Essential minerals in our bodies- part IV: Iron & Iodine
Nutrients are the key to our well being. Among the collection of nutrients, minerals are one of the chief driving factors of all the chemical reactions in our body and hence facilitate the proper functioning of the machinery within our body. Essential Minerals are categorized as – Macrominerals and Microminerals.
Although in its overall relationship about 60 different minerals have been identified in the body, the 21 essential minerals listed below would make up about five pounds of the total body structure, and are vital requirements in order for the human body to function properly. Follow the series of articles over the next few weeks to learn just how important Minerals are, especially during the early years of life.
You know about it and you learned about it in schools but did you ever wonder how essential iron and iodine have an impact on our lives? Read on to find out more and (perhaps) appreciate the importance of iron and iodine in our body.
Why are Iron and Iodine important for proper functioning of our body?
Let’s begin with iron; one of the most abundant elements in the planet. Iron is needed by our body to help red blood cells in binding haemoglobin to oxygen molecule so that the latter is distributed to every cell in your body and your immune system is boosted at the same time. Iron is also needed for DNA synthesis, the basic element in each cell in our body and plays a key role as a component in neurotransmitters, which in turn is needed by the nerves to transmit information to the brain.
As for iodine, this mineral is essential for the creation of thyroid hormones in the thyroid glands. This particular hormone is essential for stimulating basal rate metabolism, heat production, development of nervous system, general growth, as well as oxygen consumption.
Importance of Iron and Iodine In children's diet
Not just for the adults, iron is also very important for children since iron deficiency will keep off adequate supply of oxygen from the tissues and get in the way of their growth and development (particularly for girls who may have heavy menstruation). That’s the main reason why cereals and milk, enriched with iron are believed to be ideal food for children.
Iodine is vital for us, especially for children, as lack of iodine will make them vulnerable to mental and physical retardation, and might even lead to cretinism.
How the particular Iron and Iodine works in the body
The primary function of iron is to help the cells ‘breathe’ by binding itself with a protein to produce haemoglobin which enables them to carry oxygen within the cells. As with myoglobin, this protein binds with iron in the muscle cells to generate energy from sugar. Since muscle activity calls for energy, thus iron plays a key role in the voluntary use of skeletal muscles and assisting your heart to beat continuously.
All of the blood which passes through the thyroid gland is made free of germs, thanks to its rich iodine content, and thus our chances of exposure to infectious diseases becomes much less. If you are stressed out and your mind has stopped thinking clearly, iodine comes to your aid and relieves you of all tension.
Foods that provide the particular Iron and Iodine
Iron is indeed abundant in our planet; hence it’s pretty much present in most foods that we eat. Have plenty of liver, red meat, egg (particularly in the yolks), dried fruits, and cereals, grains, and milk that are fortified with iron. A tip to remember; keep in mind to consume foods or drinks that have adequate amount of vitamin C to help your body absorb iron better.
You can get more than enough of iodine from iodized salt. Other good sources of iodine include seafood variety such as fish and seaweed, eggs, milk, poultry, and meat.
Symptoms & Diseases from Mineral deficiency of Iron and Iodine
Having low reserve of iron can greatly compromise your body so that you can develop anemia, a condition where your body runs low in oxygen. Signs which warn you of the ailment are fatigue, rapid heartbeat, fainting, and susceptibility to infections.
Deficiency in iodine means thyroid hormone are producing less than it is supposed to create (hypothyroidism), leading to the increase of other hormones in addition to enlargement of the thyroid gland, known as goiter. Lack of iodine also makes you susceptible to various symptoms and diseases such as tongue swelling, anemia, and drowsiness.
Natural Herbal remedies containing Iron and Iodine
As iron is needed for various bodily functions, herbs that contain iron are one of the best ways to procure the micro-mineral apart from food. Such herbs include dandelion root, burdock root, moringa seed, alfalfa, and yellow dock root (the highest natural source) while plenty of herbs containing iodine such as calendula, wormwood, and garlic have the potential to look after you too. Have plenty of these herbs as tea and make them a part of your meal to reap the benefits of iron and iodine in your body.
Iron and iodine in our body is indeed crucial thus it is essential that you have enough of these minerals in your diet to avoid any unwanted disease in the near future.
By Liya Das
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