Iodine is an essential nutrient that is necessary to promote thyroid hormone stimulation (1), which ricochets to other functioning in the body, too.
The thyroid hormones are responsible for protein synthesis, central nervous system development in infants, and much more (2, 3). These important hormones help to promote healing throughout the body. When there is not enough iodine in the body, the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) becomes elevated leading to many health conditions like goiter (4).
Iodine also plays a role in immune system response (5). Calcium oxalate kidney stones tend to be the most common type of stone. Iodine is necessary to have but if you have a healthy thyroid, moderation is key.
Summary: Iodine is an essential nutrient that helps promote thyroid hormone stimulation. Thyroid hormones synthesize proteins, develop the central nervous system, and promote healing in the body. Inadequate iodine intake causes the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to become elevated, leading to further health issues. Iodine also helps with immunity.
Table of Contents
Foods High in Iodine
Many foods contain iodine, although some only have trace amounts. Iodine is also available in supplement form. Check out the list below to find out what foods are high in iodine and see if some may be missing from your diet.
Cod is one of the fish with the highest sources of iodine (6). Just three ounces of cod contains 99 mcg of iodine, making up 66 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Other fish contain iodine as well, but the fish with the least fat may contain more iodine (7).
This white fish is easy to add to any diet. You can bake cod for easy fish sticks, or simply sauté it on the stove with lemon, herbs, and seasonings for a quick 10-minute meal.
Summary: Cod contains 99 mcg of iodine, which is 66% of the recommended daily intake. Cod can be easily baked in the oven with light breading or sautéed in a pan with avocado oil, lemon, or herbs for a quick meal.
Seaweed is full of nutrients, and iodine is one of them (8). Depending on where you get your seaweed, the amount can range drastically.
In only one sheet of seaweed, it can have anywhere from 16 to nearly 3,000 mcg of iodine. That makes up 11 to nearly 2,000 percent of the daily recommended intake. Seaweed is an excellent choice for those with thyroid problems to make sure they get enough iodine to support the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) (9).
This sea vegetable is also high in iron, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, copper, chromium, vitamin A, and B vitamins (10, 11). It makes an excellent snack or side dish to have on occasion.
Summary: One sheet of seaweed contains anywhere from 16-3,000 mcg of iodine, which is 11-2,000% of the daily recommended intake. This nutritious superfood is also high in iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, copper, chromium, and vitamins A and B.
Just one cup of low-fat yogurt contains 50 percent of the daily recommended intake of iodine (12). Yogurt is a great option for those who need to get more probiotics into their diet, too (13).
Probiotics are necessary for optimal functioning in the gut microbiome (14). That is because over 60 percent of the immune system resides in the gut.
Yogurt’s high content of iodine and probiotics makes it a powerful source of nutrition to boost the immune system and decrease inflammation throughout the body (15). Is it time to add some more yogurt to your weekly diet?
Summary: One cup of yogurt contains 50% of the daily recommended intake of iodine. Yogurt is also rich in protein, calcium, and probiotics, making it a well-rounded food choice. Yogurt helps to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Add some berries and nuts to yogurt for a sweet snack, or use yogurt in place of creamy dressings seasoned with herbs for a vegetable dip.
4. Iodized Salt
Iodized Salt makes up just as much of the daily recommended intake of iodine as yogurt, close to 50 percent (16).
This type of salt is a great flavor option for those with an iodine deficiency or thyroid hormonal issues. This salt can be extremely helpful for those with a deficiency, which is why many countries add iodine to their table salt (17, 18).
If you have an iodine deficiency or think you might, do your research, and look into if this type of salt can help prevent further deficiency and downstream issues.
Summary: Iodized salt contains close to 50% of the recommended daily intake. Simply swap regular table salt with iodized salt if you have an iodine deficiency or thyroid issues.
Only three ounces of shrimp contains 35 mcg of iodine per serving (19). That is 23 percent of the daily recommended intake. Shrimp has many health benefits besides its high iodine content, too (20).
Shrimp is also full of omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, niacin, vitamin B12, and protein (21, 22). This popular seafood is an excellent source of many essential vitamins and nutrients.
Add some shrimp to your diet more if you suffer from thyroid health issues. The high amount of nutrients like iodine can help to assist the health of your thyroid hormones and prevent health issues from arising in the future. The healthiest way to eat shrimp is on the grill, or you can even buy it frozen and let it thaw for easy eating.
Summary: Three ounces of shrimp has 35 mcg of iodine per serving, or 23% of the daily recommended intake. Shrimp also contains omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, niacin, vitamin B12, and protein. If you have thyroid issues, shrimp is a perfect food to add to your diet. Sauté shrimp with your favorite vegetables for a quick meal.
Eggs are a healthy, nutrient-dense food to add to your regular diet. They are especially helpful at promoting ample amounts of iodine (23). Just one large egg has 24 mcg of iodine. That makes up 16 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Adding eggs to your diet also helps to get more vitamin A, D, protein, and more (24). Remember that almost all the nutrition in the egg, besides the protein, is in the egg yolk. Make sure to consume the whole egg to get all the health benefits.
Add some eggs to your diet if you think you may be low in vitamin A, D, or iodine to promote the healing of your thyroid hormones, as well as boost the immune system. Consider using moderating with eggs because they are high in cholesterol. Just one to two eggs a day will give you all the nutrition you need.
Summary: Eggs are very nutrient-dense, containing iodine, protein, and vitamins A and D. Two eggs a day is a good serving size to prevent consuming too much cholesterol. Consume the entire egg with the yolk to reap the health benefits, since the nutrients are in the yolk.
Tuna is a staple food for many reasons. One of those reasons is iodine. Only one can of tuna soaked in oil contains 11 percent of the daily recommended intake of iodine (25).
This fish also has omega 3 fatty acids, and it is an excellent source of low-fat protein (26, 27). It is important to keep tuna to a minimum and switch it with other fish too because it has high levels of mercury. Tuna and other fish high in omega 3s can even help to prevent heart disease (28).
Canned tuna is the easiest way to get more iodine into your diet. Simply mix it in a tuna salad and eat it plain or on your favorite sandwich.
Summary: Tuna contains 11% of the daily recommended intake of iodine. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids and protein, making it an excellent food choice. Once or twice a week is plenty to eat of tuna, since it is high in mercury. Add tuna to salad, or use as a sandwich filling.
Prunes are high in antioxidants, vitamins A, K, iron, essential B vitamins, as well as iodine (29).
Just five prunes contain 9 percent of the daily recommended intake of iodine. Prunes are also full of other health benefits due to their high nutrient profile (30). They can help to promote better digestion, heart health, and they can even help to lower blood pressure. The consumption of prunes seems to have a protective effect on heart issues such as hypertension (31)
Add some prunes to your diet as a snack or in juice form if you suffer from iodine deficiency, constipation, or if you want to experiment with the many health benefits of this strong fruit.
Summary: Prunes are rich in iodine, antioxidants, vitamins A, B, and K, and iron. In just five prunes, there is 9% of the daily recommended intake of iodine. Prunes are helpful for improved digestion, heart health, and lowering blood pressure.
Only a half a cup of corn contains 9 percent of the daily recommended intake of iodine (32). Corn can be a healthy part of a balanced diet for many other reasons, too.
Corn is also rich in essential B vitamins, iron, and much more (33). It is also a great source of protein and vitamin C (34). There is no easier food to include in your diet. Whether it is in the form of a cream of corn soup, corn on the cob, or simply canned corn, it is effortless to add some corn to your diet.
Try to change up your diet as much as possible with real whole foods to get the most vitamins and minerals. That way, you can reap the benefits of all kinds of nutrients to promote better health.
Summary: Half a cup of corn contains 9% of the daily recommended intake of iodine. Corn also contains essential B vitamins, iron, vitamin C, and protein. Corn is very easy to add to your diet, going well in soup, stews, salads, or eaten fresh on the cob.
10. Lima Beans
Although lima beans have the lowest amount of iodine on this list, they do contain 2 percent of the daily recommended intake is only a half a cup. These small beans pack a potent punch for their size (35). Eating a decent serving size with at least a cup of lima beans will put you up to 4 percent of your daily recommended intake.
Since lima beans are a side dish, it’s easy to get your fair share with the rest of the meal. Lima beans are also extremely healthy because they are full of other nutrients. Some include a plethora of essential B vitamins, vitamin A, K, potassium, and magnesium.
Enjoy some lima beans with your favorite fish protein, and you’re sure to get a heaping amount of iodine in just one meal.
Summary: Lima beans contain 2% of the daily recommended intake of iodine in half a cup. These beans are also rich in vitamins A, B, K, potassium, and magnesium, making them a very healthy choice. Lima beans go well in soup, salads, or eaten as a side dish seasoned with salt and pepper.
Iodine is an essential nutrient that is necessary for optimal thyroid hormone functioning. The thyroid hormones cannot work properly without a balance of critical nutrients, like iodine.
These are just some of the foods that are high in iodine, but be sure to eat the real, whole foods that feel best for your unique body. Some people feel energized with fish every day, while others benefit from more varied protein sources, for example.
What is good for your body may be completely different from someone else. If you think you’re low in iodine, find out how you can get more into your diet today.