Importance and sources of iodine

A pinch of salt can eliminate brain damage!

Importance and food sources of iodine in saltIodine deficiency produces adverse effects which is widespread in a population. Global Iodine Deficiency Disorder Prevention Day, observed on 21st October, is a global awareness campaign that focuses on reducing the spread of iodine deficiency disorder and to educate the public about the disease. Inadequate supply of iodine can cause a health condition called iodine deficiency disorder (IDD), which generally affects young children and pregnant women and causes mental abnormalities.

Good to know facts

Our body requires iodine for the production of hormones, secreted by the thyroid gland, which is required for physical and mental growth.

The deficiency of iodine causes goiter, stunted growth, low mental development and brain damage in people.

In pregnant women, iodine deficiency can result in a child with physical and mental retardation or sometimes may even result in stillbirth or abortion.

One-sixth of the world population is still in the risk of IDD.

IDD is caused due to low dietary intake of iodine through fruits, vegetables and seafood.

Usage of iodized salt is one of the best and inexpensive ways to fulfil the body’s iodine requirements.

Iodine deficiency can cause the following negative effects on our body

  1. Muscle stiffness including neuromuscular weakness
  2. Stunted physical and mental growth
  3. Hair loss
  4. Mental illness including subnormal intelligence, mental retardation, impaired cognitive development
  5. Defect in vision, speech, and hearing
  6. Spontaneous abortion and still birth in pregnant women


Food sources of iodine

Apart from salt which is the best source of iodine, milk, eggs, seaweed, shellfish, sea fish, meat and cereal grains are other iodine-rich sources.The average daily requirement for a normal adult is 1gm. The absence of this small nutrient in your body can lead to a big setback in leading your normal life! Increase your dietary iodine intake and keep IDD at an arm’s length!

Consult a doctor if you have been experiencing any of these symptoms. 


  1. World Health Organization. Accessed Oct 15, 2015.
  2. Iodine Global Network. Accessed Oct 16, 2015.
  3. National Health Portal. Accessed Oct 20, 2015.

Stroke isn’t a death sentence!


One afternoon, Manish was helping his wife clean their house and while lifting some boxes, he felt weakness in his right hand and leg. He sat on a chair and rested while assuming that the pain was due to the heavy boxes he carried. A week later, he had another feeling of weakness when he was out shopping and ended up in hospital. It was a stroke and without his knowledge, he was suffering from high blood pressure.

A sudden interruption of the blood flow to the brain causes a brain injury which is known as stroke. It is a common but a serious condition that can make a person disabled for life or brings about death. But it is not inevitable and can be prevented. Stroke is the leading cause of leading disability in the world. World Stroke Day is observed on 29thOctober every year to raise awareness on stroke and ways to prevent it.

Know your risk factors

Nearly 80% of the strokes can be prevented.

High blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, being overweight, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, alcohol, heart diseases and, stress are the risk factors which can be controlled to reduce the risk of stroke significantly.

Common symptoms to look out for

Symptoms of stroke appear suddenly and often there is more than one symptom at the same time. Knowing the signs of a stroke and seeking immediate medical help:

  • Unexpected weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg on one side of the body
  • Sharp or atypical headache
  • Confusion
  • Loss of speech, or struggle to speak or understand expressions
  • Loss of balance/coordination or trouble with walking
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Unfamiliar dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing


Reduce the risk of stroke

Reduce the risk of stroke. Make sure to get regular health screenings.



  1. World stroke organization. Accessed Oct 28, 2015.
  2. American stroke association. Accessed Oct 28, 2015.

Manage diabetes by eating healthy!

Nishant weighed 125 kgs when he was led to believe that bariatric surgery was a solution for his type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Most of his life, he had consumed nutrition-sparse diet, high in sugars and refined carbohydrates. But after his feet started to go numb, a sign of nerve damage due to diabetes, is when became aware of the relation between diet and health. He planned out his meals and started a healthy way of living. He lost around 15 kgs after 3 months and took up a fitness programme. After a year, he is now cured of diabetes and its complications.

A diabetic must carefully choose those foods which keep his/her blood sugar levels within a normal range. World Diabetes Day is observed on 14th November to create diabetes awareness among millions of people worldwide.

Fast facts:

  • Around 592 million people are anticipated to get affected by 2035, a 53% increase on existing cases.
  • India has the highest number of diabetics than any country in the world. The estimate of the actual number of diabetics in India is around 40 million.
  • Exercise and diet can reduce or delay the incidence of diabetes by over 50%

When should you get tested for diabetes?

People aged above 45 years who are overweight should get their blood sugar level tested. In case one is overweight (BMI above 25) and younger, then also a visit to the doctor is necessary if following signs show up:

  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol (blood fat) (above 140/90 mm Hg)
  • Abnormal levels of HDL, or good cholesterol (below 35mg/dL) or triglyceride (type of blood fat) (above 250mg/dL)
  • Gestational diabetes during pregnancy or giving birth to baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Blood vessel problems affecting the heart, brain, or legs

Apart from these, if a person has a family history of diabetes or belongs to the following ethnic groups: African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander American, then he/she should surely get the tests done. Even if the tests are normal, after 3 years one should be retested again.

Eat right, follow a healthy diet

Some foods enhance the health of people living with diabetes due to their unique ingredients. These foods manage your blood glucose levels along with providing good flavour and taste.

Apples: Low in calories, high in fibre content, fights bad cholesterol, blunts blood-sugar swings. Eat it unpeeled because of its antioxidant effect which can beat diabetes.

Beans: Rich in proteins and soluble fibre, they are good for heart and contain phytonutrients that beat diabetes.

Tea: Rich in phytonutrients such as catechins and tannins that help in balancing blood sugar levels.

Whole-grain bread: Coarse whole bread slows digestion and improves your sensitivity to insulin.

Olive oil: With its anti-inflammatory component, it lowers rates of heart disease and diabetes. A little olive oil may reverse insulin resistance and slows digestion and hence is less likely to raise your glucose.

Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids in fish reduce inflammation in the body as well as insulin resistance and diabetes. They also cut the risk of heart disease.

Tomatoes: Lower blood pressure and improve HDL to cut the risk of heart disease which is major complication of diabetes. Rich in iron and vitamins C and E and being low in calories, they are good for diabetics.

Finger millet (Ragi): Reduces the risk of diabetes mellitus because of its high polyphenol and dietary fibre content and lower glycaemic response.

Milk and Yogurt: Rich in protein, calcium and fight insulin resistance. Go for fat-free, skimmed milk and plain unsweetened yogurt.

Sweet potato: Packed with 40 percent soluble fibre that lowers cholesterol and slows digestion. It contains carotenoids and chlorogenic acid which help the body respond to insulin better and reduce insulin resistance.

Regulating the intake of portion size is one of the major factors in losing weight. It is well known that fat has more calories compared to carbohydrate or protein if same quantity is taken into account.

Tips to prevent/control diabetes

1. Fewer fried foods should be consumed and boiled foods should be made a regular choice.

2. Butter used in cooking should be replaced by margarine and olive oil or the usage of butter should be cut down

3. More fish, chicken and lean cuts of beef should be consumed

4. Meatless meals or reorganizing meals with more fruits, vegetables, starches compared to meat should be taken

5. Fat should not add to more than 30% of the total daily calories

6. Saturated fat should comprise of less than 10% of the daily calories

7. 50% to 60% of total daily calories should be made up of carbohydrates

8. Fibre should comprise of a minimum of 38 grams in the daily diet for men aged 50 years and below. For women of the same age, 25 grams of fibre daily is required

Did you know?

You could have type 2 diabetes and not show any symptoms! Studies show that only about 40 percent of diabetic patients have symptoms at the time of diagnosis so a follow-up blood test every year is important for people with a high risk of diabetes after they reach 40.

Diabetes is a complex yet manageable disease. Always consult a doctor

before making dietary changes.





AIDS: Early detection, best prevention!

AIDS and HIV Infection

One fine day, Tilak started facing severe flu-like symptoms. Five months later, he was diagnosed with a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. He started taking medicines, one pill daily. And within two months his viral load became undetectable. Tilak is very open about his diagnosis, eats well, exercises often and is in good health now.
He encourages regular testing. Because there are only two ways of knowing if a person has HIV- either by getting tested or by becoming unwell!

HIV attacks the body’s immune system. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, where patients develop badly damaged immune systems with a risk of opportunistic infections and death. There is no cure for AIDS. The idea is to not let your immune system deteriorate and give yourself a chance to survive.

World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1st to raise awareness on the prevention and diagnosis caused by HIV infection among millions of people worldwide. Get Tested, Read, and Talk about it with your friends, family and colleague and promote World AIDS Day.

Fast facts:

  •    More than 2 million young people aged 10-19 are living with HIV.
  •    According to 2013 figures, an estimated 3.2 million children are affected by HIV.


How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV spreads from an infected person to another person through direct contact with some body fluids like blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, breast milk.

Transmission occurs through the following ways:

  • Sexual Contact: A sexual intercourse with someone infected with HIV. Chances of infection increase when one has multiple sex partners and unprotected sex.
  • Injection Drug Use: Sharing needles, syringes, rinse water, or other equipment used to prepare injection drugs with an HIV infected person.
  • Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding: From an HIV-infected mother to child.
  • Occupational exposure: Health care workers can get infected with an HIV-contaminated needle or other sharp objects.

HIV rarely gets transmitted through contaminated blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants, contact between broken skin, wounds, or mucous membranes.

HIV is not spread through saliva, tears, sweat, casual contact, like shaking hands, hugging or sharing dishes/drinking glasses, air, water, and insects, including mosquitoes or ticks.


Reduce the Risk of Exposure to HIV

1. Get examined: Get your partner and yourself tested for an HIV infection and before you plan for a sexual intercourse.

2. Use protection: Use a condom every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Learn to use the condoms correctly.

3. Limit the number of sexual partners: If you have more than one sexual partner, get tested for HIV regularly. Get yourself and your partners tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) since an STI can increase your risk of becoming infected with HIV.

4. Know about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): PrEP is an HIV prevention method that involves taking an HIV medicine every day. PrEP is intended for people who don’t have HIV but who are at high risk of sexually transmitted HIV infection. PrEP should always be combined with other prevention methods, including condom use.

5. Don’t inject drugs: In case you do, use only sterile drug injection equipment and water and never share your equipment with others. Also, screening of blood products can prevent transmission of HIV virus.

6. Get tested if you are planning a pregnancy: Get tested for HIV when you are thinking about a pregnancy or immediately after you find out you are pregnant. Taking antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy, labour, and delivery, having a C-section, and avoiding breastfeeding can reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to your baby if you are tested HIV-positive.

Did you know?

According to a study, mosquitoes can retain the AIDS virus in their bodies for two or three days after ingesting infected blood but they are incapable of transmitting this virus.

Prevention and early detection are the only steps to prevent death from an HIV infection.


  3. AIDS. GOV. ACCESSED NOV 27, 2015.