×

Iodine - An essential nutrient for a healthy pregnancy

Kavita Devgan

Kavita Devgan
06 March 2020

This article is authored by Kavita Devgan. Kavita is an acclaimed nutritionist with 20 plus years of experience as a weight loss and holistic health consultant.

Sources of Iodine

Malnutrition can be very deceptive. Not many understand that being malnourished during a pregnancy is not just about not getting enough macronutrients such as protein and calories in the diet, but it can also mean chronic micronutrient deficiencies. Due to lack of information and the fact that the symptoms are not that clear, micronutrient deficiencies often stay undetected for long (unlike calorie and protein deficiencies) and thus cause huge damage.

Iodine, in fact, is one such micronutrient mineral that a lot many of us tend to be deficient in, and according to WHO, lack of iodine (along with vitamin A and iron) represents a major threat to the health and development of populations the world over, particularly children and pregnant women in low-income countries.

Together, all of us need to be particularly careful in India as there is very little iodine in the soil here, and also because our diets are majorly grain- and plant based - so while they are high in macronutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins, they are very low in micronutrients. In fact those who are vegetarian and vegan (who don’t consume dairy) need to be particularly careful, especially women, as their needs tend to be higher.

Iodine for Healthy Pregnancy

Why do we need iodine?

Iodine is necessary to make thyroid hormones that regulate growth, development and metabolism. Its deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid is under active—and the body can’t make enough of the thyroid hormones to keep the body running efficiently.

Often along with low thyroid hormone levels, anaemia too may develop which corrects itself when your hypothyroidism is treated. Anaemia is a problem for both men and women in India, but it is particularly high for women, who have a greater need for iron.

Iodine deficiency could also thin your hair, dry your skin, and make you feel cold, tired, constipated, and depressed. Plus, you might gain weight more easily. Excessive hair loss is in fact a very apparent yet often missed out symptom of iodine deficiency. Iodine also regulates the texture of hair – deficiency shows up in dry and brittle strands.

Pregnant and lactating women (as babies get iodine through breast milk) are at a high risk of iodine deficiency because they need to consume enough to meet their own daily needs, as well as the needs of their growing baby. Not consuming enough iodine during pregnancy and lactation can affect both the mother and baby as iodine protects the developing foetus from brain damage (iodine deficiencies can reduce IQ by an average of 13 IQ points) and its deficiency may lead to stunted physical growth, irreversible brain damage, including mental retardation, for the child. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy has also been associated with ADHD in children. Plus, mothers who are severely iodine deficient could also be at risk for miscarriage and stillbirth. Young children too need to prevent from being affected by IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disorders) for better cognitive development for better school performance, and increased energy (by reducing anaemia).

Symptoms - at a glance

  • Swelling in the front of the neck (called goitre)
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Hair fall
  • Dry flaky skin
  • Feeling colder than usual
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Trouble remembering and learning
  • Heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding
Iodine rich foods

How to get enough iodine?

Although the total requirement of iodine for an adult (about 150 mcg) is not much, it is necessary for iodine to be included in our daily diet as our body does not make iodine nor does it have any storage organ for the mineral. Food sources of iodine are spinach, shrimp, tuna, seaweeds (such as kelp), egg, yoghurt, prunes, non-milled and unpolished rice and grains, and garlic, but it is difficult to get enough just from the food sources. Luckily though, the deficiency is easy to prevent by adding just a dash of iodised salt to our food can help meet the requirement. So, don’t take any chances with that. Always use iodised salt in your meals to fulfill iodine requirements. Consult your doctor to ensure that you are consuming the right amount of salt through your diet to avoid any further health complications.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

Related Products

selling
TATA Nutrikorner

Tata Salt

View details
selling
TATA Nutrikorner

Tata Salt Lite

View details
selling
TATA

Rock Salt

View details

Your baby’s first solids: How your infant can shift smoothly from breastmilk to other foods

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
09 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Every step of raising an infant is fraught with stress, as parents agonize over whether they are making the right decisions. One of the biggest transitions parents worry over is the shift from breast milk to solid foods.

Fortunately, the process can be easy and comfortably managed if parents follow a few simple strategies.

Infant growth and nutrition

Eat Breakfast

The first year of a baby’s life is a time of rapid and intense growth. Usually, the baby doubles its birth weight at about six months and triples it at about one year. All of the physiological systems of the infant body undergo rapid growth. The baby’s height also increases by about 10-12 inches in the first year after birth.

Brain development is another crucial area of rapid growth. Infants are born with 100-200 billion neurons or nerve cells, but these are not fully mature. During infancy and toddlerhood, the brain forms thousands of connections between its nerve cells.

Infants also develop several sensory and motor reflexes, as well as motor skills related to crawling, standing and walking.

All of these developments require large amounts of energy, as well as a range of nutrients. While breast milk forms a necessary part of the infant diet, therefore, it is not sufficient by itself.

Transitioning from breastmilk to solid foods

Skin Care

Shifting to solid foods is a gradual and progressive process that can be carried out in a series of well-planned steps. The first food infants can be introduced to are grains in the form of porridge, since they provide energy in the form of carbohydrates to fuel the infant’s growth. In south India, ragi is often preferred because it is a rich source of calcium, iron and protein, besides providing carbohydrates. These grains have to be dehusked by soaking, grinding and straining to make them easy to digest.

Next, infants can be introduced to a new vegetable every week. Parents can begin with carrots and watery vegetables, followed by beans, and finally leading up to cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. With fruits, parents can start with stewed apple, followed by mashed ripe bananas, and then other soft fruits. Harder fruits should be blended before being fed to infants.

With proteins, green gram dal is the best to start with, while some proteins like chana dal should preferably be given only after one year. Non-vegetarian proteins like egg, fish and chicken can also be started after the first year.

If breastfeeding is stopped after the first year for any reason, cow’s milk or curd can be given. Once the child reaches the age of one, he or she can eat most of the foods that the rest of the family eats, provided nothing is too oily or spicy.

In terms of preparation, parents should start with pureed or mashed foods, followed by food cut into very tiny pieces. Eventually, they can move to finger foods and then hard foods such as small apple pieces or boiled beans.

Feeding fussy children

For many parents, children growing fussy about eating is a major cause for concern. However, many children become fussy when parents focus too much attention on the feeding process in some way. When children start sitting up, they should be encouraged to pick up pieces of their food and eat it themselves. They should also be encouraged to sit and eat with the rest of the family from the first year onwards. If they learn from other members of the family to eat different varieties of foods, they are likely to develop healthy eating habits. On the other hand, if parents try to only feed children particular foods that they initially develop a liking for, they are more likely to grow fussy.

Transitioning from breastmilk to solid foods can seem a complex and difficult task for many parents. However, there are a few simple strategies that parents can follow to simply things for themselves and their babies. Done right, introducing children to solid foods can be a joyous experience of discovery for parent and child.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

Related Products

selling
Tata Sampann

Chana Dal

View details
selling
Tata Sampann

Green Moong

View details
selling
Tata Sampann

Kabuli Chana

View details
selling
Tata Sampann

Kala Chana

View details

loading