Iodine is an important mineral that helps governing hormone balance in the thyroid gland. Imbalances in the hormones in thyroid can cause hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism depending or deficiency or excess of iodine.
Most of your iodine requirements are met by the food you eat. If you have seaweeds, fish, dairy, cranberries, dried plums strawberries and other Iodine-rich foods in your regular diet then you will not have iodine deficiency. In case you do not get enough iodine through your diet then you will have to take iodine supplements and salts to fill the gap and stay healthy.
Why Should you Eat Foods Rich in Iodine?
Iodine is required for proper functioning of the entire body. It is an essential mineral but unfortunately more than one third of the world population is deficient in Iodine.
- Prevents growth impairments in children - Pregnant women with iodine deficiency can produce children with iodine deficiency which can impair normal growth of child in motor functions,learning abilities and other neurodegenerative disorders.
- Maintain healthy thyroid - Thyroids with the help of iodine produce important hormones for the growth and development of your body. Iodine imbalance in the body cause conditions like Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
- Improves Immunity - Iodine improves immunity as result cancer incidences are reduced. A study conducted in Japan indicates less incidences of breast cancer among the Iodine-rich diet of Japanese women.
- Controls Body temperatures - Iodine deficiency can impact your sweating which is an important detoxification process. You may get swollen salivary glands and lack of saliva impacting your digestion process.
- Prevents dry skin - Iodine deficiency can cause dry and rough skin which can become flaky and inflamed.
What is Iodine Deficiency?
Iodine deficiency can cause a host of health problems. It is on the rise worldwide because people are not eating enough Iodine-rich foods and awareness is limited.
It is interesting to note that both iodine deficiency and high iodine affect your thyroid functioning. So you might think that you just can't go overboard on iodine if you found out that you have iodine deficiency. Well, you shouldn't be worried about excess iodine as yet. First get rid of iodine deficiency and then think of excess if any.
One of the major causes of iodine deficiency is the chemicals in the processed foods that reduce iodine absorption. Bromine is one such chemical found in plastic containers. Another cause is iodine depleted soils. Europe has low iodine in soil that is why iodine deficiency cases are increasing in Western world. There are many other pockets of low iodine soils in the world. So if you live in one of those areas then you have to be more concerned about iodine deficiency and take corrective actions.
So. The best solution to avoid iodine deficiency is to increase consumption of Iodine-rich foods
Top Iodine-rich Foods
There are a large variety of Iodine-rich foods. Some of the most popular ones are as under.
Iodine-rich Sea Vegetables
Seaweeds are some of the richest sources of iodine. They are also good sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The biggest advantage is that they are low calorie too.
The amount of iodine varies in the variety and the region in which they grow. But irrective of that, sea vegetables are the best food sources of iodine.
Some of the most popular Iodine-rich seaweeds are
Following fishes are not only rich in iodine but also very nutritional. Add them to your diet.
Many fruits are rich in iodine and other minerals and vitamins. Add them to your daily diet
- Dried pruned
Other Iodine-rich Foods
There are a lots of other Iodine-rich foods. Following are some noteworthy
- Organic yogurt
- Navy beans
- Cheddar Cheese
- Baked potatoes
- Turkey breast
- Boiled eggs
- Canned corn
- Green beans
- White bread
- Pink himalayan salt
What does Iodine Do in Your Body?
Iodine enters your body through Iodine-rich foods. It gets absorbed in the stomach and enters the bloodstream to get into the thyroid gland where it undergoes thyroid hormone synthesis.
It creates thyroxine (T4 hormone) and triiodothyronine (T3 hormone). Both these hormones produced by the thyroid gland control numerous important body functions of every cell metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy) as a result thyroid hormones regulate
- Heart rate
- Cholesterol levels
- Muscle strength
- Central and peripheral nervous system
- Body temperature
- Menstrual cycles
- And much more
Are Iodine Supplements and Salts Healthy?
If you have iodine deficiency then you should get rid of it with the help of Iodine-rich foods, iodine salt and supplements.
If you are a vegetarian and do not like sea vegetables then your scope to get iodine through food is limited. You will require to take iodine supplements.
Iodine supplements come in many different varieties. Some supplements get easily absorbed by your body and others may take time. Your doctor should be your best guide to decide which kind of iodine supplements are good in your specific case.
However, you must switch your table salt to iodized salt. Develop a habit of not adding salt in cooking but add to taste while eating to get maximum iodine absorption from the salt. Iodized salt loses iodine in evaporation during cooking.
Precautions and Tips
Following precautions and tips will help you to conquer iodine deficiency.
- Get regular check for iodine if your skin has become dryer, not sweating as you used to or you have swollen salivary gland
- Ensure that you don't have iodine deficiency before pregnancy.
- Eat Iodine-rich foods to get rid of iodine deficiency and maintaining iodine levels.
- Take supplements if required
The foods rich in iodine are generally rich in other nutrients too. So add them to your regular diet and avoid iodine deficiency to stay healthy