Today iodized salt is a kitchen staple that is well-known even to those who are comfortable with cooking. Manufacturers also offer sea salt but iodized salt still holds the first place in the kitchen.
Why do people prefer iodized salt to any other types of salt? Is it healthy and is there any alternative? We hope that the information in this article will help you to find the answers.
How to find out if you are iodine deficient?
Iodine is one of the most essential elements in the human body. It is needed for the production of thyroid hormones. The synthesis of these hormones plays an important role in the normal functioning of many organs and systems of the body. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolic processes and thermoregulation. Ultimately, this all positively affects the well-being of a person and boosts energy. Many studies in genetics show that iodine deficiency may have negative consequences for the health of children affecting their mental abilities. Pregnant women want to be sure that they have enough iodine in their body.
Many people in the world are iodine deficient it is especially true for the people who do not live by the sea and they do not have enough seafood in their diet. Not having a diverse diet may also cause iodine deficiency. If you suspect this condition, never try self-therapy and consult your doctor first.
What are the symptoms that need the attention of a specialist? First of all, pay attention to the following signs and symptoms:
- weak immune system followed by infections, flues, long-term chronic conditions;
- swelling around the eyes;
- swollen feet and hands and diuretics do not show any improvement;
- irregular periods in women, gynecological disorders, cracked nipples;
- raised low blood pressure, heart symptoms;
- low hemoglobin count;
- hormonal imbalance causing an enlarged thymus gland;
- mental disorders, forgetfulness, bad reaction, depression, drowsiness and apathy, lack of life energy;
You may experience only one symptom but you should avoid self-therapy. Only the results of lab tests confirm iodine deficiency.
Main iodine sources
After you are diagnosed with iodine deficiency, you may want to undergo special procedures and take medical drugs.
To prevent the development of this condition, include foods rich in iodine. It is highly recommended to eat vegetables and fruits that grow in the soil with large amount of iodine, for example:
- dark grapes;
- red cabbage;
- green leafy vegetables.
The same is true about dairy products. If the feed for cows contains nutritional supplements, the food they give will also contain those supplements, including iodine.
Ecostores sell such healthy foodstuff. Alternatively, you may start farming and grow eco products yourself.
Not all people can and are willing to start a farm, so they buy products in supermarkets. Choose bread and dairy products enriched with potassium iodide and iodate in compliance with the national regulations by the Ministry of Health.
Do not shy away from seafood that is sold in supermarkets such as sea fish, laminaria, shrimps, and clams. Try Japanese cuisine which is largely based on seafood and seaweed.
In specific cases such as young age, pregnancy, bad diet, intensive work at school or university, dietary supplements are recommended. They typically contain seaweed and other ingredients of plant origin. You may also want to take iodine containing drugs, for example, Iodomarin.
Taking such drugs and supplements will provide your body with a minimal level of iodine. To eliminate iodine deficiency, it is important to know the specific characteristics of a region where a person lives, individual health conditions and other factors. That’s why you should consult a doctor.
Iodized salt: food or drug?
Many people buy iodized salt without a second thought. They believe that iodized salt provides their daily intake of iodine. Is it true? And what is iodized salt?
White crystals are a common table salt enriched with potassium iodide and iodate. Manufacturers add these elements to salt because people use salt every single day. It is believed that using iodized salt we get at least some amount of iodine.
Until recently, people and medical specialists shared their appreciation for iodized salt. However, today people are more skeptical about it. They have the following questions:
- How is the salt iodized?
- Is iodine in the salt stable?
- What is a recommended daily intake of iodized salt?
- Are ingredients in iodized salt healthy?
Let’s take the guesswork out of these questions
The process of iodizing has a long history and it has been constantly changing and improving. The choice of the iodine component depends on certain factors:
- types of salt, its quality and related substances;
- package of a finished product;
- shelf life.
Before, potassium iodide was used as a supplement. However, it is a highly volatile substance and may be part of several chemical compounds with admixed rock salt and lake salt, consequently, it is not well digested. The shelf life of salt with potassium iodide is not more than 3 months. It is recommended to add salt directly to food to avoid thermal processing. Avoid making pickles with this salt as it changes the color of vegetables making them look quite unappealing.
Later, potassium iodide was replaced by potassium iodate and the latter turned out to be more optimal:
- it is more stable in salt crystals;
- it interacts less with salt impurities;
- it provides a longer shelf life of a finished product (up to 1 year);
- it does not change the color of products after thermal treatment and can be used for making pickles.
Potassium iodide in salt prevents it from the air and potassium iodate from moisture. Choose fine salt as it longer retains iodine.
The recommended daily intake of iodized salt is 5-10 g a day. Iodized salt is not expensive as the technology does not require extraordinary costs.
Are there any iodized salt restrictions?
It is wrong to think that the more iodized salt you add the better. The daily intake of iodized salt should be the same as of table salt. Besides, iodized salt only will not provide your body with iodine. Regularly include seafood and seaweeds to your diet. Iodized salt may be contraindicated in some conditions. For example, patients with the following conditions should avoid iodized salt:
- Thyroid superactivity;
- Kidney disease;
- Pustular skin conditions;
- Hemorrhagic diathesis;
- Chronic lung diseases.
In conclusion, everyone should decide for themselves whether to use iodized salt or not. It is only important to be aware if iodized salt is beneficial or contraindicated for you.