Where does iodine come from?
Iodine is found naturally in the sea and in some soils. Foods high in iodine include fish, prawns and seafood, as well as iodised salt and packaged bread.
What are the best sources of iodine?
Iodine is found in many foods. How much iodine different foods contain depends on where they are grown and how they are made.
Since 2009, it has been a requirement in Australia and New Zealand that iodised salt (salt that contains iodine) is used to make bread. Eating packaged bread as part of a normal diet provides enough iodine for most people, though not enough for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Organic, salt-free and unpackaged bread and bread mixes might not contain iodine, so it’s important to check the food label.
Iodised salt is a good source of iodine. However, most Australians eat too much salt and it can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, so it’s best to get iodine from other foods.
It’s a good idea to reduce the amount of salt you add to food to as low as possible, but to make sure any salt you do use is iodised. If you have a low salt diet for your health, it may be better to get iodine from a supplement.
Specialty salts such as sea salt, Himalayan salt and kosher salt usually don’t contain iodine.
Seafoods such as oysters, snapper, tinned salmon and seaweed contain lots of iodine.
It’s a good idea to eat seafood 2 to 3 times a week, but be careful not to eat too much fish that contains mercury (such as swordfish and tuna), especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Eggs, milk and milk products such as yoghurt also contain iodine.
Getting enough iodine
How much iodine you need depends on how old you are. Most adults need 150 micrograms of iodine a day, but pregnant and breastfeeding women need much more.
Eating the 5 food groups should be enough for most people to get enough iodine.
|Food||Micrograms of iodine|
|6 oysters (90g)||144|
|1 sushi roll (100g)||92|
|1 small tin salmon (105g)||63|
|1 small tin canned tuna (95g)||10|
|2 slices packaged bread (not organic)||28|
|2 slices organic bread||2|
|1 fillet steamed snapper (125g)||50|
|2.5cm cube cheddar cheese (16g)||4|
|2 eggs (88g)||19|
|2 scoops ice cream (48g)||10|
|1 large glass chocolate milk (300ml)||60|
|1 tub flavoured yoghurt (200g)||32|
|1 large glass regular milk (250g)||57|
|2 loin lamb chops||1.5|
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, getting enough iodine is especially important for your baby to help their brain and central nervous system develop properly. The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends you should take an iodine supplement of 150 micrograms a day. Talk to your doctor about this.
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Last reviewed: March 2021