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Goiters are not equivalent to hyperthyroidism. Goiter describes hyperplasia of the thyroid gland which most commonly due to problems with the immune system. However, the increase in size of the thyroid gland does not have any relationship with the amount of hormone to be secreted.

In the more underdeveloped countries, goiters could be caused by iodine deficiency, as patients may not be able to intake enough iodine from seafood to fulfill their body needs. This causes the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 in the blood to be lower than normal, prompting the pituitary glands to continuously secrete TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormones), stimulating growth of the thyroid glands.

Amazing Seaweed – Nutritious, Low in Calorie and Prevent Goiter

Seaweed, which grows in the ocean, has excellent source of minerals especially iodine that can possess powers to prevent goiter. Goiter refers to over-production of thyroid hormones, leading to enlargement of the thyroid glands. Iodine is essential to maintain proper functioning of thyroid glands, which helps to regulate body’s metabolism, growth, temperature, heart rates etc., and deficiency in iodine can lead to a disease called goiter. Large and thick neck resulted from goiter that affects nearby organs such as esophagus and trachea may lead to dysphagia and breathing difficulty, while stunted growth and mental retardation can be seen in children with goiter due to hypothyroidism.

Seaweed is categorized into three main groups, and they are red, green, and brown seaweeds. Brown seaweed has the highest iodine content, with dry kelp contains 1500-8000 ppm (parts per million), while red and green seaweeds have lower contents, about 100-300 ppm in dried seaweed, but still considered as high when compared to other land plants. Adults and children who are actively growing are recommended to have a daily intake of 150 µg and 90-120 µg iodine respectively, which is actually covered by very little amount of seaweed, as only one gram of dried brown seaweed can already provide 500-8,000 µg of iodine. Thus, just a tablespoon of seaweed is already enough for recommended daily intake.

In addition to iodine, seaweed is also an excellent source of calcium and iron, which is especially suitable for vegetarians who avoid dairy and meat products. Therefore, seaweed is highly recommended to be included in our diet. This can be done by sprinkling kelp flakes onto a salad or soup, wrapping rice or vegetables using nori sheets or having seaweeds snacks during tea time. Although iodine intake may be related to the situation of Goiter, other factors can also lead to Goiter. Thus, it is recommended to seek a doctor immediately for medical check when the problem of thyroid enlargement arises.

The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only. Please consult your physicians before considering treatment or for detailed medical advice.