Hashimoto’s disease and other thyroid conditions are on the rise. But there are ways to boost thyroid health naturally.
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The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. Though it is small, the thyroid gland plays a huge role in the body. It secretes hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and metabolism.
An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, depression, and hair loss. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause anxiety, weight loss, rapid heartbeat, and tremor.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to support your thyroid health. In this article, we will cover 12 natural ways to boost your thyroid function.
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits in the front of the neck. Though small, the thyroid plays a big role in the function of many of your organs, including your heart, brain, liver, and skin. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism, energy, and growth. An imbalance in thyroid hormone levels can cause a number of health problems.
The most common problem is hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. This condition occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, and depression. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with synthetic thyroid hormones.
Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, is less common. This condition occurs when the thyroid gland produces too many hormones. Symptoms include weight loss, anxiety, irritability, tremors, and increased sweating. Hyperthyroidism may be treated with medications or surgery to remove part of the thyroid gland.
The Link Between Gut Health and Thyroid Function
There is a strong link between gut health and thyroid function. If you have a gut infection or inflammation, it can lead to problems with your thyroid. This is because the gut and thyroid are connected by the vagus nerve, which is responsible for communication between the two organs.
One way to boost thyroid health is to improve gut health. This can be done by eating probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, or taking a probiotic supplement. You can also eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, to keep your gut healthy.
In addition to improving gut health, there are several other ways to boost thyroid function naturally. These include eating iodine-rich foods, such as seafood and seaweed; avoiding goitrogens, which are substances that can interfere with thyroid function; and getting enough antioxidants from foods like berries and green tea.
Foods to Avoid with Hypothyroidism
The foods you eat can have a big impact on your thyroid health. Here are some foods to avoid if you have hypothyroidism.
Soy: Soy is a goitrogen, which means it can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone. Avoid soy foods such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame.
Gluten: People with hypothyroidism may be sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, avoid gluten to help your thyroid function properly.
Cruciferous vegetables: These vegetables — such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts — can interfere with thyroid hormone production. If you have an iodine deficiency, don’t eat too many cruciferous vegetables.
Dairy: Some people with hypothyroidism may be sensitive to cow’s milk or other dairy products. If you’re lactose intolerant or have a cow’s milk allergy, avoid dairy products to help your thyroid function properly.
Eggs: Raw eggs contain goitrogens that can interfere with thyroid hormone production. Avoid eating raw eggs or unpasteurized eggs to help your thyroid function properly.
Foods to Eat to Improve Thyroid Function
If you have hypothyroidism, your body does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and muscle weakness.
There are a number of things you can do to improve your thyroid function. One of the most important things is to eat the right foods.
Here are 10 foods that you should eat to boost your thyroid health:
1. Seafood: Seafood is an excellent source of iodine, which is necessary for proper thyroid function. Salmon, haddock, and shrimp are all good choices.
2. Eggs: Eggs are a good source of selenium, which is another nutrient necessary for proper thyroid function. They are also a good source of protein and healthy fats.
3. Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are a good source of zinc, another nutrient necessary for proper thyroid function. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all good choices.
4. Yogurt: Yogurt is a good source of iodine and also contains live bacteria that can improve gut health. Choose yogurt that is made with whole milk for the best results.
5. Berries: Berries are a good source of antioxidants and polyphenols, which can help to protect the thyroid gland from damage. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all good choices.
6. Exotic fruits: Exotic fruits like goji berries and acai berries are also excellent sources of antioxidants and polyphenols. These fruits can also help to improve energy levels and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Supplements for Thyroid Health
There are many natural supplements that can help support thyroid health. Some of the most popular and effective supplements include:
-Iodine: Iodine is a mineral that is essential for thyroid function. It helps the body produce thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism. Many people with hypothyroidism take iodine supplementation to help improve their symptoms.
-Selenium: Selenium is another mineral that is important for thyroid health. It helps to protect the thyroid gland from damage and helps with the production of thyroid hormones. Selenium deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition that causes hypothyroidism.
-Zinc: Zinc is important for many different aspects of health, including thyroid function. It helps with the production of thyroxine, a hormone that is essential for thyroid health. Zinc deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
-Tyrosine: Tyrosine is an amino acid that is necessary for the production of thyroxine. Tyrosine supplementation has been shown to improve symptoms in people with hypothyroidism.
-Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for many different aspects of health, including the immune system and bone health. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s disease, which can cause hypothyroidism. Many people with hypothyroidism take vitamin D supplementation to help improve their symptoms.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Thyroid Function
There are certain lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your thyroid function. These include:
* Getting enough sleep: Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Research shows that getting too little or too much sleep can contribute to low thyroid hormone levels.
* Reducing stress: Chronic stress can lead to adrenal fatigue, which can in turn lead to low thyroid hormone levels. To reduce stress, consider adding mindfulness meditation, yoga, or other relaxation techniques into your daily routine.
* Eating a balanced diet: Eating a diet that’s rich in whole foods, including plenty of vegetables and fruits, is important for overall health and can help improve thyroid function. In addition, avoiding processed foods, sugar, and gluten may also be beneficial.
* Avoiding toxins: Exposure to environmental toxins like mercury and other heavy metals can contribute to low thyroid hormone levels. To minimize your exposure to toxins, eat organic foods whenever possible and filter your water. You should also avoid using personal care products that contain toxic ingredients.
There are many natural ways to boost thyroid health. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and reducing stress are all important factors. Many people also find that supplements can be helpful in managing their thyroid condition. Talk to your doctor about what might work best for you.