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Ask the Expert Archive

How much iodine is in a Yukon Gold potato?


Q. I found your general article on potatoes and wanted to know how much iodine is in a Yukon Gold potato (and other varieties of organic potatoes I can buy at Trader Joe’s stores in Seattle. They sell organic russet, red, and Yukon Gold potatoes.). I’m concerned I’m not getting much iodine, as I eat a vegan/salt free diet. The website says baked potatoes contain 60 micrograms of iodine (citing Pennington JAT, Schoen SA, Salmon GD, Young B, Johnson RD, Marts RW. Composition of core foods of the U.S. food supply, 1982-1991. III. Copper, manganese, selenium, iodine. J Food Comp Anal. 1995;8:171-217). However, I cannot tell how accurate this nineteen year old paper is, nor can I determine what type of potatoes it is referencing.Have you done studies on the organic Yukon Gold (and other organic potatoes) to determine iodine content? Also, I imagine where a potato is grown makes a difference? Any information you could send me would be greatly appreciated.Thanks in advance for your help!


A. Yes, where a product is grown can make a difference in its iodine content. Foods from the ocean are higher in iodine than plant foods. Where land was under the sea many, many years ago, iodine can be found naturally in the soil. The soil around the Great Lakes region is lower than other areas of the country. This USDA searchable database would be the best place to look for any nutrient, but I don’t see that iodine is included, possibly because the iodine content will vary depending on where the food is grown. I am not familiar with studies on iodine content of potatoes. You might want to try eating plants from the sea, seaweed or kelp, as another possible source of iodine. Finally, goitrogens in the diet can inhibit iodide metabolism. Goitrogens can be found in raw turnips, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, rutabagas, and cassava but can goitrogens can be reduced by cooking these vegetables. You might want to talk to your doctor and check your thyroid levels; we don’t typically hear about a lot of goiter (iodide deficiency) in the US.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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