The Top Ten Foods for Iodine

Find out why Iodine is so important for your thyroid and what foods you should be eating to make sure you have enough!

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Iodine – What is it and why do I need it?

Iodine is a trace mineral and an essential part of thyroid hormones. 

The thyroid produces hormones which regulate our bodies metabolic rate as well as heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development and bone maintenance. It also contributes to the way our body absorbs micronutrients and gets rid of toxic substances. So pretty important!

Iodine is also a component of many enzymes that require magnesium and manganese to function. So, we don’t only need it for our thyroid.

It’s also critical to the early development of a baby’s brain, so iodine levels are particularly important for pregnant and breast-feeding women.

What if I don’t get enough?

The World Health Organisation estimates that over 30% of the world population has too little iodine in their bodies.

If you don’t get enough iodine it compromises the production of thyroid hormones which results in several health disorders. These include reduced fertility, premature birth, cognitive impairment and acute fatigue.

Can I get too much?

Some seaweeds like Kombu have huge amounts of iodine and regular consumption can lead to abnormal thyroid function.

This has led to the establishment of an adult daily upper limit of 1,100 micrograms. This could easily be exceeded by eating a small amount of kombu seaweed.

So what food should you be eating?

Well, I can help you there with the top ten foods for Iodine. No meat in there but lots of fish plus seaweed for veggies and vegans. The foods are listed by your recommended daily amount (RDA) for average portion size.


Iodine Top Ten: by % of RDA

1. Kombu seaweed - dried - 3264% of your RDA, that’s for 1g, which sounds like a tiny amount but, is quite a lot, as dried seaweed is really light. So, you just need a tiny nibble to get your RDA.
2. Haddock Fillet – 248%
3. Crab – 148 - 248 %
4. Cod fillet –39%
5. Smoked haddock - 152%
6. Grey mullet - 147%
7. Wakame seaweed - 124%
8. Lobster - 118%
9. Salted dried cod - 112%
10. Sardines - 94%

A few more popular foods for you



Fish fingers – 78%
Mussels - 70%
Fat free yogurt – 58%
Milk – 44%
Eggs - 38%

As you can see its not too difficult to include iodine in your diet if you’re eating a varied diet including dairy and fish.

Eating a balanced diet

The best way to ensure you’re getting a balanced diet is to keep a food diary to track your iodine intake, and all of the other vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. It only takes 3 minutes a day, we’ve timed it!

It’s really easy when you see your daily report to see which nutrients you are a bit short on and then click on those nutrients to see what foods you need to eat more of the next day.

How can you start a food diary?

Simply sign up for our free for life account at the top of the page


Surya Wright

Co-founder, production manager

I'm our communications and marketing person, dealing with social media and copywriting. I also work with Matt and Ric overseeing the design and strategic management of the site. I'm also the author of the Eva the Hungry Amoeba children's book series (only one so far). You can find it on Amazon. My favourite foods, shepherds pie and smoked haddock!

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