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Health Benefits of Cooking With Iodised Salt

Benefits of Cooking With Iodised Salt
Photo credits: Organicfacts

Most people have properly tasted salt today. This sweetener remains one of the most used and ever present seasoning in our kitchens.

It is added to snacks, name it, from meat to sweets, a pinch or more is in it. Even in some countries, there is the option of buying salted water.

You have probably heard of the Federal Government campaign that any salt sold in the country should be fortified with iodine.

One may wonder why the government gave this directive, really, why is it necessary to cook with iodised salt?

A nutritionist, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu says adding iodine to salt has been proven to be a cost effective and reliable way to address Iodine deficiency in children and adults.

Benefits of Iodine

Isokpunwu notes that Iodine is an essential trace element that is vital for normal growth and development. He states that iodine is also a micro nutrient that helps the body burn calories, thereby preventing its storage of excess fat.

He adds that the micro nutrient is used up while the body removes toxins or when it wants to take up calcium or silicon for many bodily functions including bone formation.

However, its deficiency, experts say has serious consequences on our health.

According to World Health Organisation, Iodine deficiency is one of the leading causes of mental retardation all over the world.

Isokpunwu explains that because iodine helps in most brain functions, its shortage has been linked to a significant reduction in affected individuals’ Intelligent Quotient.

He states that this micro nutrient deficiency is also responsible for poor growth and mental development in children. According to the expert, children are at a higher risk of suffering from this deficiency compared to adults.

“Many children, especially babies do not eat enough food for them to meet their daily requirement for Iodine intake. So they are likely to suffer Iodine deficiency compared to other age groups.

“This cannot be overlooked because Iodine boosts Intelligent Quotient and when you don’t have enough, it can lead to mental challenges for the kids. It has been proven that most children born with cognitive challenges must have been born of mothers who suffered from Iodine deficiency.” he states.

If Iodine deficiency is bad for children, it is deadlier in pregnant women. Doctors note that it increases their chances of having still births and also leads to reduced fertility in men.

Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr. Francis Adetoye states that Iodine deficiency in pregnant woman increases her risk of having children whose growth is stunted.

Adetoye said, “ Iodine is an essential macronutrient that is used up in every metabolic process that goes on in the body. If a child lacks it, he/she won’t grow as expected. In severe cases, it can lead to serious physical malformation and mental retardation in an affected child. It is a major cause of cretinism.”

They reiterate that nursing mothers must ensure that they meet their daily requirement of this micro nutrient, as most of it is usually lost in breast milk.

He adds, “ Studies show that a pregnant or nursing woman can actually lose more than her entire required dose of iodine every day, which can result in serious iodine deficiency for her, even after pregnancy and breastfeeding are over, due to the changes in activity of her hormonal glands.

“You must do all you can to meet up with the requirement daily. It is important for your child and your health and your chances of a safe delivery.”

Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency

The symptoms of Iodine deficiency vary from one individual to the other. Adetoye says that poor perception level and mental retardation are clear signals of an Iodine deficiency in children while decreased fertility and abnormal weight gain are the signs in men.

He adds that women generally may suffer severe constipation and constant still births.

Salt and Iodine

Having given a background on why the body needs Iodine, it is important to state why one needs to cook with iodised salt henceforth.

Simple, scientists say that since this sweetener is added to most meals, cooking with iodised salt is the most reliable way to ensure that many people meet their daily requirement of iodine.

Even though government has put in place policies and measures to ensure that manufacturers of salt or users of salt in the food processing industry fortify their salt with Iodine, not many of them comply.

In fact, truly iodised salt is one that is not easily gotten in some Nigerian market.

To check if you are cooking with iodised salt or not, Isokpunwu gives this simple trick: He adds, “Cut a piece of white yam, add the salt you have in the house to the very white surface. If it turns blue black, then it is iodised; if not, then feel free to hold the supplier responsible.”

Source: Punch

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