Iodine is very important for the fetus. It helps in the development of the brain and also aids in physical growth. Although the human body only needs small amount of iodine, this small amount is very important. A deficiency of iodine in pregnancy can lead to an intellectual disability, and it is indeed a growing problem in the USA. Previously, home cooked food which was prepared with iodized table salt carried enough iodine in the diet of the individual, but more recently, the content of iodine in foods and beverages has become very low. There are a number of processed foods which are not iodized either.
We get less and less iodine with processed foods which form our diets. Even the sea salt is not iodized and a lot of people use it when cooking these days. It is important to understand that it does not offer the same health benefits that iodized salt does. If you are wondering how iodine can help your health, you need to understand the importance of the same in your diet. It can help maintain the normal functioning of thyroid gland which is based in your neck and it controls your metabolism. Iodine is very important for pregnant women and they should take food which has been prepared using iodized salt or use daily supplements to reach the adequate iodine requirement per day.
Importance of iodine during pregnancy
During pregnancy, it is important to ensure that you have the minimum amount of iodine in your diet on a daily basis. Iodine will help maintain the normal functioning of the heart rate, your body temperature, the thyroid glands as well as your normal body functions. With adequate amount of iodine, you can ensure that the baby is healthy and has a normal thyroid as well. If the fetus has an underdeveloped thyroid, there are chances that the baby will have a low level of IQ, birth defects, deafness, a lot of developmental delays and cretinism. It can also lead to death in most extreme conditions. Iodine is very important for lactation and a mother passes iodine to the child through breast milk. Whatever iodine you consume will support the thyroid of the child and will aid in brain development until the baby begins to consume solids.
Iodine and your diet
If you think that you are not consuming enough iodine in your diet, you need to use prenatal vitamins to ensure that there is no deficiency. Check the label of the vitamin and ensure that it contains iodine so that you get a healthy pregnancy diet. You need to ensure that you use salt which has iodized written on the label. Additionally, there are a number of whole foods which are the most natural sources of iodine. These include plain yogurt, shrimp, milk, baked cod, egg, enriched macaroni, cheddar cheese, canned tuna, lima beans, raisin bran cereal, apple juice and much more. You can also have seaweed in your diet as long as you are not allergic to the same. It is equally important for pregnant women to avoid nitrates because it has an impact on the ability of the body to absorb the iodine.
Is there too much iodine?
Yes, there is such thing as ‘too much’ iodine, which can be harmful. You should not consume more than 1,100 micrograms of iodine on a daily basis. It could lead to hypothyroidism and can also be linked to thyroid cancer. When you take a supplement that contains iodine with 150 mcg, it is okay but doctors will not recommend taking an iodine supplement since majority of them start at 500 mcg.
If you want to check whether you are getting the right amount of iodine, you need to take a urine test. You can also consult a doctor who might want to take a 24 hour special urine test which is the best way to test iodine in the body. Most likely, you will be absolutely fine if you consume a regular diet and use iodized salt in the same.
Always read the label on the salt so as to ensure that it is iodized. Only when you pay attention to your diet, you will be able to maintain a healthy body. Keep in mind that iodine is of critical importance during pregnancy but you should also not overdo it. Minor changes in your regular diet will help maintain adequate levels.