maintain normal skin. It’s also needed for the thyroid gland to function properly and the production of thyroid hormones, which in turn help to regulate the body’s metabolism. When the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism (also known as an underactive thyroid) can result, causing symptoms such as weight gain and tiredness. Although a lack of iodine in the diet is rarely the cause of an underactive thyroid in the UK, figures from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey show that 16 percent of 11-18 year olds and eight percent of adults up to the age of 64 years have extremely low iodine intakes. Good news then that eating more fish can help to boost intakes. Many varieties contain iodine including dab, flounder, halibut, herring, mackerel, plaice, salmon and sole. But the richest sources include white fish such as pollock, catfish, cod, coley, haddock, red snapper and whiting, and shellfish like cockles, crab, crayfish, langoustine, lobster, mussels and oysters. Sardines and sprat are also packed with iodine.

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