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Iodine is one of the most underrated but important minerals for our body. Even though it is required in a small amount but it has major functions to play and is required in all stages of life. It helps in proper functioning of the thyroid gland which majorly impacts the metabolism, plays a very important role in growth and development of the brain, also its importance increases during pregnancy as it is required for proper fetus development and thyroid management. Iodine deficiency may lead to fetal deformities, neural tube defects in newborns, lower IQ levels in kids, dwarfism and cretinism in kids, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, goitre etc. The requirement for an individual is 150 microgram a day, this requirement shoots up to 250 micrograms a day during pregnancy or lactation. The easiest way to improve deficiency is to consume iodine rich foods in your diet.

Some of the iodine-rich foods are:

  • Iodised salt: The most common and widely used condiment in our daily routine is salt. And due to its conventional use, the government has iodised salt to combat the rising problem of goitre and iodine related disorders. The amount of iodine in just 5 gm of salt is 400 microgram which is the highest among all sources. So by consuming just a teaspoon of salt in a day, one can easily fulfil a day’s requirement of iodine.
  • Milk and milk products: If you are vegetarian and have this notion that only non-vegetarian sources will provide you with the adequate amount of iodine, then you are absolutely misleading yourself because milk and milk products are among the rich sources of iodine. A single cup of yoghurt contains 70 micrograms of iodine while 250 ml of milk contains 150 micrograms of iodine.
  • Banana: A very common fruit which we all see in the market and we know that this fruit is being ignored by all due to the misconception that this is fattening and not good for diabetic patients. But do you know that a medium size banana contains 3 micrograms of iodine in them along with potassium which not only helps in providing it to the body but also helps in improving the condition of water retention!
  • Seafood (Shrimps, Tuna, seaweeds): Seafood like tuna fish, shrimps are a good source of iodine because of their continuous exposure to seawater. Not only non-vegetarian sources but also plants present in the sea which are edible such as seaweed is also a good source of it.

Foods to avoid in case of iodine deficiency:

  • Soybeans: Soya and its products such as soybeans, soy milk, tofu and tempeh hinder the absorption of iodine in the body.
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, and brussel sprouts contain goitrogens. Goitrogen hinders the absorption of iodine and triggers the release of thyroid stimulating hormone even when it is not required. The best way to reduce the effect of goitrogens is to cook these vegetables well.
  • Peaches and strawberries: These fruits also contain goitrogens and can interfere with the uptake of iodine.

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