Unfortunately its found in a very wide variety of places. In addition, dehydration can hinder proper thyroid function making eight glasses of good-old H20 an important part of any diet for hypothyroidism. The following are the most common: I read in depth about 15 so far. Clinical and diagnostic criteria [Abstract].
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The thyroid gland normally releases many crucial hormones that travel throughout the bloodstream and reach receptors that are found throughout the whole body, so a disturbance in thyroid function can cause widespread, noticeable health problems. According to some estimates, 40 percent of the population suffers with some form of low thyroid function.
Women, especially older women, are the most susceptible group for developing hypothyroidism. People who are elderly or who have other existing autoimmune diseases — like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease, for example — are also at a higher risk. Some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism? Changes to your metabolism, heart function, digestion, energy, appetite, sleep, mood — even the growth of your hair, skin and nails.
The first step in treatment of hypothyroidism is to eliminate the effects and causes of the thyroid dysfunction, such as inflammation, overuse of medications, nutrient deficiencies, and changes in hormones due to stress.
The hypothyroidism diet eliminates foods that can cause inflammation and immune reactions and instead focuses on foods that help heal the GI tract, balance hormones, and reduce inflammation. Before I discuss the natural treatment of hypothyroidism and a hypothyroidism diet, you first must understand both the potential causes of hypothyroidism as well as the symptoms. This occurs when the thyroid becomes inflamed and is considered to be an autoimmune disorder.
Why does this happen? The immune system mistakenly thinks that the thyroid cells are not a part of the body, so it tries to remove them before they can cause damage and illness. The problem is that this causes widespread inflammation, which can result in many different problems.
Poor diet especially one lacking in iodine and selenium. A diet low in nutrient-rich foods, especially in iodine and selenium which are trace minerals crucial for thyroid function , increases the risk for thyroid disorders.
The thyroid gland needs both selenium and iodine to produce adequate levels of thyroid hormones. And these nutrients also have other protective roles in the body; for example, severe selenium deficiency increases the incidence of thyroiditis because it stops activity of a very powerful antioxidant known as glutathione which normally controls inflammation and fights oxidative stress. In some people, since the pituitary gland makes a hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH that controls the levels of hormones being pumped out of the thyroid a problem with the pituitary gland can cause changes to thyroid function.
An unhealthy gut environment can contribute to nutrient deficiencies and raise autoimmune activity in the body. Gut inflammation can be triggered by food sensitivities or allergies, including those to gluten and dairy. Other causes of a damaged gut are high stress levels, toxin overload from diet and the environment, and bacterial imbalances. When leaky gut occurs, small particles that are normally trapped inside the gut start to leak out into the bloodstream through tiny openings in the gut lining, which creates an autoimmune cascade and a series of negative symptoms.
Some evidence shows that people are more likely to develop hypothyroidism if they have a close family member with an autoimmune disease. But according to the National Institute of Health NIH , the likelihood of genetic hypothyroidism is very low and only about one out of every 4, newborns is born with a thyroid disorder.
This condition is known as postpartum thyroiditis. Usually after giving birth the condition goes away with some time. Stress impacts hormones and is known to worsen inflammation. Stress can raise levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which disturbs neurotransmitter function and worsens symptoms of thyroid disease —these include low energy levels, poor mood, low concentration, disturbed appetite and weight gain, and the inability to get good sleep.
Exercise and a healthy diet are important for controlling chronic stress and managing hormone-related neurological function. Research shows that people who regularly exercise usually get better sleep, deal with stress better and usually maintain a healthier weight, too, all of which reduce some of the biggest risk factors and symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. The thyroid is considered a master gland and in addition to producing crucial hormones, it also helps control the process of turning nutrients from food into useable energy that your body runs on.
Because the thyroid plays such a major part in your metabolism, dysfunction can wind up affecting almost every part of the body, including your energy levels and ability to burn calories. Key hormones produced by the thyroid also help the liver break down cholesterol that circulates through the bloodstream. The thyroid can also stimulate enzymes that are needed to control triglyceride fat levels, so this is why changes in thyroid function can lead to heart problems.
Other noticeable effects of hypothyroidism include moodiness and a sluggish metabolism. Essentially when your thyroid is underactive your metabolism will slow down, which might mean you always feel tired or struggle to keep off weight. Your mood is especially susceptible to changes in hormone levels, so some people with hypothyroidism wind up dealing with depression, anxiety, trouble getting good sleep, and low immunity.
The thyroid gland helps regulate chemical messengers called neurotransmitters that control your emotions and nerve signaling, which is the reason an out-of-balance thyroid can mean drastic emotional changes at times.
Some of the most common warning signs of hypothyroidism include: Balancing the level of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in your hypothyroidism diet can reduce inflammation and support healthy neurological function. Wild fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines are some of the best sources of omega-3s to increase neurotransmitter activity and support a healthy mood and immune system. Coconut Oil — Provides medium-chain fatty acids in the form of caprylic acid, lauric acid and capric acid that support a healthy metabolism, increase energy and fight fatigue.
A staple of the hypothyroidism diet, coconut oil is easy to digest, nourishes the digestive system and has antimicrobial, antioxidant and antibacterial properties that suppress inflammation. Coconut oil helps improve immunity and can increase brain function, endurance and your mood while stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Seaweeds — Some of the best natural sources of iodine, these help prevent deficiencies which disturb thyroid function and should appear in your weekly hypothyroidism diet. Kelp, nori and dulse are the best choices. Look for dried varieties of these at health food stores and use them in soups, with tuna fish or in fish cakes.
Part of your hypothyroidism diet, probiotics help create a healthy gut environment by balancing microflora bacteria, which reduces leaky gut syndrome, nutrient deficiencies, inflammation and autoimmune reactions. Adequate levels of fats in your hypothyroidism diet support a healthy mood and brain function, while helping to lower inflammation. Eating plenty of healthy fats also stabilizes blood sugar levels and can help you stay at a healthy weight.
Clean Water — Water helps with hydration and digestive function while preventing fatigue and moodniess. For prevention of constipation, low energy and sugar cravings, drink at least eight ounces every two hours.
High-fiber foods — People with hypothyroidism may have digestive difficulties, so aim for 30—40 grams of fiber daily. In addition to a high-fiber diet helping with digestive health, it improves heart health, balances blood sugar levels and supports a healthy weight by making you feel fuller. Some easy ways to increase fiber intake include eating more fresh vegetables, berries, beans, lentils and seeds. Bone broth — Beef and chicken stock contain the amino acids l-proline and l-glycine, which can help repair the digestive lining and improve hypothyroidism.
Bone broth also contains numerous important minerals that nourish the digestive tract and prevent deficiencies like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and silicon. As part of your hypothyroidism diet, bone broth has been shown to help overcome food sensitivities, improve energy and fight fatigue, increase immunity, and lower pain of the muscles and joints.
And one reason this is such a big problem is that these fats have been touted for years for their beneficial properties while ignoring the research that clearly show the dangers. But when it comes to your thyroid, these fats suppress its function on just about every level.
First of all, they block the secretion of your thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland itself. Then they also block the transportation of the thyroid hormone within your bloodstream.
And lastly, they block your cells from properly utilizing the hormone once they get it. And the best hypothyroidism diet should exclude these fats at all costs. Saturated fats on the other hand carry a lot of unfounded negative criticism. Criticizers of saturated fats still continue to cite outdated and poorly executed research studies from more than 50 years ago while ignoring the enormous amount of research showing their benefits.
One of the major benefits of the saturated fats being part of your hypothyroidism diet is that they help to cancel out the negative effects of the toxic polyunsaturated fats. Elevated stress hormones are also one of the many hypothyroidism causes.
But you do have to be careful with many animal fats because they might not be quite what they seem on the outside. For example, all conventionally raised cattle are fattened with corn, soy, and other foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats.
And because of this, their body fat becomes very unsaturated in the process. This includes fats from grass fed and grass finished animals, butter, and coconut oil.
Fruit can actually be one of your best friends when it comes to your hypothyroidism diet. For starters, most fruit is very high in potassium which plays an important role in regulating your blood sugar. This helps to decrease the need of insulin which helps keeps your blood sugar more stable for longer periods of time. And by regulating your blood sugar, you automatically reduce your stress hormone response which, as I mentioned above, is a common problem with hypothyroidism. However, there are some fruits which are best avoided.
Avocados are a good example because of their high unsaturated fat content. So, the key is to focus you hypothyroidism diet on the right fruits and avoid those that are working against you.
There are a lot of myths out there regarding salt and sodium. Sodium is actually a very important nutrient that your body needs to carry out a multitude of functions. For example, sodium is necessary for properly regulating blood pressure. But it also has some other important functions in dealing with hypothyroidism. One of the more common hypothyroidism symptoms is edema.
And edema is a problem with your cells that causes them to take up more water. But when your cells take up water, they lose sodium which is then excreted and lost through your urine. And when your sodium level is low, it actually slows your metabolism and increases your stress hormones which can also lead to sleep problem. And elevated stress hormones end up making you even more hypothyroid. And because you get sodium from salt, it should make sense that salt is a necessary component of your hypothyroidism diet in order to help keep your stress hormones to a minimum and reverse hypothyroidism.
Bone broth is best known for being high in nutrients and very easy to digest. Living close to water definitely has its perks, especially when it comes to seafood. But shellfish in general are actually very beneficial to your thyroid and can play a crucial role in your hypothyroidism diet.
For starters, they are a good source of thyroid hormone which we rarely get in our standard meat based diet these days. So eating shellfish alone can help give your thyroid some much needed support. Another amazing benefit of shellfish is that they are naturally high in selenium.
And selenium is one of the key nutrients that are required to convert the inactive T4 to the active T3 thyroid hormone in your liver. And this causes a spike in your insulin levels which eventually leaves you with low blood sugar. And this creates yet another stress hormone response in order to raise your blood sugar levels back to normal. These chemicals are toxic and contribute to liver congestion which makes it even more difficult for your liver to convert the necessary thyroid hormones into their active form.
This is another one of the more controversial topics when it comes to your hypothyroid diet. Yes, raw veggies do contain more nutrients than cooked veggies. Because raw veggies are very difficult to digest, you actually extract fewer nutrients from them raw than you do from cooked veggies.
You also want to really cook your veggies well in order to help break down the fiber and make the nutrients as readily available as possible. Otherwise, the fiber can become food for bad gut bacteria which is problematic and also contributes to hypothyroidism. Most people are led to believe that they need 8 glasses of water a day or even more. Not only can keeping active help improve mood, boost energy levels and help to balance all hormonal systems, it can enhance the overall effectiveness of a hypothyroidism diet.
The must-haves in a hypothyroidism diet Whatever the precise hypothyroidism diet, be sure to include plenty of water. This is a time-tested tool for making the belly feel fuller, helping to stave of cravings and prevent unhealthy snacking. It also helps stimulate good digestive health, counteracting the constipation so many people experience with hypothyroidism. In addition, dehydration can hinder proper thyroid function making eight glasses of good-old H20 an important part of any diet for hypothyroidism.
Including lean protein with every meal will ensure enough of this macro-nutrient is always available to help shuttle essential iodine into the thyroid gland. Coconut oil is another great addition to any meal. This superfood provides a rich source of medium-chain fatty acids, a high-energy source that the body burns for fuel instead of storing as fat. Probiotics found as pills or as part of natural yogurts, can help to replenish the gut with a healthy supply of friendly bacteria.
These same agents are associated with keeping thyroid function in check, making fresh yogurt a great addition to any hypothyroidism diet. Get your produce cooked and your vitamins supplemented There are several goitrogens , the blockers of thyroid hormone production, that lose this characteristic when they are cooked.
This includes spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, peaches and peanuts, to name a few. While healthy, whole foods can be rich sources of essential vitamins and minerals, it may be worth including a daily vitamin supplement as part of a hypothyroidism diet.
Here are a few vitamins and minerals to include in a diet plan. While none of these foods in excess make for a sensible nutrition plan, they are especially troublesome for people battling hypothyroidism. Having trouble cutting out the sweets? Try having a piece of whole, fresh fruit in place of the usual processed sugar snacks. This whole-food substitute will still have a delicious, sweet flavor while containing a lot less sugar and a lot more thyroid-boosting vitamins.
Better still, fruit can also provide an added dose of fiber, a great tool to overcoming constipation.