Getting Enough Iodine in a Healthy Diet

By Ted

2715-iodine-rich-kelp.jpgGetting enough iodine in the diet is essential for proper thyroid function, which in turn controls a number of crucial bodily processes.

While iodized salt is how many get their daily dose, people on special diets may have to focus on other foods to get adequate iodine in their diets.

Iodine’s Importance

Iodine is used by the thyroid gland to produce two hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Since the human body can’t synthesize iodine, getting enough in the diet is essential.

These hormones regulate the metabolism of every cell in the human body so if the thyroid isn’t functioning properly brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, weakness and/or depression can be a sign. Also, birth defects can result from mothers being iodine deficient and severe iodine deficiency results in a goiter (enlarged thyroid).

While goiter is uncommon in developed nations, slight iodine deficiencies could go misdiagnosed, especially for those on special diets.

Foods Rich in Iodine

While some countries advocate the use of iodized salt, fertilizers, and animal feed, other countries do not so slight deficiencies could be prevalent depending on where a person lives.

Also, vegetarians and those who eat mostly organic products may need to be extra conscious of how much iodine they are consuming in order to get the recommended 150mcg of iodine daily (pregnant or lactating woman should have between 220-290mcg daily). Here are some foods rich in iodine.

  • Kelp: 1/4 cup yields 415mcg
  • Yogurt: 1 cup yields 87mcg*
  • MIlk: 1 cup yields 59mcg*
  • Eggs: 1 egg yields 24mcg*
  • Strawberries: 1 cup yields 13mcg
  • Shell fish and fish: can vary from about 70mcg to 1000mcg (the upper safe limit for adults is around 1100mcg daily)
  • Mozzerela cheese: 1oz yields 10mcg*
  • *This depends on the animal consuming iodine rich feed.

Fruits and vegetables grown in iodine rich soil would also supply iodine, but this can vary greatly among regions.


Those that consume a lot of processed foods probably don’t have to worry about getting enough iodine. However, for those of us that try to eat healthy it may be worth spending some time evaluating our daily diets to make sure we’re consuming enough. This is especially important if any of the signs of deficiency are present.

Source: World’s Healthiest Foods


  1. CrystenJ

    Well, if you don’t like kelp or some of the other foods listed, you can always take supplements.

  2. Ninjutsu-Training

    Yup. Something else to worry about. I think this is worth looking at, though.

  3. Patty

    I’ve wondered about salt free ways to get iodine. Thanks for the answers!

  4. Hope For'Luck

    thank you! I feel like it is going to help me with my diet!

  5. prkaratkinson

    yes it is very necessary for a health. Iodine is very good for health it should be taken daily. Thanks for the type of food which have iodine in it.

  6. Spectra

    I love seaweed–I would eat it plain if I could, but it’s really salty on it’s own. I do eat shellfish and fish, but I also use iodized salt, so I’m not very concerned–even though I do try to limit my processed food intake.

  7. T. Kallmyer

    Noted and changed it, but your “yields” point is just semantics.

  8. NEMO

    When you write things like, upper tolerable limit, you should fact check before publishing.

    Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine
    The National Academies Press. 2000

    “Summary. Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones that are involved in the regulation of various enzymes and metabolic processes. Thyroid iodine accumulation and turnover were used to set the Estimated Average Requirement. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adult men and women is 150 ?g/day. The median intake of iodine from food in the United States is approximately 240 to 300 ?g/day for men and 190 to 210 ?g/day for women. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for adults is 1,100 ?g/day (page 258) – that’s 1.1 mg/day, or 1100mcg.

    Also, you should not term what is present as “yields” since it is unknown just how much any one individual will actually have bioavailable for use in metabolism since many other nutrients are part of iodine absorption and use!

  9. Crabby McSlacker

    Oh goody, yet another possible nutrient deficiency to worry about!

    Interesting, though, because I never really thought there were downsides to cutting out salt and processed foods. Fortunately I like shellfish, so I suspect I’m good. Just glad I’m not vegan, ’cause kelp? Yuck.