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Iodine is An Underrated Micronutrient: Here’s Why It Is Worth Adding to Our Diet

If you love seafood, then good for you! You have found a steady source of iodine.

Iodine is one of the most underrated minerals. Ironically, many people aren’t aware of how important it is in their growth and for the proper function of their thyroid.

This micronutrient plays a huge role in the production of the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These thyroid gland-produced chemicals are essential for our metabolism, growth, and heart rate.

Iodine Deficiency

You need a certain amount of the mineral to make sure your thyroid gland works properly. If you lack this nutrient, you are susceptible to developing health problems.

Some of the disorders associated with iodine deficiency are stunted growth, impaired hearing, and congenital abnormalities. At times, it may even lead to miscarriages and stillbirth.

In children, iodine deficiency can affect cognitive function. This should be addressed immediately or else it could lead to something irreversible.

Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism

A low intake of this nutrient will result in increased release of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) – that is, if your levels fall below 100 mcg per day. If this happens, your thyroid will source more iodine from the blood.

If your iodine levels drop to below 10 to 20 mcg per day, there won’t be enough nutrients for your thyroid to get. This will result in hypothyroidism, which is usually accompanied by goiter, a swelling of a portion of the neck.

Freelanceman/Shutterstock Goiter is a common sign of hypothyroidism

Some signs of hypothyroidism are unexplained weight gain, slow metabolism, and tiredness. This condition is also linked to depression, hair loss, and cold intolerance.

But this doesn’t mean you should have an all-seafood diet. As with everything else, moderation is the key when it comes to iodine consumption.

Too much intake of this mineral can lead to hyperthyroidism, wherein the thyroid gland becomes too active. This means that the organ involved in your metabolism produces too many hormones. Anxiety is common for hypothyroid patients

Some signs that you have an overactive thyroid are sudden weight loss, anxiety, sensitivity, fast heartbeat, and increased appetite.

Sources of Iodine

Unfortunately, our bodies can’t produce iodine so we must incorporate the mineral to our diet. The good news is that most of the common food we put on our table contains this essential nutrient.

Fish makes for a scrumptious meal and is packed with iodine. For our vegetarian and vegan friends, seaweeds are also a good source of the nutrient.

Viktor Kochetkov/Shutterstock Seaweeds are a good source of iodine

Iodized salt and baked cod contain the nutrient. Eggs, reduced-fat milk, and cheddar cheese all have iodine. Multivitamins with potassium iodide or sodium iodide also contain the mineral.

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