Creamy green lentil curry

Lentils are a good source of plant-based protein, contain complex carbohydrates and are low in fat. Fibre is one of their best features as they offer both soluble and insoluble fibre. Unprocessed lentils are an excellent source of vitamin B and minerals like iron, potassium, folate, magnesium and phytonutrients.

Lentils are perfect for making curries, soups, salads or even patties. Green lentil is perfect for those who like hearty and filling meals. In my opinion lentil curries are ideal when you are looking for healthy vegan meal prep ideas. I already put an awesome red lentil curry recipe on this blog Curried red lentilย soup

some tips about this recipe, first rinse lentil well until the water runs clear. secondly, if you have time you can soaked them for 30 minutes before cooking.

๐‚๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐ฅ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐ฅ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ฒ

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry green lentils soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tin coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups Vegetable broth/water
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and toast until they start to brown, about 45 seconds.
  • Now add the finely chopped onions in the pot and let it brown, afterwards add grated garlic and let it brown for 2 minutes.
  • Add all spices and chopped tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes. Now add lentils and 2 cups of water or vegetable broth whatever you like and let it cook for 20 minutes on the low flame.
  • Once the lentils are soft and the curry is thick, add the coconut milk and cook for few more minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with Naan or flatbread or you can eat as a warm soup in this weather.

Osteoporosis; the silent disease

20th October is the world osteoporosis, around 3 million people in the UK are affected by osteoporosis and 500,000 people receive hospital treatment for fragility fracture every year. In Europe, the disability due to osteoporosis is greater than that caused by cancer (except lung cancer). BUT what is osteoporosis

Osteoporosis means Porous bone. Bone is a living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced, we all have some degree of bone loss as we get older but osteoporosis occurs when this balance is disturbed and either body loses too much bone or makes too little new bones. Bones lost their density and become porous and fragile. Osteoporosis develops slowly over several years

osteoporosis affects women and men of all races but white and Asian women, especially older women who are past menopausal are at high risk.

Symptoms

osteoporosis is silent diseases as symptoms appear very late, often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break.

  • Chronic back pain
  • Loss of height over time
  • Stooped or hunched posture
  • Limited mobility

what are risks

  • GENDER
  • ETHNICITY
  • FAMILY HISTORY
  • AGE
  • MENOPAUSE
  • LOW BODY WEIGHT
  • PREVIOUS FRACTURES
  • MEDICAL CONDITION; Early menopause, thyroid disorders
  • MEDICATIONS; Glucocorticoids, Antacids

HOW TO PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS

Osteoporosis is preventable by adopting healthy lifestyle guidelines. Nutrition, physical activity, weight, smoking cessation, avoiding heavy alcohol drinking can improve bone health.

Eat well for bone health

  • Well balanced diet consist of all food groups play a critical role in building and maintaining good bone health at every stage of life. There are certain vitamins like vitamin D and K play an important role in preventing osteoporosis. similarly, minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and copper are important for bone health.
  • Building strong bones begin in childhood and are essential to the prevention of osteoporosis. Good nutrition with plenty of calcium rich food like milk and dairy products or other calcium rich sources helps children to achieve their highest possible peak bone mass.

Recent research has found that olive oil, soybeans, blueberries, and food rich in omega 3 fatty acids are like fish oil, and flax seeds may have bone boosting benefits.

EXERCISE

Regular physical activity like aerobic exercises aimed at 30-45 minutes per day or 150 minutes every week helps in preventing osteoporosis.

Studies show that weight bearing exercises such as weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs and playing tennis over a period of time can improve bone density even build a new bone.

WHAT TO AVOID FOR GOOD BONE HEALTH

There are certain foods that should be consumed in moderation like soda, caffeine, saturated fats, salt and alcohol. They have no direct effect on bone health but they impair calcium absorption and reduce bone density.

smoking and bone health;

several studies found smoking as risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fracture.How smoking affects bone health, still unclear that decrease in bone density is due to smokng itself or to other risk factors common among smokers. For example women who smoke also tend to have early menopause than nono smokers and in many cases people who smoke are less physical active, drink more alcohol and poor diet as compared to non smoker.

Osteoporosis is not an invietable part of ageing; it is preventable.So it is vital that all of us, of all ages, start taking care of our bones now , before it is too late. love your bones protect your fracture

Vege loaded, a totaly customized for your family. Any vegetable can be added.This recipe is ideal for your brunch or can be served as dinner.

Ingradients

  • 3 Large egges
  • 1 canned chopped tomatoes or you can add fresh tomotes
  • 1red peppers chopped
  • 1 courgette chopped
  • 1 red onoion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced grated
  • oil 2 table spoon
  • spring onion forgarnish

How to cook

  • Heat some oil in a pan and add finely chopped onion and garlic saute until soft and turn light golden.
  • now add courgette and red peppers and cook for few more minutes then add all spices and tomatoes, simmer for5-7 minutes
  • now make a well for your egg and crack egg in each well. cover the pan with lid till the egg white are nicely done and egg yolks are runny or if you need full done
  • sprinkle with fresh chopped spring onion and feta if you like.

you can served with bread but this time i served it with traditional wholewheat parathas.

Curried red lentil soup

This red lentil recipe is vegan, gluten free healthy and easy to make.This yummy recipe is ready in 30 minutes and a perfect option for weeknight dinner and meal prep.

Dhal or lentils are good source of fibre and important staple food in south asian countries. Red lentils are spilt lentils that cook fast and does not need any soaking.

you can add vegies like i used carrots and celery but you can add spinach, zucchni or tomatoes.

๐ˆ๐ง๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ

  • 1 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves grated
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 3 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish /
  • 2 tablespoons butter/ coconut oil

๐Œ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐

Take a large pan and put oil and onion, saute onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes. Now add carrots and celery and cook until they become soft Now add tomatoes and all spices and mix well,cook for 10 minutes. Add lentils and cook for 2-3 minutes and now add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked and the soup has thickened. Add more salt and cumin if needed. Garnish with fresh coriander or dill

served warm

FODMAP’s and their link with IBS

FODMAP is not a single entity, but a group of an acronym that stands for fermented, oligo, di, monosaccharides and polyols. FODMAPs are found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, milk and wheat.

HOW FODMAP WORKS;

FODMAP may exacerbate IBS symptoms through a various mechanism such as ;

OSMOTIC OVERLOAD; Poor absorption of FODMAP causes osmotic overload and distention of small intestine and abdominal symptoms.

BACTERIAL FERMENTATION; FODMAPs are rapidly absorbed by colonic bacteria and produce colonic distention due to gas production associated with abdominal pain and bloating.

FODMAPs are not bad for everyone, in normal healthy individuals they have important physiological effects like; they increase stool bulk, enhance calcium absorption and modulate immune function. They selectively stimulate the growth of Bifidobacterium a species of good bacteria.

FODMAPs and the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a chronic functional disorder of the intestine, the most common symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating and altered bowel movements.The global prevalence of IBS is around 12% and is more common in women.

Treatment of IBS consist of pharmacological and non pharmacological measures. Among the non pharmacological options; stress reduction, dietary modifications ( restriction of certain food (FODMAP) and cognitive behaviour therapy are the most important.

LOW FODMAP DIET

In recent years, there is a growing body of research which support low FODMAP diet for the management of IBS, studies have shown that it can help up to 70-85% of patients with IBS achieve relief of their symptoms. it is now included in NICE guidelines as a second line intervention for IBS.

Following a low fodmap diet may helpful in alleviating symptoms of IBS like

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Altered bowel movement
  • Gas

There is no evidence that low FODMAP diet works for non digestive symptoms that are associated with IBS, such as headache and skin or joint problems.

Phases of low FODMAP diet

It is three phased elimination diet, first phase is the restriction phase in which high FODMAP food should be completely avoided. This phase lasts for 2-6 weeks. Second phase is reintroduction in which food with high FODMAP reintroduced but one at a time. This will enable you to identify which FODMAP you are sensitive too. This stage can take several months to complete and ideally should be completed under the guidance of a dietitian. Personalized stage the third phase is a combination of phase 1 and phase 2 and involves the long term, modified FODMAP diet. For more information regarding a high FODMAP food list https://www.monashfodmap.com/about-fodmap-and-ibs/high-and-low-fodmap-foods/

WHAT IS DOWNSIDES OF LOW FODMAP.

There is short term risk associated with insufficient protein, dietary fibre, B group vitamins and calcium intake.

Low levels of prebiotics;

Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that are resistant to gastric acid and fermented by bacteria present in the large intestine. Prebiotics predominately found in food containing Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides.The low FODMAP diet restricts the intake of many high prebiotic (high FODMAP) foods and prolong restriction of high FODMAP can alter gut microbiome diversity. Studies have shown low levels of total bacterial abundance and reduced level of bifidobacterium following a low FODMAP diet. This is why re-introduction phase is very important as it allows you to have more variety in your diet but also maintain a healthy gut.

Calcium in low FODMAP diet;

The restriction of lactose containing dairy products may enhance the tendency to poor calcium availability since these items are primary source of calcium and promoting effect of lactose on calcium absorption is lost.

Lactose or dairy free calcium sources are; Kale, lactose free plant based milk fortified with calcium, hard cheese, firm tofu.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE

Low fodmap diet is considered as a second line treatment option for patients with IBS as recommended by NICE guidelines. This diet should not be used without specialized dietary advice from a registered professional. Vegan or vegetarian are at increased risk of protein deficiency due to limited plant protein sources however well constructed meal plans by registered dietitians may reduce possible nutritional deficiencies.

CHICKPEAS MASALA

My comfort food, easy to cook ready in around 20 minutes, packed with fibre and plant based protein.

Ingradients

  • 2 ร—400gm chickpeas tins
  • 1 ร—400 gm tomatoes can
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves grated
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon gram masala
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk /optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or any other of your own choice

HOW TO MAKE IT

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onions. Sautรฉ, stirring occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add ginger and garlic. Sautรฉ, stirring, for a minute or until fragrant. Now add chopped tomatoes, all spices except gram masala and stir to combine. Sautรฉ, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Now add drained chickpeas bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and add gram masala, cook for 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and simmer for 5 more minutes. until the gravy has thickened. Take a taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro and serve.

๐‡๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ๐ฏ๐ž you can serve with naan or home made flatbread or rice.

Homemade healthy granola

Granola is an important part of breakfast but choosing a healthy and nutritious granola is a difficult task as store bought granola is loaded with sugar and fats. To kick start your day with healthy and easy to go breakfast, graonla is best option. Homemade granola is very easy to make just one big bowl and some basic pantry items and your breakfast is sorted.

My home made granola has no added sugar as i add honey and dates (natural sweeteners).This recipe is highly addictive and endlessly customisable. you can enjoy it as quick breakfast or crunchy snack with some fruit toppings.

Ingradients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried fruits ( cranberries, apricot)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts ( I used walnuts, almonds)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 6 dates (stirred in boiling water and make a paste)
  • 1/2 cup pupmkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup cocunuts flakes
  • 1/3 cup cocunut oil/olive oil
  • 1 teasppon cinamon
  • pinch of salt

Method

  • Pre heat oven at 325F and lined oven tray with a parachament papper.
  • Combine the oats, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds,cinnamon and salt.
  • In a measuring jug, mix the cocunut oil, honey and date paste.
  • Add to oat mixture and mix thoroughly. Spread evenly over the prepared tray, pressing down lightly with the back of a spoon.
  • Pop in the oven for 10 minutes then toss and again bake for further 10 minutes or untill golden.
  • Remove from the oven and topped with dried fruits and allow to cool befeore placing in an air tight jar.
  • serve with yoghurt or milk of yur choice.

Non Alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and lifestyle interventions

We know that obesity is a risk factor for several non communicable diseases, it can lead to diabetes and other metabolic conditions, but there is less awareness that obesity can lead to serious liver disease.It is estimated up to 1 in every 3 people in the UK has early stages of NAFLD, where there are small amounts of fat in their liver.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver cell and this buildup is independent of alcohol consumption. It is a spectrum of disorder ranging from less severe steatosis (fatty liver) to more severe non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), where the liver has become inflamed; this is estimated to affect up to 5% of the UK population. Fibrosis and cirrhosis develop at later stages and lead to liver failure and sometimes liver carcinoma.

what causes NAFLD

  • The exact cause of NAFLD remains unclear, however, it is linked with genetic and environmental factors like
  • 1.Obesity
  • 2.Diabetes
  • 3.Hyperlipidemia
  • 4.Women with PCOS5.
  • 5.Sedentary lifestyle

Treatment and prevention

There is no specific pharmacological treatment for NFALD. However, various medicines can be useful in managing the problems associated with the condition like;medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and Insulin sanitizers.

Life style modifications;

There is a strong consensus that lifestyle interventions such as diet, physical activity and weight reduction can help in preventing and reduces the progression of the disease. A metanalysis of 23 trials shows that lifestyle modification including weight loss and physically activity consistently reduced liver fat and improved histopathology.

WELL BALANCED DIET; Diet consists of vegetables and fruits with less processed carbohydrates. Low Glycemic index carbohydrates with more fibre content also reduce insulin resistance which is directly linked with NAFLD. Low caloric diet intake ( 3-6 months) either low carbohydrates or low fat diet results in weight loss and improved lipid profile.

Intake of polyunsaturated fats especially omega 3 fatty acids reduces the risk of NAFLD. Mediterianean diet is a best source of mono unsaturated fatty acids( MUFA) like n– oleic acid (olives, nuts, avocado), which play an important role in the metabolic profile of human metabolism. MUFA has been demonstrated a beneficial effect on lipid profile bt decreasing  plasma triacylglycerol and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol concentrations and modestly increasing high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol without adversely affecting low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations. 

Soft drinks are leading cause of added sugars in the world and different observational studies report a positive association between soft drink consumption and NAFLD. Soft drinks like cola drinks contain caramel coloring, which is rich in advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that may increase insulin resistance and inflammation.

Observational studies have demonstrated a favourable impact of coffee intake on health and in particular a protective effect from the metabolic syndrome. Coffee contain polyphenols chlorogenic acid which acts as antoxidants, anti inflammatory and reduces the risks of developing NAFLD and cardiovascular diseases.

Regular physical activity: There is a dose-response relationship between NAFLD and physical activity (both prevalence and disease severity,  therefore, the more physical activity performed throughout the day, the better! Aim to do at least 150 minutes/week of physical activity like walking or cycling. Increasing daily walking has also been shown to improve fat oxidation and is a way of increasing physical activity levels at no cost and without additional equipment. Aerobic and resistance exercises both improves NAFLD. A systematic review (24 exercise-only studies) revealed that exercise produced a 20โ€“30% relative reduction in hepatic steatosis, independent of weight loss in NAFLD patients.

weight reduction: Based on available data, patients should optimally achieve a 5%-10% weight reduction. A prospective study with 7 years of follow up emphasized that even a modest weight change of 3โ€“5 kg is an independent predictor for the development and remission of NAFLD, regardless of baseline body mass index (BMI).

TAKE-HOME MESSAGE

Lifestyle interventions can be highly effective in treating NAFLD across the disease spectrum and offer a holistic way of managing not only liver health, but also cardiovascular and metabolic health. Patients often feel difficult to achieve and implement these modifications, however with proper and individualized support suffient long term changes can be possible.

always set Smart, Meaurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely goals

is irritable bowel syndrome lifelong??

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not as simple as just having an unhappy gut, its not all in our head either. IBS not only manifest as painful gut but it also affects patients confidence, body image and mental health.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common chronic functional disease of the digestive system. Around 20% of the world population is affected by this order. Women are around 2 to 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with IBS and 4 to 5 times more likely to seek specialty care for it than men.

A variety of gastrointestinal and extraintestinal factors are likely to influence the manifestation of IBS. Dysregulation of the brain-gut axis, gastrointestinal infection, low-grade infiltration and activation of mast cells in the intestinal mucosa with consequent release of bioactive substances, and altered serotonin metabolism are the emerging factors of IBS pathogenesis.

sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone affect motor and sensory function of GIT and triggfer IBS symptoms in women before or during mensturation.

Figure adapted from “THE LANCET gastroenterology and hepatology

SYMPTOMS OF IBS

The most common symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, bloating, altered bowel movements diarrhea or constipation. Some people may experience both constipationa and diarrhea at different time. IBS is also associated with psychological disorders like anxiety and depression, gastroesophageal reflux and genitourinary infections. women with IBS may be at risk of developing endometriosis or having a hystercetomy.

TREATMENT

Only symptomatic treatment is available for IBS, the choice of drug treatment depends on the nature and severity of the symptoms. Many drug treatment options for IBS are available over-the-counter. According to NICE guidelines, Antispasmodic drugs (such as alverine citratemebeverine hydrochloride and peppermint oil) can be taken in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes. A laxative (excluding lactulose as it may cause bloating) can be used to treat constipation.

Antidepressants like amitriptyline and citalopram can be used as a second line of treatment  in patients who have not responded to antispasmodics, anti-motility drugs, or laxatives. A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor may be considered in those who do not respond to a tricyclic antidepressant [unlicensed indication]

LIFESTYLE INTERVENTIONS

DIET

Diet plays an important role in IBS management as it controls symptoms, but it does not necessarily target the underlying cause. so if you eliminate the foods that trigger your symptoms it improves your IBS symptoms but, when trigger foods are reintroduced, often symptoms also return. In IBS management, the way you eat and what you eat both have an important impact on gut symptoms.

  • Reduce caffiene intake;limit tea and coffee to not more than three cups a day.
  • limit alcohol and fizzy drinks
  • Reduce intake of resistant starch, fatty foods
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Try Probiotics;Yoghurt and some drinkss and supplemets such as tablets, capsules or sachets.

Fibre in IBS; Fibre is double edge sword in IBS as for some it is a blessing and for other IBS patients, it can worsen their symptoms. When considering fibre, it is important to look at both the quantity and the type of fibre (insoluble or soluble), as too little or too much fibre can trigger IBS symptoms.

Quality of fibre also matters. soluble fibre and insoluble fibre behave very differently when they reach the digestive system. If an increase in dietary fibre is required always to prefer soluble fibre as they dissolve in water and remove excess fluid and that how they are good in IBS with diarrhea.

 Intake of insoluble fibre (e.g. bran) and โ€˜resistant starchโ€™ should be reduced or discouraged as they may exacerbate symptoms.

  • Psyllium; It is a unique soluble fibre that has a dual function, it softens the hard stools and also helps in IBS with diarrhea by thickening up loose stool.it may also improve bloating and incomplete evacuation.
  • Flaxseed; Flaxseed is good for IBS with constipation. aways start with low quantity like half tablespoon (6g) per day and then gradually increase up to 2 tablespoons. The seeds are either swallowed whole with water or soft food such as yogurt, or they are ground up and sprinkled on food
  • Peppermint oil /tea; There is a growing body of evidence that supports the efficacy of peppermint oil in IBS. It is a natural solution for IBS with minimal side effects. Peppermint oil is antispasmodic and relax intense intestine and reduce abdominal pain.

FODMAP

There is a group of carbohydrates found in different foods which causes IBS symptoms as they are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. FODMAP is a term used for these foods. f=fermented,o=oligosaccharide,d= disaccharides, m=monosacchrides,p= polyols. these are present in the stonefruits, legumes, lactose-containing foods, and artificial sweeteners might exacerbate symptoms in a subgroup of patients due to their fermentation and osmotic
effects.

  • BACTERIAL FERMENTATION; Gut bacteria in the large intestine ferment this indigestible fodmap and gives off-gas. This gas distends the stomach, causing bloating, wind, constipation and explosive stool.
  • OSMOTIC OVERLOAD; FODMAP can draw water in from the body into the small bowel and increasing the pressure over the intestinal wall causing diarrhea or some experience hard stool followed by watery stools.

Low FODMAP diet ; Low fodmap diet is a sceond line approach for IBS patients. It improves IBS symptoms in around 70% of patients however, this diet is not for a lifetime and should be introduced under the supervision of qualified professionals. For more about low fodmap diet, which food are included, phases of this diet, visit this website. https://www.monashfodmap.com/

NON DIET APRROACH

Move YOUR BODY;

Physical activities boost mood and also good for the gut muscles. Low-intensity exercises like walking, swimming, cycling, light jogging can help reduce stress and control IBS symptoms.

STRESS MANAGEMENT

IBS is considered a disorder of gut and brain and any kind of stress, physical or psychological have a direct effect on the symptoms of IBS as evident by data. Relaxation and other stress-reduction techniques could bring a sense of wellbeing and have an impact on the severity of IBS symptoms.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT); There is increasing evidence for the efficacy of CBT in alleviating the physical and psychological symptoms of IBS.

SLEEP HYGIENE;

Sleep disturbance is very common among IBS patients. studies show positive association between sleep deprivation and worse gut symptoms. Poor bad night sleep results in bad IBS day symptoms. Sleep quality and duration equally important, but one in three adult do not get quality sleep.

take home message;

IBS is a chronic disorder ofthe digestive system but for the majority of patient, it is frustrating and its effect on the quality of life make it a disease with high cost. Current medical tratment for IBS, only targets the symptoms of this disorder. IBS can be managed by identifying what triggers the symptoms, which food is good for IBS. Non diet approach like physical activity, relaxing tecniques all show promising results in alleviating IBS sypmtoms.IBS symptoms varies from person to person so personalized interventions are important.

The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recepie for living that suits all

Iodine;an overlooked micronutrient

Iodine, one of the most important micronutrient required at all stages of life. Iodine is essential for the synthesis of Thyroid hormone, triidothyronine (T3 )and thyroxine (T4) which regulates body metabolism. Thyroid hormones receptors are presents in almost every cell of the body, so they are important regulators of many physiological processes includes brain development, growth, metabolism and cardiac function. Iodine plays a vital role in brain development during early pregnacy till childhood. Many brain structures and systems appear to be affected with iodine deficiency, including areas such as the hippocampus, microstructures such as myelin, and neurotransmitters.

25 -30mg of iodine present in a healthy body, 80% of which is stored in the thyroid gland. The non hormonal iodine is found in a variety of body tissues including mammary glands, eye, gastric mucosa, cervix and salivary glands.

How much Iodine Do we Need

In the UK, the recommended daily intake of iodine for a healthy adult (male and female) is140 microgram and there is no specific recommendation for pregnant and breastfeeding women. As during pregnancy, iodine requirement increases so the British Dietetic Association (BDA) suggested 200 microgramm of iodine per day for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

dietary sources of iodine

Milk and dairy products fish and eggs are a major source of iodine. In the UK, milk and dairy products provide as much as 34% of iodine intake. Fortified milk is recommended for those who are using non dairy milk alternative. however, a study conducted by the University of surry revealed that only a few plant based milk brands in UK are fortified with iodine.

Fruits and vegetables also contain iodine but the amount varies depending on the iodine content of the soil, fertilizers use up and irrigation practice. The table below produced by BDA shows the iodine content of food in the UK.

Some vegetables impair absorption of iodine like cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and soya) and cause swelling of the thyroid gland (goitre) due to low levels of thyroid hormones. However, normal consumption of cruciferous vegetable does not appear to increase the risk of hypothyroidism unless accompanied by iodine deficiency. 

iodine deficiency

  • Pregnant and lactating women; The iodine requirement in pregnant women is 50% higher as compared to non preganant women as; maternal iodine production increases by 50% in eraly pregnancy.At this stage fetal thyroid is not fully active so, additional iodine is rquired for fetus toproduce its own thyroid hormones.
  • vegetarian /vegans
  • People with food allergies; milk or fish allergies
  • Lactose intolerance

Globally, iodine deficiency is a serious public health issue and it is estimated that around 2 billion people all over the world are iodine deficient. iodine deficiency leads to hypothyroidism which causes impair neurodevelopment in early childhood.

It is claimed by WHO that iodine deficiency is the most significant preventable cause of brain damage and mental retardation. Severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy causes Endemic cretenism( congenital hypothyroidism) in the newborn which is marked by gross mental retardation, deaf mutism, short stature.

iodine deficiency causes a spectrum of disorders in different age groups collectively known as iodine deficiency disorders ( DIDs). The effects of IDD in humans at different stages of life are presented in the following pyramid.

Iodine deficiency can be corrected by adding iodine to dietary media like salt, oil, water, sauces etc. The methods of proven value for mass use are iodized salt and iodized oil. To this end, fortification of salt with iodine has been identified and considered to be the most suitable method of fortification.

universal iodized salt is recommended intervention by WHO for iodine deficiency however, in the UK there is no iodized fortification program and most sale salts are not fortified. it is better to meet iodine requirement through diet.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE;

Iodine is essential for thyroid hormone production and its deficiency may impair body metabolism and brain development.

The best way to meet your daily iodine requirement is eating a healthy well balanced diet. People with different dietary choices like vegan and vegetraian are increased risk of developing iodine deficiency.

vegans should check their iodine levels and in case of iodine deficiency, consume iodine supplements but always consult GP, dietitian or nutritionist before using iodine supplements.

Strong evidence is still needed to conclude the efficacy of iodine supplementation in mild to moderate iodine deficient women on the cognitive function of their children.

Avoid seaweed based supplements as they may cause iodine intoxication.