Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 17th 2015 Contents In rural India, a lifesaving device
may be hidden in plain sight. Hindu
women often wear bindis---small dots
on their foreheads between their eye-
brows---for religious purposes, to indi-
cate that they re married, or simply
as a fashion item.
Now an initiative called Life Saving
Dot is trying use bindis to deliver iodine,
an essential micronutrient, to women
who might not be getting enough.
Iodine is needed to make thyroid
hormones. Too little can problems, such
as depression, weight gain and cognitive
impairment. During pregnancy, iodine
is critical for brain development of the
In India, about 350 million people
are at risk for iodine deficiency because
they live in areas where crops are grown
in iodine-deprived soil. And about a
third of families don t have access to
So what if a bindi could somehow
give women the iodine they need?
That s the idea behind a new campaign
from the Neelvasant Medical Foundation
and Research Centre, a nonprofit based
in Nashik, India.
The organisation worked with the
creative ad agency Grey Group Singa-
pore to come up with a way to coat the
back of bindis with iodine. The hope
is that the iodine will absorb into a
woman s skin as she wears it, says Dr
Prachi Pawar, who s leading the project
at the nonprofit.
The group is still researching to see
how effective the bindis are at prevent-
ing iodine deficiency. If it works, it
would be a low-cost nutritional sup-
So far, the iodine-packed bindis have
reached more than 30,000 women in
roughly 100 villages that the Indian
government says are at high risk for
iodine deficiencies, Pawar says.
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Hindu women often wear bindis---
small dots on their foreheads between
their eyebrows---for religious
about 40 per
cent of the
daily amount of
potatoes are a
Iodine is vital to the proper func-
tioning of the thyroid gland, which
manages growth and metabolism.
An iodine deficiency can cause symp-
toms such as fatigue, high choles-
terol, lethargy and depression.
Iodine is often confused with salt,
but the two are very distinct. Salt is
a crystal, and is composed of two ele-
ments: sodium and chloride. Iodine,
on the other hand, is a mineral. Many
brands of salt are fortified with the
essential mineral iodine. Here are some
• Dried seaweed. For iodine defi-
ciency, dried seaweed is the go-to
remedy because of its incredible sup-
ply of this essential mineral. A quar-
ter-ounce serving contains 4,500
micrograms of iodine. That s way more
than enough iodine for the body to
absorb in a day (3,000 per cent of the
daily value, to be exact.) Consume
smaller portions over time in order
to gain the health benefits.
• Cod. A three-ounce serving size
of cod provides your body with 99
micrograms of iodine, or 66 per cent
of the recommended amount per day.
Cod is also a healthy source of protein,
calcium, magnesium, potassium, and
• Plain yogurt: A cup of plain
yogurt provides 58 per cent of the
daily recommended value of iodine.
• Baked potatoes. One medium
potato provides about 40 per cent of
the recommended daily amount of
iodine. Baked potatoes are a better
option than mashed potatoes. Most
of the important dietary staples, such
as fibre, vitamins, and potassium, are
contained in the skin.
• Milk. One cup of milk contains
an impressive 56 micrograms of iodine,
or about 37 per cent of what the aver-
age person must consume each day.
• Shrimp. Seafood is usually a
great source of iodine. A three-ounce
serving of shrimp provides 35 micro-
grams of iodine---just under a quarter
of the recommended amount each
• Himalayan crystal salt. Half a
gram of Himalayan crystal salt pro-
vides 250 micrograms of iodine---over
150 per cent of the amount the average
body needs each day.
• Dried prunes. Just five dried
prunes provide your body with essen-
tial fibre, boron, Vitamin A, Vitamin
K, as well as iodine.
• Canned tuna. Tuna that is
canned in oil usually contains more
iodine than when it s canned in water.
Three ounces of canned tuna provides
17 micrograms of iodine, or 11 per cent
of what the average person must con-
sume per day. Add more tuna to your
diet for more iodine, and you ll also
benefit from its high protein, Vitamin
D, and iron contents.
• Cheddar cheese: An ounce of
cheddar cheese provides 12 micro-
grams of iodine.
Iodine bindis tested in India
Foods for a
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