Iodine is an essential trace element, which is vital for normal growth and development of the body. Around 60% of the iodine in the human body is stored in the thyroid gland. Its health benefits play a very important role in the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, which secretes thyroid hormones that control the base metabolic rate of the body. In fact, without it, thyroid hormones could not even be synthesized.
Iodine controls the functioning of thyroid glands, which, in turn, has a significant influence on the metabolic processes in the body. It helps in the optimum utilization of calories, thereby preventing their storage as excess fat. Other benefits include the removal of toxins from the body and assisting the system in utilizing minerals like calcium and silicon.
Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency
A deficiency of iodine can have serious effects on the body. The symptoms of its deficiency include the following:
Depression and frustration
Poor perception levels
Abnormal weight gain
Chances of stillbirth in expectant mothers
In severe cases, mental retardation associated with diseases such as cretinism, characterized by physical malformations, can be the result. According to WHO reports, this deficiency is one of the leading causes of mental retardation all over the world.
It is somewhat rare for this deficiency to occur in North America, as many food items are either grown in iodine-rich soil or contain salt, which is often iodized in some nations. However, many countries do not iodize their salt and regions that grow crops and livestock at a great distance from coastal waters are less likely to have iodine-rich soil. The body needs 100-200 mcg of iodine per day, and 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt contains approximately 95 mcg of iodine, so you can see why regions with access to iodized salt are less likely to suffer from iodine deficiency.
Important Sources of Iodine
It is present in large quantities in both marine plants and animals, including shellfish, deep-water whitefish, and brown seaweed kelp, which can absorb iodine from seawater.
Be sure to include abundant quantities of canned sardines, canned tuna, lobster, oyster, clams, cod, haddock, halibut, herring perch, salmon, sea bass, and shrimp in your diet. Dulse, kelp, seaweed, garlic, lima beans, Swiss chard, summer squash, sesame seeds, soybeans, turnip greens, and spinach are some of the other sources of iodine.
Iodized salt is another important source and bakers regularly add iodine to bread dough as a stabilizing agent.