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Introduction

Your thyroid is the hidden hero of your body. This gland is vital for maintaining health and well-being. But what if your thyroid is not functioning optimally? How can you support your thyroid health naturally? In this blog post, we will explore thyroid friendly diet and 10 important lifestyle modifications for improving the function of your thyroid. By implementing these simple strategies, you can naturally optimize your thyroid function and improve your overall health.

The Thyroid: An Overview

The thyroid gland is located in the front of your neck, below your voice box. Thyroid hormones regulate various functions in your body. Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are the main thyroid hormones that play important roles in

• Metabolism
• Growth
• Development
• Energy production

T3 and T4 levels in the body are controlled by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Functional Medicine doctors target an optimal range for TSH of 0.5-2.5 mlU/L in most of their adult clients. This can vary widely based upon a person’s age, gender and stage of life.

Common thyroid problems and symptoms

Hypothyroidism

When the thyroid gland produces insufficient hormones, the condition is known as hypothyroidism. It leads to symptoms such as

• Weight gain
• Fatigue
• Depression
• Sensitivity to cold
• Hair loss
• Dry skin
• Slow heart rate
• Constipation
• Irregular periods

Hyperthyroidism

This condition is characterized by the overproduction of thyroid hormones. It results in symptoms like.

• Weight loss

• Nervousness

• Sweating

• Sensitivity to heat

• Diarrhea

• Fast heart rate

• Anxiety

• Tremors

• Irregular periods

Don’t ignore these symptoms and learn about how to effectively manage these symptoms and improve thyroid function naturally.

Boost your Thyroid through Healthy Diet:

A. Thyroid friendly Foods:

Certain foods can help maintain your thyroid health by supplying crucial nutrients like iodine and selenium. The production and function of thyroid hormone involve these nutrients.   The following foods are some of the greatest for your thyroid:

Seaweed:

Thyroid hormones’ main building block is iodine. Iodine is abundant in seaweed, but too much of it can be dangerous. So, limit your intake to one sushi or seaweed salad each week.

Yogurt:

Yogurt is a great food option that provides the body with Selenium and Iodine. Yogurt is a rich supplier of selenium and iodine. Selenium may aid in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the thyroid gland, especially among those with autoimmune thyroid disorders. A cup of plain yogurt fulfills 50% of daily iodine needs.

Brazil nuts:

One of the best sources of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contain more than half of your daily recommended intake in just one nut. Selenium aids in defending the thyroid gland from oxidative damage and inflammation.

Shellfish:

Seafood rich in iodine and selenium includes shellfish like lobster, shrimp, and scallops. Approximately 35% of your daily iodine needs can be satisfied by three ounces of shrimp.

Eggs:

Eggs are another source of iodine and selenium. One large egg gives 16% of daily iodine needs and 22% of daily selenium needs. Eggs also contain protein such as ovalbumin and lipovitellin. These proteins help transport thyroid hormones to your tissues.

B. Foods to Avoid if you have Thyroid Problem:

Reducing processed foods and refined sugars can lower inflammation and support overall health. For people with thyroid issues, managing goitrogens, found in cruciferous vegetables, through cooking techniques can minimize their impact. Keep yourself hydrated for optimal thyroid function.

Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in

• Wheat

• Barley

• Rye

• Some oats

When consuming these particular foods, people who are gluten sensitive could develop an immunological reaction. This can lead to thyroid gland inflammation and insufficient thyroid hormone uptake. Avoiding gluten is advised if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

Soy- Soy is a plant-based protein that contains phytoestrogens. These substances may affect thyroid hormone metabolism and also interfere with the absorption of medication for hypothyroidism. It is advisable to avoid eating soy-based products for at least 4 hours after taking thyroid medication.

Goitrogens are substances that can interfere with the thyroid gland’s normal functioning by obstructing the absorption of iodine.

Certain cruciferous vegetables contain them, such as…

• Cabbage

• Broccoli

• Kale

• Cauliflower

• Brussels sprouts

• Millet

• Cassava

• Peanuts

In case of hypothyroidism, limit the intake of goitrogenic foods. Cook them properly before eating to reduce their effects.

 

Functional Medicine Approach to Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

10 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Thyroid Function:

1. Manage your Stress: 

Stress can have a negative impact on the condition of your thyroid. Increased cortisol levels can impact how your body uses thyroid hormones. Stress can make Graves’ disease and other autoimmune thyroid illnesses worse.

You can manage your stress with these relaxation techniques such as

• Meditation

• Yoga

• Breathing exercises

• Massage

Seek professional help, if you have chronic or severe stress

2.  Get Enough Sleep: 

Enough sleep is crucial for maintaining optimal physical and mental health. The thyroid health is significantly influenced by it. Inadequate sleep can disrupt the circadian rhythm, which regulates the release of thyroid hormones.

Research has shown that insufficient sleep can increase levels of inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which can have negative effects on the thyroid gland. In order to improve the function of your thyroid, it is recommended to obtain a minimum of 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep per night.

It is recommended to refrain from consuming caffeine, alcohol, and using electronic devices prior to bedtime.

3. Exercise Regularly:

Activate your thyroid with the power of exercise. Exercise can help improve your thyroid function by

  • Stimulating blood circulation
  • Enhancing thyroid hormone metabolism
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Boosting your mood

Weight management is challenging for people with hypothyroidism. Exercise can also help to manage your weight effectively. Choose the exercise that suits your fitness level and goals. Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

4. Avoid Smoking: 

Smoking can have negative impact on your thyroid function including

• Increasing oxidative stress

• Inflammation

• Thyroid hormone resistance

Smoking can also reduce the absorption of iodine and selenium, which are essential for thyroid hormone production. So, breathe easy, shield your thyroid, and avoid smoking.

5. Say No to Alcohol: 

The conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3) is necessary for normal thyroid metabolism. This conversion of hormones might be hampered by alcohol. It is advisable to cut down alcohol, if you are suffering from thyroid disorder. Safeguard Your Thyroid and say NO to Alcohol.

6. Track your Thyroid Health:

Monitoring of thyroid hormones such as TSH, T4, and T3 is necessary for the management of thyroid disorders. Individuals with thyroid disorders should adhere to the guidelines provided by their healthcare provider. They will assist with routine monitoring and modifications to treatment plans. https://nutranourish.shop/pages/dutch-hormonal-test

7. Clean your Environment:

The thyroid gland can be negatively impacted by chemicals and pollutants present in the environment. Maintaining thyroid health necessitates restricting exposure to endocrine disruptors that are commonly found in

  • Plastics
  • Insecticides
  • Cosmetics

Utilizing natural and organic alternatives within the household is an additional method to mitigate the impact of environmental factors on the thyroid.

8. Balance your Hormones:

Thyroid hormones interact with other hormones in the body, and imbalances can affect thyroid function. Hormonal balance can be effectively maintained through

• Healthy lifestyle choices

• Stress management

• Addressing underlying hormonal issues

This balance can support optimal thyroid function.

9. Improve your Gut Health:

A healthy gut is a sign of healthy thyroid. The production of thyroid hormone requires a well-functioning gut microbiome. If you Consume gut-friendly foods, such as probiotics, it can enhance thyroid function and promote overall well-being.

-Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and help with

  • Digestion
  • Immunity
  • Hormone balance

According to some studies, probiotics can help improve thyroid function. They reduce inflammation in people who have hypothyroidism.

You can get probiotics from fermented foods such as

You can also take a high-quality probiotic with multiple strains and a high CFU count.

10. Take Thyroid Supporting Supplements:

A.Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is required for metabolic processes, including

• Synthesis of DNA

• Maintenance of nerve cells

Some people with hypothyroidism have low levels of vitamin B12. This deficiency can worsen hypothyroidism symptoms. Add foods in your diet that are rich in vitamin B12 like

• Meat

• Eggs

• Dairy

• Fish

B.Ashwagandha:

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb with a long history of use in ayurvedic medicine. It has been found to have significant potential for

  • Managing stress
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Modulating immune function

According to research, this potent herb has the potential to enhance thyroid hormone levels, which can be advantageous for people who suffer from hypothyroidism. Ashwagandha is available in different forms such as capsules, powders, and teas, which offer versatility in its intake. It is imperative to seek advice from a medical professional, particularly if you are expecting, nursing, or have any allergic reactions.

C.Bladderwrack:

Bladderwrack, a remarkable brown seaweed rich in iodine and other minerals is crucial for optimal thyroid health. This remarkable seaweed stimulates thyroid hormone production and metabolism, making it a valuable ally for those with hypothyroidism.

However, caution should be exercised as excessive intake of bladderwrack may lead to iodine toxicity or interfere with certain medications. Individuals with hyperthyroidism or autoimmune thyroid disease should steer clear of bladderwrack.

FAQs

1: Can diet alone cure thyroid disorders?

While a well-balanced diet plays a crucial role in supporting thyroid health, it is important to note that diet alone may not be sufficient to cure thyroid disorders. Thyroid problems often require medical intervention, and dietary changes should complement prescribed treatments under the guidance of healthcare professionals.

2: Is excessive iodine harmful to the body?

Indeed, too much iodine can have negative implications for the thyroid. Excessive iodine intake may disrupt thyroid hormone production. It is imperative to consult with a healthcare provider to determine your individual iodine requirements and adhere to established daily intake guidelines.

3: Can exercise worsen thyroid disorders?

Appropriate exercise can actually have positive effects on thyroid function. However, excessive exercise may exert stress on the body and potentially impact thyroid function. Striking a balance between workout intensity and recovery time is crucial. Consulting with a qualified medical practitioner will help identify an exercise routine that best suits your needs.

4: Are there specific diets or lifestyle changes for different types of thyroid disorders?

Although certain dietary and lifestyle recommendations overlap across various thyroid disorders, specific food alterations may be advised based on the particular type of thyroid disorder and individual circumstances. Collaborating closely with a thyroid healthcare expert is essential to develop a customized plan that addresses your unique needs.

5: How long does it take to see improvements in thyroid function with diet and lifestyle changes?

The timeframe for observing improvements in thyroid function through diet and lifestyle changes varies from person to person. Factors such as the severity of the thyroid disorder, consistency in implementing changes, and overall health status contribute to the timeline. Maintaining realistic expectations and regular communication with your healthcare professional will facilitate progress monitoring and necessary adjustments.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, taking control of your thyroid health through diet and lifestyle changes can yield remarkable improvements in your overall well-being. Remember, even small changes can have a significant impact. Start by incorporating one healthy habit at a time and gradually build upon your progress. By embracing a thyroid-friendly lifestyle and diet, you possess the power to enhance your energy levels, manage weight effectively, and pave the way for a healthier future. Empower yourself with knowledge and make choices that nourish your body and support optimal thyroid health. Your journey towards improved thyroid function begins today!

Dr Menka Gupta

IFMCP, MSc, MBBS

Dr. Menka Gupta, an IFM certified Functional Medicine Doctor, is now a member of IFM Certified Practitioners. IFM, the global leader in Functional Medicine, offers the gold standard IFM Certification Program (IFMCP).

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