Iodine Content of Foods

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Food NameIodine (mcg)
Salt, iodized1855
Cod liver, canned500
Oil, cod liver400
Sardine, filets in olive oil, canned, drained400
Broth or bouillon, beef, dehydrated390
Cod, Atlantic, raw360
Pâté, fish or shellfish310
Haddock, steamed260
Haddock, breaded, fried250
Haddock, smoked250
Fish mousse250
Herring, smoked, in oil200
Soup, seafood198
Mullet, baked190

Usage Note

  • This database contains iodine content of 1,009 foods.
  • Iodine values are in micrograms (mcg) and calculated per 100g of food weight.
  • Click on column header to sort foods by name or by column's content. Click again to reverse sort order.

Iodine in Diet

Iodine is a trace mineral and an essential nutrient found naturally in the body. Iodine is needed for the normal metabolism of cells. Metabolism is the process of converting food into energy. Humans need iodine for normal thyroid function, and for the production of thyroid hormones. The body needs iodine but cannot make it. The needed iodine must come from the diet. As a rule, there is very little iodine in food, unless it has been added during processing, which is now the case with salt. Most of the world’s iodine is found in the ocean, where it is concentrated by sea life, especially seaweed.

Iodine Deficiency

Lack of enough iodine (deficiency) may occur in places that have iodine-poor soil. Many months of iodine deficiency in a person's diet may cause goiter or hypothyroidism. Without enough iodine, the thyroid cells and the thyroid gland become enlarged.

Iodine deficiency and the resulting low levels of thyroid hormone can cause women to stop ovulating, leading to infertility. Iodine deficiency can also lead to an autoimmune disease of the thyroid and may increase the risk of getting thyroid cancer. Some researchers think that iodine deficiency might also increase the risk of other cancers such as prostate, breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.

Iodine deficiency during pregnancy is serious for both the mother and the baby. It can lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy for the mother, and mental retardation for the baby. Iodine plays an important role in development of the central nervous system. In extreme cases, iodine deficiency can lead to cretinism, a disorder that involves severely stunted physical and mental growth.

Iodine deficiency is a common world health problem. The most recognized form of deficiency is goiter. Additionally, across the globe iodine deficiency is thought to be the most common preventable cause of mental retardation. Early in the twentieth century, iodine deficiency was common in the US and Canada, but the addition of iodine to salt has improved public health. The addition of iodine to salt is required in Canada. In the US, iodized salt is not required, but it is widely available. Researchers estimate that iodized salt is used regularly by about half the US population.

Iodine is used to prevent iodine deficiency and its consequences, including goiter. It is also used for treating a skin disease caused by a fungus (cutaneous sporotrichosis); treating fibrocystic breast disease; preventing breast cancer, eye disease, diabetes, and heart disease and stroke; and as an expectorant.

Iodine is also used to for radiation emergencies, to protect the thyroid gland against radioactive iodides. Potassium iodide tablets for use in a radiation emergency are available as FDA-approved products (ThyroShield, Iosat) and on the Internet as food supplements. Potassium iodide should only be used in a radiation emergency, not in advance of an emergency to prevent sickness.

Iodine is applied to the skin to kill germs, prevent soreness inside the mouth (mucositis) caused by chemotherapy, and treat diabetic ulcers.

Iodine is also used for water purification.

Deficiency happens more often in women than in men, and is more common in pregnant women and older children. Getting enough iodine in the diet may prevent a form of physical and mental retardation called cretinism. Cretinism is very rare in the U.S. because iodine deficiency is generally not a problem.

Iodine poisoning is rare in the U.S. Very high intake of iodine can reduce the function of the thyroid gland.

Daily Iodine Intake Recommendation from the Institute of Medicine
Age 0-6 mthsAge 7-12 mthsAge 1-8Age 9-13Age 14+
110 mcg130 mcg90 mcg120 mcg150 mcg

Iodine Databases

Iodine Rich Food List

Iodine content is per 100 grams of food weight.

Foods Highest in Iodine Iodine (mcg)

Salt, iodized 1855

Cod liver, canned 500

Oil, cod liver 400

Sardine, filets in olive oil, canned, drained 400

Broth or bouillon, beef, dehydrated 390

Cod, Atlantic, raw 360

Pâté, fish or shellfish 310

Haddock, steamed 260

Fish mousse 250

Haddock, breaded, fried 250

Haddock, smoked 250

Herring, smoked, in oil 200

Soup, seafood 198

Mullet, baked 190

Squid, fried 173

Cod, baked 130

Cod, salted, poached 130

Lobster, boiled 130

Mackerel, fried 130

Crustacean or mollusk (average) 123

Fish nugget, fried 120

Caviar 117

Whelk, cooked 114

Cod, steamed 110

Fish cake, frozen, raw 110

Mussel, boiled 106

Oyster, Pacific, raw 101

Crab, cooked 100

Mackerel, baked 100

Foods Richest in Iodine Iodine (mcg)

Mackerel, smoked 98

Egg yolk, cooked 89

Milk, skimmed, powder 85

Sardine, in oil, canned, drained 80

Clam, cooked 80

Ling, raw 80

Milk, semi-skimmed, powder 80

Periwinkle 80

Milk, whole, powder 71

Whiting, steamed 70

Kebab, fish 68

Custard, English cream 67

Herring, grilled 67

Sardine, in tomato sauce, canned, drained 67

Smelt, raw 67

Chocolate mousse 66

Milk, semi-skimmed, flavored 66

Semolina pudding 65

Spiny lobster, cooked 65

Pilchard, in tomato sauce, canned 64

Fish, cooked (average) 62

Caviar substitute, Lumpfish eggs 60

Crab, canned 60

Fish in sauce, frozen 60

Gnocchi, potato 60

Milk, skimmed, vitamin fortified 60

Sea bass, raw 60

Soy yogurt, flavored 60

Tiramisu 60

Whiting, fried 60

Cereal bar low calorie 53

Foods Highest in Iodine Iodine (mcg)

Egg, poached 52

Egg, scrambled 52

Omelet, plain 52

Apple crumble 50

Cheese, Roquefort 50

Dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, sugar free, artificial sweeteners 50

Fruit charlotte, from bakery 50

Salmon in puff pastry 50

Sauce, hollandaise 50

Sauce, pesto 50

Blue cheese, de Bresse 48

Cheese, Rouy 48

Sandwich on French bread, smoked salmon, butter 46

Anglerfish or monkfish, grilled 45

Crayfish, raw 45

Egg, fried, salted 45

Tuna, cooked 45

Omelet with herbs 45

Omelet, cheese 44

Salmon, farmed, raw 44

Scallop, Great Atlantic, with coral, raw 43

Cheese, Edam 42

Vol-au-vent with seafood 42

Scampi, fried 41

Herring, smoked 40

Omelet with bacon 40

Salmon, smoked 40

Soy yogurt with fruit 40

Trout, smoked 40

Tuna, raw 40

Mackerel, in tomato sauce, canned 40

Foods Rich in Iodine Iodine (mcg)

Egg, hard boiled 39

Egg, soft boiled 39

Egg, whole, raw 39

Cheese, goat, Crottin 39

Herring, fried 38

Salmon, carpaccio 38

Beaufort cheese 38

Omelet with mushrooms 37

Cheese, Cheddar 37

Cheese, Livarot 37

Shrimp or prawn, cooked 37

Ice cream in cone 36

Cheese, Pont l'Eveque 35

Chocolate powder, sweetened, enriched 35

Eggnog 35

Soup, cream of tomato 35

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