Iodine is a mineral that is primarily known as the major supporter of thyroid health. It is an important component of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland, a large structure in the neck that secretes chemicals that control the metabolism to regulate growth and development.
Deficiency in iodine can lead to a handful of health problems. For instance, experts say that it is the most common and also the most preventable cause of mental retardation all over the planet. Pregnant women whose diet lack in iodine may give birth to infants with cretinism — a condition characterized by extremely stunted growth and mental development.
Low intake of iodine is also commonly associated with goiter which involves the swelling of the neck due to the enlargement of the thyroid gland. It’s not just a swollen neck that characterizes goiter, but also hair loss, skin dryness and fatigue. Medications and surgery are the usual treatments for the condition.
Excessive intake of iodine usually causes symptoms similar to those of iodine deficiency. Researches have also shown that too much iodine may in fact cause problems such as thyroid papillary cancer and thyroiditis (inflammation of thyroid). There is also such a thing called iodine poisoning, something that rarely happens and may occur in those who are being administered with the mineral to treat iodine deficiency.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iodine in children aged 1 to 8 years is 90 mcg. Those who are 9 to 13 years old should have 120 mcg of the mineral everyday. Individuals who are 14 years of age and above are recommended to take 150 mcg of iodine daily. Pregnant women need to have 220 mcg of it everyday, while lactating moms should consume 290 mcg of iodine on a daily basis.
Usually, you can get sufficient amounts of iodine by having a well-balanced diet, especially something that includes excellent food sources of the said mineral. Make sure that you add the following to your diet to prevent or correct iodine deficiency:
- Potatoes – A medium-sized potato supplies about 40% of your daily iodine needs. It is also a wonderful source of fiber and potassium.
- Milk – It’s no secret that milk is loaded with a lot of nutrients. Consuming a glass of this well-loved beverage allows you to obtain 37% of the recommended amounts of iodine you should have everyday.
- Cod – This oily fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help lower cholesterol, combat depression and protect the brain cells. Cod is also loaded with iodine, providing as much as 66% of your daily needs of the said mineral.
- Shrimp – Just like other seafood, shrimp provides your body with ample amounts of iodine. A 3-oz. serving of shrimp packs 23% of your daily iodine requirement.
- Turkey – The breast part most especially is an impressive source of protein because it is low in saturated fat. Turkey breast also supplies about 23% of your daily iodine needs.
- Yogurt – Everyone knows that you simply have to reach for yogurt each time you wish to replenish the good bacteria in your gut. This treat is also a wonderful source of protein and calcium. It provides 58% of your daily iodine requirement too.
- Iodized salt – It is salt fortified with iodine, just like what the name reveals. An alternative to it is Himalayan crystal salt which provides a whopping 167% of your everyday iodine needs. Remember to limit your intake of salt to keep your blood pressure normal!