Low Thyroid Function could be The Problem
Thyroid problems do affect both men and women, but research shows that women are much more affected, by nearly 80-90% over men.
You may have gone to your doctor because you feel like a frumpy, fatigued, and constipated version of yourself. Caffeine and sugar have become your go-to for energy. Dealing with thyroid issues can be confusing, and often your doctor does a thyroid test, called a TSH, and has told you that your thyroid is “just fine”, even though you know in your soul that something is wrong.
Thyroid issues are complex but there are some things you can do to help your thyroid work more efficiently, especially with food.
1. Cruciferous vegetables
Eat them raw, cooked, or juiced. You may have read that you should not eat them raw, but plant foods with the richest source of cancer-preventing phytonutrients are great to include in your thyroid support program. The controversy comes from the old-school thought that they might interfere with iodine, which is an important mineral for thyroid function. However, more recent research has shown that you would have to eat an enormous amount – far beyond “normal” consumption levels – of these healthy foods to interfere with iodine and thyroid function.
2. Brazil nuts
These are the richest dietary source of selenium, which is essential for thyroid health. Selenium helps convert the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) that is released by your thyroid gland to its active form, T3, for use in the body. It is also crucial for glutathione production, which is a primary antioxidant in the body. Research shows that 200mcg of selenium per day is optimal for conversion of T4 to T3. 6 Brazil nuts a day supplies 200mcg of selenium.
3. Sea vegetables
Sea vegetables are rich in iodine, which we covered briefly in #1. It is important because iodine is the backbone that builds your thyroxine (T4). If you do not have enough iodine, your thyroid gland can’t produce thyroid hormones and you’ll inhibit your thyroid function.
Seaweed is a popular and easy to eat food rich in iodine. Three popular seaweed varieties include kombu kelp, wakame and nori.
Try snacking on seaweed salad from your local sushi restaurant, nori dusted with sea salt; make nori wraps filled with avocado, wild salmon, sprouts and mâche; add hijiki to a kale and pumpkin seed salad; eat wakame or dulse to any low-carb soup. .
Did you know heavy metals could be messing with your thyroid? Mercury, lead, and aluminum can all inhibit thyroid function. Several research studies have shown that chlorophyll can bind with heavy metals and help excrete them from the body. Try drinking a shot of chlorophyll upon waking to help boost energy levels and support thyroid function. There are also chlorophyll tablets available.
5. Maca Root
Maca is a root traditionally used by indigenous Peruvian tribes for overall health. It is an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body find balance and in particular it helps to balance the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain that are like the admirals of the hormone fleet, sending messages downstream to regulate important hormone organs like the thyroid and adrenal glands. Maca also contains zinc, B vitamins, and iron, which are all required for optimal thyroid production. You can add this as a powder to smoothies or any other foods since it is a root so technically a “food”.
Just as there are foods that support thyroid functions, there are also foods that can interfere with thyroid function.
Gluten, a protein found in wheat, can wreak havoc on thyroid function. In many people it can cause the body to produce thyroid antibodies which then cause inflammation and attack your thyroid damaging it. This damaging attack creates the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Wheat is a high carb food so eliminating it is paramount not only for your thyroid but also for your insulin control.
2. Soy protein isolate
The concern with soy protein isolate is that it may be “estrogenic”, meaning it mimics estrogen in the body. It may interfere with the absorption of thyroid medications, if you are on them.
3. Artificial sweeteners
These chemical, non-caloric sweeteners (ie: aspartame, Splenda, Sweet-n-Low) can change the way our bodies regulate sugar levels. More importantly, they change the microflora of our gut’s and this can trigger autoimmune disorders such as Hashimotos Thyroiditis.
The “take home” message here is this – By eating clean and smart (low carb, whole foods including lots of cruciferous and green leafy vegetables), managing your stress levels, and avoiding environmental toxins you will support your overall health as well as the health of your thyroid. But, if you continue to experience symptoms, you should seek further help from a medical professional.
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