List of Low-Iodine Foods

broccoli image by Alison Bowden from

Iodine is a mineral essential to the healthy process of several body functions. The production of thyroxine, a hormone important to the thyroid gland, is the most well known benefit of iodine. Although many people associate iodine with sodium and salt, they are not synonymous.

Common table salt is not sodium, it's sodium chloride, and is fine for low-iodine purposes if it isn't iodised, indicates the Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc.

Fruit and Vegetables

Most fresh fruit and vegetables qualify as low-iodine foods, and may be consumed as desired. Exceptions include cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, that can enlarge the goitre when regularly eaten by a person with low-iodine levels in her body, according to WHFoods. Frozen vegetables, without high iodine ingredients, such as iodised salt, and canned peaches, pears and pineapples, also qualify as low-iodine foods. Avoid cranberries, and any products derived from them, because of their high iodine content. Bottled fruits, like many commercial processed foods, are often high in iodine.


Moderate amounts of meat, around five ounces per day, such as chicken and turkey, are low-iodine foods. A person must read the labels before buying meat, though, as companies that produce meat sometimes inject iodine-laden broth into them before placing them for sale, based on information from the Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc. Buying fresh meat ensures the product contains no additional iodine. Whole cuts are preferable to ground meats, which usually contain more iodine.


Low-iodine beverages include brewed coffee, clear carbonated beverages, tea from steeped tea leaves, fresh lemonade and fresh orange juice, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Tea made from tea bags affects iodine absorption, which can negatively impact a low-iodine diet by causing conditions such as hypothyroidism and goitre by making the iodine levels in the body too low. Milk and it's byproducts are very high in iodine, and should be avoided, though one ounce per day in a cup of coffee is fine. Juices with red food dye also contain amounts of iodine, too high for a low-iodine diet.


Fats that qualify as a low-iodine food are vegetable and olive oils, and unsalted margarine and butter, indicates the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems. Unsalted peanut butter and unsalted nuts contain low-iodine fats, and may also be safely consumed. Fats that don't qualify as low-iodine include salted butter, margarine, nuts and peanut butter, and commercial mayonnaise and salad dressings.