Iodine is an essential trace element that is vital for normal growth and development. Around 60% of the iodine in the human body is stored in the thyroid gland. The health benefits of iodine 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 iodine, thyroid hormones could not even be synthesized.
Iodine controls the functioning of thyroid glands in human body, which in turn has a significant influence on the metabolic processes in the body. The health benefits of iodine help in the optimal utilization of calories, thereby preventing its storage as excess fat. Other benefits of iodine are the removal of toxins from the body and assistance for the system in utilizing various minerals, like calcium and silicon.
Deficiency Symptoms of Iodine
A deficiency of iodine can have serious effects on the body. The symptoms of iodine deficiency include frustration, depression, mental retardation, poor perception levels, goiter, abnormal weight gain, decreased fertility, coarse skin, chances of still birth in expectant mothers, constipation and fatigue. In severe cases, mental retardation associated with diseases such as cretinism, characterized by serious physical malformations, can be the result. According to WHO reports, iodine deficiency is one of the leading causes of mental retardation all over the world.
It is somewhat rare for iodine deficiency to occur in North America, as many food items are either grown in iodine-rich soil, or they contain salt, which is often iodized in western nations. However, some countries do not iodize their salt, and cultures that grow crops and livestock at a great distance from coastal waters are less likely to have iodine-rich soil, so they must consider that in their diet. 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 nations with access to iodized salt are far less likely to suffer from iodine deficiency.
Important Sources of Iodine
Iodine 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 sea water. 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 monthly diet. Dulse, kelp, and seaweed also contain dietary iodine. Garlic, lima beans, Swiss chard, summer squash, sesame seeds, soybeans, turnip greens and spinach are rich in iodine as well. Iodized salt is another important source of iodine, and bakers regularly add iodine to bread dough as a stabilizing agent.