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5 Foods that Kickstart Your Thyroid

If you have hypothyroidism, an under-active thyroid, it can put a large damper on your life.  You may experience symptoms like fatigue, constipation, depression, or possibly even more severe health issues.  The thyroid is a very important gland in the body that is responsible for regulating mood, energy levels, metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure.  Hypothyroidism is the inability of the thyroid to produce enough of those hormones. There are foods that you can eat which will increase hormone production in the thyroid and below are just some of them. 

1. Fish

Fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, especially fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines, which can help boost your thyroid levels.  Unmanaged hypothyroidism can lead to heart disease and omega-3 helps to reduce the risk of developing heart disease.  Fish also contains significant amounts of selenium, which is mostly found in the thyroid.  If you are not a fan of eating fish, fish oil supplements are widely accessible and will still provide you with many of the same benefits that eating the fish would.

2. Nuts

Like fish, nuts are also a great source of selenium.  Brazil nuts are the most effective in helping your hypothyroidism.  Due to its high selenium content, these nuts are able to convert thyroxine (T4), which is the main hormone involved in the thyroid, into its active form of Triiodothyronin (T3).  It is also important to watch your portion sizes, only two or three brazil nuts or a handful of any other type of nuts will be sufficient enough for you to receive all of the great benefits, and eating too many nuts could cause you to gain weight as nuts are high in fat.   

3. Fresh fruits and vegetables

Getting fresh fruits and vegetables never hurts, but it is especially great for individuals with hypothyroidism.  Low-calorie fruits will not only help you lose weight, but they will also increase your thyroid production.  Certain foods like green peppers, cherries, berries, and sweet potatoes are all rich in antioxidants.  Antioxidants can prevent Hashimoto’s Disease, a disease in which your thyroid muscle is attacked by the immune system, causing the early stages of hypothyroidism.   

4. Sea vegetables

Sea vegetables contain large amounts of iodine, a very important chemical in thyroid production.  If you have insufficient levels of iodine it will inhibit the ability of the thyroid to function properly.  Seaweed is an example of a sea vegetable that would be beneficial to consume.  Seaweed can be used in sushi, salads, and soups.  Seaweed is a great source of iodine, but also contains calcium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K. If you do not wish to eat sushi, there are also iodine supplements available, however those supplements sometimes cause you to have too much iodine.  Talk to your physician if you wish to take iodine supplements.

5. Dairy

Dairy can be a useful combatant for hypothyroidism.  There is a link between Hashimoto’s Disease and vitamin D deficiency.  In addition to high vitamin D content, milk also contains great amounts of calcium, protein, and iodine.  A common symptom of Hashimoto’s is heartburn, and yogurt is a great way to reduce those symptoms.  Yogurt has good bacteria that is found naturally in the gut, and those good bacteria help get rid of the other bad gut bacteria.  Poor gut health can lead to Hashimoto’s disease and low thyroid leads to an inflamed and leaky gut.

Nutrients and herbs that can help with hypothyroidism

In addition to some of the foods listed above, there are also certain herbs and nutrients that help you with your thyroid levels.

1. Folic Acid

Folic Acid is an essential B vitamin that is also used for hypothyroidism.  Low folate intake has been linked with elevated homocysteine levels.  Homocysteine is an amino acid that is found in the body, and elevated levels can be a precursor to hypothyroidism.  Folate is found in many foods and is also available as a supplement.  

2. Iodine

Iodine is probably the most critical substance toward thyroid health.  Iodine enables the thyroid gland to produce hormones, T3 and T4, which are the two key hormones produced by the thyroid gland.  In order to get proper thyroid function, the body needs iodine.  Iodine is present in many foods and is also available as a supplement.

3. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has long been used for medicinal purposes, and it is very effective for hypothyroidism.  Research shows that extract from ashwagandha root can stimulate hormone production in the thyroid gland.  In addition it also gives you relief from hypothyroidism symptoms such as chronic fatigue and dry skin.