Iodine Rich Food


Iodine is a mineral essential for thyroid health. Although many types of seafood are iodine-rich food, it is also present in eggs, dairy products, and some plant foods. In addition to foods containing naturally occurring iodine, people can consume the mineral through fortified sources.

Iodized salt is a common source. Consuming enough iodine is important for a healthy thyroid. The thyroid is responsible for hormone regulation, metabolism, nervous system health, and more. If a person is deficient in iodine it can harm their health. A deficiency is particularly dangerous for pregnant women.

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Iodine-Rich Foods

People looking to include more iodine in their diet can increase their intake of the following foods:

1. Seaweed

Seaweed is full of naturally occurring iodine and contains about 232 micrograms (mcg) per serving. That’s more than the 150 mcg recommended daily intake (RDI) for men and non-pregnant females. Seaweed’s high iodine content is thanks to its ability to absorb concentrated iodine from the ocean.

2. Cod

In general, seafood is a good source of iodine. However, cod is particularly high in this essential mineral. One serving of 3 ounces (oz.) of cod contains roughly 158 mcg of iodine, meeting the RDI for most adults.

Researchers have found that the body of water the fish lives in determines how much iodine cod contains. For example, cod from the Norwegian Sea had more iodine than Atlantic cod from the North Sea.

3. Halibut

Halibut is another seafood high in iodine. Research shows that Atlantic halibut contains about 21 mcg of iodine per serving. Although that is less than some other fish, it still provides a good amount of iodine.

4. Pollock

Pollock is a member of the cod family that frequents the cold waters of the North Pacific. A 120 gram (g) serving of Alaskan pollock provides around 67 mcg of iodine, which is about half of the RDI.

It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, selenium, and niacin, which all contribute to immune and nervous system health.

5. Crab

Though crab contains less iodine than other seafood, it still provides 26–50 mcg in a 100-g serving.

Besides being a good source of protein, crab also contains many other essential nutrients. It provides selenium, B12, and zinc.

6. Scallops

Scallops are a great source of iodine. They provide 135 mcg per serving, which is 90% of the RDI. They may also be beneficial for heart health and the central nervous system.

7. Squid

Squid, commonly consumed as calamari, contains about 65 mcg per serving. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

8. Tuna

Because tuna is a fattier fish than other varieties, it contains less iodine. However, at 17 mcg per 3 oz. serving, it is still a decent source of the mineral.

Tuna is an accessible, relatively affordable source of iodine that people may find easier to add to their diet than some other seafood.

9. Milk

Dairy products are also a good source of iodine. For example, one cup of nonfat cow’s milk on average contains 85 mcg, which is more than half the RDI.

Despite this, an abstract from a 2017 study states that the actual iodine concentration in milk products varies greatly. Factors influencing the total concentration include milk yield, season, and whether the farmer engages in teat-dipping with iodine-containing disinfectants. This means milk has a variable amount of iodine.

10. Cheese

Certain types of cheese provide more iodine than others. However, on average, cheese contains 37.5 mcg of iodine per 100 g of cheese.

11. Yogurt

Like other dairy products, yogurt is a good source of iodine. Just one cup of plain Greek yogurt provides up to 116 mcg of iodine.

12. Eggs

Eggs — specifically egg yolks — are a good source of iodine. Typically, one large egg contains 26 mcg of iodine.

13. Iodized salt

Perhaps the most popular and plentiful source of iodine in the average person’s diet is iodized salt. It takes just over half a teaspoon of iodized salt to get the RDI of iodine.

This is one of the most convenient and affordable ways to prevent iodine deficiency. It is a particularly good source of iodine for people who follow plant-based diets, as plant foods are generally a poor source of iodine.

Why iodine is important?

Iodine is an essential mineral for thyroid regulation. Without sufficient iodine, people may experience issues like weight gain, excessive fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, and cognitive impairment.

The presence of the mineral in iodized salt makes some people think that sodium and iodine are synonymous. However, this is not true. Classic table salt is available with and without iodine, and many popular salts, like sea salt and pink Himalayan salt, do not contain iodine.

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Iodine Supplements

Iodine is an essential mineral you must get from your diet.

Interestingly, your thyroid gland needs it to produce thyroid hormones, which have many important responsibilities in your body

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of iodine is 150 mcg per day for most adults. For women who are pregnant or nursing, the requirements are higher

In fact, one-third of the population is at risk of deficiency, particularly those who live in areas that have only a small amount of iodine in the soil, including European countries (1Trusted Source).

Iodine deficiency can lead to swelling of the thyroid gland, known as goiter, and hypothyroidism, which can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, and weight gain

This article explores 5 iodine-rich food sources that can help prevent a deficiency.

1. Seaweed :

Seaweed is a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also low in calories.

Seaweed is one of the best natural sources of iodine. However, the amount can vary significantly based on seaweed type, the region in which it grew, and its preparation

Three popular seaweed varieties include kombu kelp, wakame, and nori.

Kombu Kelp

Kombu kelp is a brown seaweed sold dried or as a fine powder. It is often used to make a Japanese soup stock called dashi.

In a study that surveyed seaweed samples from various Asian countries for their iodine content, it was found that kombu kelp contains, by far, the highest amount of iodine compared to other species of seaweed

Kombu kelp can contain up to 2,984 mcg of iodine per seaweed sheet (1 gram). This provides almost 2,000% of the recommended daily intake (6Trusted Source).

Excess iodine consumption is well-tolerated in the majority of people but could result in thyroid dysfunction for those who are susceptible (7Trusted Source).


Wakame is another type of brown seaweed that is slightly sweet in flavor. It is commonly used to make miso soup.

The amount of iodine in wakame seaweed depends on where it is grown. Wakame from Asia has higher amounts of iodine than wakame from Australia and New Zealand

One study found that the average amount of iodine in wakame seaweed from various parts of the world was 66 mcg per gram or 44% of the daily recommended intake


Nori is a type of red seaweed. Unlike brown seaweeds, it has a much lower content of iodine.

Nori is the type of seaweed that is commonly used in sushi rolls.

The iodine content in nori varies between 16–43 mcg per gram or about 11–29% of the daily value

2. Dairy:

Dairy products are a major source of iodine, especially in American diets. The amount of iodine in milk and dairy differs greatly based on the iodine content in the cattle feed and the use of iodine-containing disinfectants during milking. A comprehensive study measured the iodine content in 18 different brands of milk sold in the Boston area. It found that all 18 brands had at least 88 mcg in 1 cup (8 ounces) of milk. Some brands even contained up to 168 mcg in one cup.

Based on these results, 1 cup of milk can provide 59–112% of the recommended daily amount of iodine. Yogurt is also a good dairy source of iodine. One cup of plain yogurt provides approximately half of the daily recommended amount of iodine in cheese varies depending on the type. Cottage cheese is one of the best sources of iodine. One cup of cottage cheese provides 65 mcg, while one ounce of cheddar cheese provides about 12 mcg (15).

3. Iodized Salt:

Currently, both iodized and unionized salt is sold in the United States. The addition of iodine in table salt began in the US in the early 1920s to help decrease the occurrence of goiters, or swelling of the thyroid gland. There is approximately 71 mcg of iodine in 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt, which is 47% of the daily recommended intake.

However, salt also contains sodium. In the last few decades, iodine intake has decreased in the US. This is likely due to the push of major health organizations to restrict daily sodium intake to prevent or treat high blood pressure. Nevertheless, salt only seems to raise blood pressure in salt-sensitive individuals, which is about 25% of the population

4. Shrimp :

Shrimp is low-calorie, protein-rich seafood that is a very good source of iodine. Additionally, shrimp provides key nutrients such as vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorus. Shrimp and other seafood are good sources of iodine because they absorb some of the iodine that is naturally present in seawater. Three ounces of shrimp contain about 35 mcg of iodine or 23% of the daily recommended intake

5. Tuna :

Tuna is also a low-calorie, high-protein, iodine-rich food. Furthermore, it is a good source of potassium, iron, and B vitamins. Tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which may lower your risk of heart disease. Fish higher in fat offer lower amounts of iodine. Since tuna is a fattier fish, the amount of iodine found in tuna is lower than in leaner fish varieties, such as cod. However, tuna is still a relatively good source of iodine, as three ounces provide 17 mcg or about 11% of the recommended daily intake. Iodine is a chemical element essential for the production of thyroid hormones that regulate growth and metabolism. Diets deficient in iodine increase the risk of retarded brain development in children (cretinism), mental slowness, high cholesterol, lethargy, fatigue, depression, weight gain, and goiter: a swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck. Please note that both too much and too little iodine can cause hypothyroidism, for more information, see the section on hypothyroidism.
What foods are naturally high in iodine? Iodine is a component of almost every living plant and animal. No standard measurements of iodine in food exist because iodine concentrations vary across the world. In general, foods from the sea contain the most iodine, followed by animal foods, then plant foods. Of all foods, seaweed (like kelp), is the most well-known and reliable source of natural iodine. Egg and dairy products can also be good sources.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which food has the highest iodine?

The highest iodine food is seaweed.

What vegetables are high in iodine?

Iodine is a mineral that is essential for the proper function of the thyroid gland. Some vegetables that are high in iodine include seaweed, kelp, and dulse.

what are iodine-rich foods?

Iodine is a mineral that is essential for human health. It is found in some foods, including seaweed, seafood, and dairy products. Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism.

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