Simple, Natural, Ways to Keep Your Thyroid Healthy
Mood swings got you feeling agitated?
Feeling tired most of the time?
Have unexplainable weight gain?
More and more people are facing these questions and wondering why. According to many nutritionists, a contributing factor could be a thyroid imbalance. We’re now learning that certain foods can play a role — a big role — in thyroid health. Nutrition greatly impacts just about every aspect of overall health, and the thyroid is no exception. The thyroid is a gland that heavily relies on proper dietary and lifestyle habits to function at its peak level.
If you find yourself dealing with energy, mood, or weight issues, then hyper or hypothyroidism may be the culprit. Thus, understanding how diet impacts thyroid health will be imperative to you feeling your best. The thyroid regulates a number of body functions, and even the slightest imbalance may cause different areas of your health to go haywire. From metabolism regulation to regulating breathing, body temperature and body weight, the health of your thyroid is a major factor.
You can show your thyroid some love by avoiding some of the foods that are notoriously bad for it, and implementing some important lifestyle habits to give your thyroid a boost.
4 Foods that are Notoriously Harmful your Thyroid
Goitrogens can be a big concern for someone who has thyroid health issues. Goitrogens are chemicals that are naturally found in certain foods like cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts) as well as corn, and sweet potatoes. In large quantities, they have the potential to interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid. However, this shouldn’t totally deter you from eating these nutrient-dense foods. Cooking foods that contain goitrogens can help deactivate some of the goitrogen content, so you can still reap the many benefits these vegetables bring to the table.
Soy can be harmful to those with thyroid issues, and especially those taking thyroid medication. Many people have issues consuming soy when taking levothyroxine as it may interfere with the absorption of the medication. Not only that, but soy may not be a good option for those who have borderline high TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) levels, as soy has been found to increase TSH and can even lead to hypothyroidism if your levels are near the high end to begin with. The bottom line is to be mindful of your soy intake if you have thyroid issues. And, definitely speak with your doctor about your soy intake if you are taking thyroid medication.
Gluten can be very harmful to the thyroid in those who have autoimmune thyroid disease. This has to do with the fact that the structure of the protein in gluten (gliadin) looks very similar to the thyroid gland. When consumed, if it gets past the barrier in the gut, the immune system targets it as an invader. When this happens, the antibodies produced may also attack the thyroid. So, if you have thyroid health issues, it’s best to completely eliminate gluten from your diet, especially because the immune system can react to gluten consumption for a whopping six months every time you eat it!
Even if you don’t plan to stay gluten-free long-term, it doesn’t hurt to eliminate it from your diet for a while just to see what your thyroid levels do. It could be a great experiment to stop eating gluten, and then have repeat labs to see if your thyroid hormone levels improve.
Fried & Fatty Foods
Processed and fatty foods aren’t good for anyone, and they should be avoided to help protect the health of the thyroid. Fried foods may interfere with the thyroid’s naturally ability to produce hormones. It’s best to avoid fried foods and stick to healthier fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut, and olive oil.
Lifestyle Tips to Help Balance Your Thyroid Health
In addition to avoiding some of the foods that are known to be harmful to the thyroid, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to help support better thyroid health balance as well.
Stress can cause your hormones to go haywire, and it can certainly affect your thyroid health. Strive to incorporate some form of stress management in your day to day life, even if you can only manage 10-minutes of stress reduction. Try moving your body through daily exercise, getting more sleep, and doing more of the things you love to do. Even just taking a few minutes to sit and breathe can make a difference.
Make Sleep a Priority
If you are dealing with thyroid health issues, then you may be dealing with fatigue. Make sleep a priority to help your body to rest and recover. Strive to get at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to help support better energy levels. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each night, even on weekends and refrain from looking at smart devices with the blue light too close to bedtime. Try shutting off electronics two hours before bed and dim the lights to begin the nighttime routine. If going to sleep is hard for you, nix the afternoon stimulants, including coffee, teas and anything with caffeine after 1 p.m.
Move Your Body More
Low thyroid function can lead to low energy levels and weight gain. Both of these things can be helped with regular physical activity. It’s not necessary to do anything too intense, especially to start. Low-impact, moderate exercise that helps you feel energized after a workout is the way to go. Things like brisk walking, yoga, and Pilates are ideal options. Go outside and walk in the park, at the beach and get some sunshine while you’re at it. Put on your favorite music and dance in front of the mirror. Whatever it is, have fun and do what brings you joy.
Consume More Anti-Inflammatory Foods
An anti-inflammatory diet is key to supporting better thyroid health. Load your plate up with lots of veggies (especially the dark leafy green kinds), healthy fats like those found in avocados, walnuts, chia and flax seeds, and olive oil), lean proteins like wild caught salmon, free range chicken and turkey, and pasture raised eggs, and complex carbohydrates like quinoa and sweet potatoes. Stay away from the foods that harm thyroid health, especially sugar. An ideal thyroid-boosting meal would include wild-caught salmon, a sweet potato with coconut oil, and two cups of sautéed kale with garlic.
Work with Your Doctor
Always work with your doctor to monitor your thyroid function and talk about the changes that you want to make. Your doctor can run lab tests to check your thyroid function regularly and to see if you are making improvements with your dietary and lifestyle changes.
Show Your Thyroid Some Love
Even if you don’t have thyroid health issues, making these important dietary and lifestyle changes to support better thyroid health also helps support overall health. So, make it a priority to watch out for (and eliminate) the foods that may harm your thyroid, and consume lots of anti-inflammatory nutrient-dense goodness every single time you sit down to eat.
The better you support your thyroid health, the better you will feel overall. So, make thyroid health a priority and better overall health will follow.