Iodine is an essential nutrient, so it’s important to know what good iodine foods are to ensure you are topped up in this important mineral.
There are many sources of iodine, but only few foods are high iodine foods. Below is a list of iodine rich foods in order of iodine content.
The figures I’ve used here are taken from well-researched and respected resources, from the UK authorities (the FSA recommended book on food composition by McCance & Widdowson) and from the Australian authorities (foodstandards.gov.au). I also used this “iodine in food table” for some of the more obscure foods which weren’t listed in the other food lists, like cod liver oil and the various seaweeds.
Iodine Rich Food List
To put this list into context, it’s useful to know that it is recommended the average adult have 150mcg iodine a day. Also all the figures are given per 100g of the food, but bare in mind that for some foods you’d only ever eat 1 tsp of them (5g). Also note that iodine content in food is highly variable depending on where the food is from, how it has been processed, and how long it’s been lying around. For this reason these figures are only a rough guideline for iodine in food.
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8000-7000mcg: Iodized Salt: Depending on which country you live in, iodized salt has different levels of iodine. In the US 100g of iodized salt would contain about 7700mcg iodine, whereas in Australia it contains about 8060mcg per 100g. Note that you’d only be having a small amount of salt every day, hopefully less than 4g a day, and not 100g! If you have 4g a day, this works out to 320mcg – 280mcg a day, which is higher than the 150mcg required amount. Ideally, you’d be wanting to get your iodine from more natural sources.
7200-1600mcg: Seaweed: Since a lot of iodine comes from the sea, seaweed is a high iodine food source. Different seaweeds contain varying amounts of iodine:
- 62900mcg Hijiki
- 7200mcg Dulse
- 3200mcg Wakame
- 2500mcg Kombu
- 1600mcg Nori
Again, remember that you’re unlikely to have 100g of seaweed, and if you did, it would be a dangerously high amount of iodine to consume! If you’re going to eat seaweed, that’s fantastic because it’s very nutritious and nutrient-dense, but it’s good to be aware not to overdo it.
838mcg: Cod Liver Oil: The amount of iodine in cod liver oil will differ greatly depending on the brand and how the oil is made, but one source gives this value.
340 – 260mcg: Haddock
310mcg Fish paste
160mcg Drinking chocolate powder: This is a bit of an odd one! But cocoa powder and chocolate is a rich source of iodine. Having said that, you’d only be having a teaspoon or so of chocolate powder, so it would only be giving about 8mcg of iodine at those amounts.
140mcg sea salt: As with iodized salt, you’d only be having around 4-5g of this a day, which works out to about 7.0 – 5.6mcg iodine from sea salt.
131mcg jellied eel
131mg cod, including that in fish fingers
110mcg some chocolate biscuits
74mcg condensed milk: This is because dairy may contain iodine, from feeding cows iodine-fortified feed, and using iodine-treatment on the sterilization equipment in milk gathering.
72mcg Parmesan cheese
60-53mcg eggs: Although remember you’re likely to eat one egg and not 100g, so from one egg the amount of iodine is more likely to be around 12mcg iodine.
59mcg Canned salmon
57mcg Dairy ice cream
51mcg Goat’s milk soft cheese
49mcg yeast extract
47mcg evaporated milk
44mcg grilled salmon
35mcg sea bream
4.7mcg smoked salmon
1-9mcg Meat: Most meat provides a few mcg of iodine if the cattle are fed iodine-enriched feed, particularly in winter when grazing is less common. Depending on how enriched the feed is with iodine, meat levels of iodine vary.
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About the Author
Li-Or is a qualified biologist, nutritionist and naturopath and has been studying health since 2003. She is also the founder of SayWhyDoI.com, a website that aims to tackle the mysteries surrounding why we do the things we do, focusing on the topics of health, psychology and culture. You can check out her regular updates at www.saywhydoi.com