Your thyroid gland plays a significant role in your body’s metabolic process because it produces a number of hormones. If you are suffering from a thyroid problem, it is likely that you are experiencing a range of complications, from enlarged glands to weight gain to even cancer. A thyroid that is either over- or under-producing will give you problems.
For example, in hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid produces too much, people often experience inflammation, goiters and even cancer. In hypothyroidism, there are not enough hormones and you are likely having low energy.
If you have hypothyroidism, you are probably searching for foods that will encourage the thyroid to act the way it should. Try adding these to your daily diet to give your thyroid a much-needed boost:
1. Brazil Nuts
These nuts, which have high levels of selenium, are a great addition to your diet if you are suffering from hypothyroidism. Selenium helps to convert thyroxine into T3, which is its active form that will work to regulate your metabolism and keep a regular level of hormones in your tissue and blood. Selenium will also work to protect the gland through flushing out chemical stress.
Further, selenium will play a role in supporting the iodine in your body, another important aspect of healthy thyroid function. Experts suggest eating about three Brazil nuts every day. If you are not a fan of Brazil nuts, you can try a small handful of hazelnuts or macadamia nuts. Keep in mind that nuts are high in calories and fat, so be sure not to overdo it.
It is well-known that certain types of fish, like tuna, salmon and sardines, are high in omega-3s. What you may not know is that these fatty acids will help to combat heart disease, which is an unfortunate byproduct of unchecked hypothyroidism. Fish will also give you some of that selenium that your body needs.
3. Sea Vegetables
As noted above, iodine is an important nutrient to get when your thyroid is underperforming. Sea vegetables such as nori, dulse, hijiki and wakame are loaded with iodine, which is perhaps the most important substance when it comes to thyroid performance. Iodine gives the gland what it needs to actually create the hormones. You can find sea vegetables in most health food stores.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Significant research shows that cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower can boost the thyroid and possibly even prevent cancer. One study found that vegans were actually less likely to have hypothyroidism than omnivores. Some researchers point out that for people with low iodine levels, eating too many cruciferous vegetables could possibly have an adverse effect on the thyroid. The solution? Make sure you are getting enough iodine and eat your vegetables.
Rich in iron, spinach is an excellent way to boost your thyroid. When your body does not have enough iron, your thyroid suffers. Therefore, make sure you are adding spinach to your pizza, your salads and your soups.
6. Whole Grains
You may have experienced constipation as an unpleasant side effect of your hypothyroidism. When you increase your fiber intake, you can better regulate your bowels. Whole grains are a great source of fiber and an important addition to your diet as long as you do not consume them at the same time as any medication your might be on for your thyroid problems.
One of the leading factors that cause hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, is linked to a vitamin D deficiency. In addition to getting out in the sun for about 20 minutes a day, you can increase your intake of grass-fed dairy products to boost your vitamin D levels. Milk and butter from grass-fed cows are rich in vitamin D. You can also drink fortified milk, which is an excellent source of iodine, protein and calcium. Experts also suggest eating a cup of yogurt daily to help restore healthy bacteria in your gut.
Most people who have hypothyroidism report feeling tired. Beans, which are versatile and can be added to just about any meal, are wonderful for creating sustained energy in your body. The protein, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants in beans will boost your energy levels. What’s more, beans are loaded with minerals and vitamins to support your overall health.
Keep in mind that beans are high in fiber, and you want to be sure that your fiber intake will not interfere with any medications you are on. If you are ready to try beans, you can add them to your favorite soup or casserole or throw some on a salad. Black beans can make for an excellent side dish, or you can add some garbanzo beans to a stew.
What to Avoid
Experts note that if you are on a hormone supplement to boost your thyroid, you should avoid taking it at the same time as something with significant levels of dietary fiber. This is because fiber can actually prevent your body from absorbing the synthetic hormone. Certain other substances can have the same effect, which is why you should avoid these items when taking your medicine:
Iron supplements, including a multivitamin that has iron
Certain cholesterol and ulcer medications
It is fine to take these, but do it at another time. You should always consult with your physician regarding any medications and supplements you are taking to ensure that you are proceeding safely.
At PurMedica, we know that hypothyroidism creates a real struggle. We encourage patients to seek natural solutions to their health issues and enjoy helping people improve their overall well-being.