Increase Seafood, Reduce Salt Intake

Increase Seafood, Reduce Salt IntakeIncrease Seafood, Reduce Salt Intake

Increase in seafood consumption can be a good alternative to indiscriminate use of iodized salt. Iodizing of drinking water and flour is a time consuming process and requires expert views. But iodine requirement in the body can be compensated by increasing fish consumption, said Nasrin Omidvar, university professor and a member of the Community Nutrition group at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.

The body’s daily need of iodine is between 100 to 150 micrograms and aquatic species have substantial amount of iodine, Iranian Agriculture News Agency (IANA) reported.

Excess consumption of salt can cause different health problems including blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes and osteoporosis; therefore the national mobilization plan to reduce salt intake was launched on December 27 and will continue till February 4 to promote reduction in salt intake, by raising people’s awareness about healthy patterns of food consumption.

Omidvar also said several countries have iodized drinking water and flour instead of salt, to ensure the people’s nutritional need of this important mineral. The body does not make iodine, so it should form an essential part of one’s diet. Iodine is a key component of the hormones made in the thyroid gland. These hormones are absolutely critical to human health, helping to control energy production s and utilization in nearly every cell of the body.

Adding iodine to common food products other than salt requires a basic plan which must be undertaken by the national health authorities.

“Iodine is an essential element which is found commonly in the ground; so foods which come from the ground contain iodine. But since Iranian soil is poor in iodine, the food products don’t contain it,” she pointed out.


At present iodine deficiency has been controlled in the country thanks to the salt enrichment plan implemented in the year 1992. But salt itself hasn’t proved to be a good choice to be enriched by iodine as salt itself is also harmful, particularly when taken in excess.

Few years ago when sea salt came into the market, people thought as the salt was extracted from the sea the amount of iodine in it would be significantly higher. But this is a misconception, the professor said.

Omidvar says “sea salt doesn’t have sufficient iodine and it contains harmful heavy metals including copper and cadmium.” Therefore the salt is not recommended for consumption.

A good strategy to lower salt intake is consumption of foods that are rich in potassium. Potassium can help blunt the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The recommended intake of potassium for adolescents and adults is 4,700 mg/day. Potassium-rich foods include leafy, green vegetables and fruits from vines.

According to the latest health ministry figures, Iranians consume 10 to 15 grams of salt daily on an average, which far exceeds the normal recommended amount of less than 5 grams for adults and three for children.