A healthy diet is an important part of maintaining your overall health. You should be sure to eat foods which contain a variety of essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals. One of the most essential nutrients is the iodine, an important trace element that promotes normal growth and development in the body. It also promotes a normal thyroid function, as about 60 percent of the nutrient is stored in the thyroid. In this article, we are going to discuss these benefits more, so if you’re interested in learning more, keep reading!
Iodine: What Is It?
Iodine is a trace mineral necessary for bodily functions. However, the body cannot produce it, so it must be derived from our diet. There are actually few foods which naturally contain iodine, with most of it added during processing. However, seaweed and sea creatures are a solid source.
Your thyroid gland needs iodine to make hormones. If the thyroid does not have a sufficient amount of iodine to do its job, the body’s response systems may cause the gland to work much harder, potentially causing goiter or a bloated thyroid gland. This particular condition is recognizable by having a bloated or swollen neck.
Other concerns of iodine deficiency are somewhat serious as well. An iodine deficiency, as well as a low amount of thyroid hormones, may cause a woman to stop ovulating, eventually causing infertility. Iodine deficiencies may also cause autoimmune diseases and may increase the risk of some cancer types, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and prostate cancer.
Consuming enough iodine helps avoid a deficiency, but it can also treat fungus-related skin diseases and prevent strokes, heart disease, eye conditions and diabetes. It has even been shown to protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodides and can be used to purify water.
Important Sources of Iodine
Iodine can be found in large quantities in both marine animals and plants, which absorb it from the seawater. These marine animals include brown seaweed kelp, deep-water whitefish, shrimp, sea bass, salmon, herring perch, halibut, haddock, cod, clams, oyster, lobster, canned tuna and sardines in your diet.
If you are not a fan of seafood, you can also get your iodine from spinach, soybeans, turnip greens, sesame seeds, Swiss chard, summer squash, lima beans, garlic and dulse. The iodized salt is yet another significant source, and bakers often add iodine to bread dough as a stabilizing agent.
Health Benefits of Iodine
Here are some of the most amazing health benefits of iodine:
- Helps treat goitre. An iodine deficiency may eventually lead to goiter. You must add salt, eggs, dairy products and seafood to your diet to avoid this.
- Helps remove toxic chemicals. Iodine has the capacity to flush out various harmful chemicals in your body, such as mercury, lead, biological toxins and fluoride.
- Helps induce apoptosis. Because iodine promotes hormonal regulation and thyroid function, it is essential in forming new organs and removing any malignant cells in the body.
- Helps prevent cancer. This is one of the best health benefits of iodine. Aside from its amazing effects on thyroid health, it is also anti-carcinogenic. Studies show that cancer cells shrink after injecting iodine, and it can prevent extremely dangerous forms of thyroid cancer.
- Helps boost immunity. Most people tend to focus on the effects iodine has on the thyroid gland, but it also possesses other benefits, like boosting the immunity. This helps you avoid a myriad of health issues, as your immune system is your body’s first line of defense.
- Helps regulate the metabolism. Iodine influences thyroid function by assisting in the hormone production. These are directly responsible for controlling the base metabolic level of the body.