The thyroid is involved in nearly every process in the body and greatly influences your overall health and quality of life. With thyroid conditions becoming more and more prevalent, knowing how to balance and support your thyroid has never been more relevant.
Here are five ways everyone can nurture their thyroid health.
1. Improve your gut health
We hear it all the time, the ancient wisdom of Hippocrates, all disease begins in the gut. Science is now finding this to be true. It makes sense, therefore, that healing begins with the gut too. Fill your body with high fibre fruits and vegetables, crowd out all processed foods and refined sugar, and add in some fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi. A colon cleanse will also help the body in so many ways, clearing out the plaque so that you can eliminate toxins and absorb more nutrients.
2. Consume foods that support the Thyroid
These include :
Dark leafy vegetables
Wild-caught fish, especially salmon
3. Maintain adequate iodine levels in the body
As always, getting your nutrients from food is the best way. Taking an iodine supplement is not necessary unless it is prescribed by a doctor. Getting your nutrients from food means you are unlikely to consume toxic amounts, and also when it is eaten in the whole food form with all the accompanying phytonutrients, it can be more bioavailable.
Sea vegetables and strawberries are great plant-based sources of iodine, and eggs and ocean fish for those who eat animal products.
4. Consume foods high in trace minerals that support the thyroid
Iron – An iron deficiency can lead to lower thyroid hormone production so it is essential to check your iron levels and maintain a healthy level of iron. If necessary take a supplement, but always check your levels first to make sure you do actually need it. Heme iron from animal sources is great, and if you are plant-based, consuming hemp seeds, leafy greens, legumes, dried fruits, seed, and grains with a good plant-based source of vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and capsicums.
Magnesium – Magnesium deficiency is related to goiter, and enlarged thyroid. Dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are all great sources of magnesium
Selenium – Selenium is required to convert T4 into T3. It also increases glutathione – an antioxidant that boosts the immune system and lowers thyroid antibodies. If you have digestive issues you are more likely to be deficient in selenium. The best food source is Brazil nuts. Just one or two daily is enough.
Vitamin D – This nutrient supports the immune system and memos to protect you from developing an autoimmune disease. The best way to get vitamin D is to make it yourself – your body is perfectly designed to do this when you expose your skin to the sun. Sensible daily sun exposure is the best thing you can do for your Vitamin D levels. If you do need to supplement, choose D3
Zinc – Zinc is required for maintaining adequate levels of thyroid hormones in the body. It can be found in kidney beans, spinach, and flax seeds.
5. Avoid environmental toxins
The thyroid is very sensitive to toxins. reducing the environmental toxins that are known to negatively impact the thyroid is important for all of us.
BPA and phthalates – found in plastics, directly impact thyroid hormone production and thyroid receptor function. They also contain xenoestrogens which cause estrogen dominance.
Dioxins – disrupt the hormone balance. Found in products that have been bleached, including sanitary items and toilet paper. 90% of the dioxins humans are exposed to come from meat, fish, and dairy
Flame retardants – found in upholstered furniture, some clothing, and some electronics- disrupts hormone balance, has an estrogenic effect
PCBs – Banned over 30 years ago but still found in Old buildings – change the structure of the thyroid, make it less responsive, decreases iodine levels
Perchlorate – blocks thyroid from uptaking iodine, can lead to hypothyroidism, found in rocket fuel, bleach, and fertilisers. Common pollutant of groundwater and drinking water
Radiation – damages DNA, leads to hypothyroidism in 20-30% of cases
Soy isoflavones – lots of conflicting evidence about whether soy is good or bad, but if you have thyroid issues it may be best avoided as it can block or overstimulate estrogen receptors and interfere with thyroid peridoxase production
Triclosan – disrupts thyroid hormones and estrogen, common in soap, dish soap, toothpaste, lotions, and creams
All of the above health hacks are safe for everyone who wants to maintain great health and support their thyroid, so why not throw out all those toxic chemicals and write a shopping list of delicious thyroid nurturing foods right now!