Hypothyroidism: Diet, Natural Treatments, and Tips
7 minute read
Hypothyroidism is a condition marked by an underactive thyroid gland. When this happens, the gland does not produce or release enough of the thyroid hormones essential for healthy body function.
Because your thyroid hormones play valuable roles in several systemic processes in your body, any disturbances can cause noticeable and serious health problems.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Your thyroid is a small but important gland. Because the thyroid produces hormones that act everywhere in the body, the health of your thyroid impacts the health of other organs.
Close to forty percent of the American population experiences some form of hypothyroidism, with older women being the most susceptible group. Those with autoimmune diseases like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are also at a higher risk for thyroid activity disruptions.
Effective treatment relies on identification of the problem. The signs to look for that could indicate a problem with your thyroid include:
♦ Chronic fatigue
♦ Dry skin
♦ Muscle weakness and tenderness
♦ Unexpected weight gain
♦ Increased sensitivity to cold
Understanding the potential causes can help you more effectively fight the condition. When you know you are at risk, you can reduce the risk or look ahead for the treatment options to reduce symptoms.
Causes of an underactive thyroid can vary from autoimmune diseases to reactions with medications.
Inflammatory disorders: Inflammatory conditions have been known to increase the risk for hypothyroidism.
Poor diet: Diets lacking in specific nutrients, like iodine and selenium, put your thyroid at risk for problems. Both of these minerals are essential for healthy thyroid function, specifically the production of hormones.
Leaky gut syndrome: When your gut bacteria are out of balance, inflammation, and harmful bacteria can takeover, causing digestive troubles. Damage to the gut lining allows particles to pass through triggering systemic inflammation in your body. As a result, your thyroid can become impaired as well.
Genetics: It is not very common, but there are some cases where genetics cause hypothyroidism. If a close family member has been diagnosed in the past, you may want to speak with your doctor to stay ahead of the condition and possibly prevent its development.
Lack of exercise: A stagnant lifestyle and lack of physical activity contribute to hypothyroidism. Exercise reduces production of stress hormones, which can interfere with thyroid function.
Getting exercise and better sleep have been linked to healthier thyroid function.
Diet and Natural Therapies for Hypothyroidism
Thankfully, hypothyroidism is not fatal, so long as it is identified and properly treated. You can naturally care for your thyroid with a hypothyroidism diet along with other home remedies.
The key to treating hypothyroidism is to eliminate inflammation and immune reactions that interfere with thyroid function. To support thyroid health and bring hormone balance and healing for your digestive tract there are foods to eliminate and foods to eat.
Wild-caught fish: With the high omega-3 fatty acid content, wild fish are essential for balancing hormones. By keeping your omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid ratio in balance, you can reduce inflammation that disrupts thyroid function.
Seaweed: High-quality seaweed is full of iodine, which prevents thyroid disruption. Iodine deficiencies contribute to thyroid problems so it is essential to keep your levels up. If you are on a low-salt diet, you should be mindful of getting enough iodine, since most Americans get enough from iodized salt.
Probiotic-foods: Fermented items like kefir, sauerkraut, and natural yogurt are full of probiotics that help support gut health. When your gut flora is balanced and healthy, inflammation is reduced, protecting your thyroid, prevents leaky gut syndrome, and supports optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.
High-fiber foods: When you have hypothyroidism, you may have slower digestion and digestive issues. A high-fiber diet promotes healthy digestion and keeps blood sugar levels balanced.
Fruits and vegetables: The vitamins and minerals along with powerful antioxidants in fresh produce promote thyroid health and protect it from oxidative damage by reducing inflammation. The most effective hypothyroidism diets will consist of large amounts of fruits and vegetables as a means of supporting digestion, healthy weight, and hormone balance.
Conventional dairy: Dairy products can be troublesome for thyroid health as they can trigger inflammatory reactions. To prevent problems you should choose goat milk or organic dairy instead.
Sugar: Excess sugar in the blood can affect hormone balance and metabolism. Since individuals with thyroid problems have trouble controlling their weight, it is important to maintain hormone balance where you can.
Reducing sugar intake is a natural way to avoid fatigue and metabolic disturbances associated with blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Natural Supplements for Hyperthyroidism
Changing your diet and watching what you eat will work wonders when it comes to reducing hypothyroidism symptoms. In addition to dietary changes, there are natural supplements you can also try to reduce symptoms and even eliminate the condition completely.
Selenium: Your thyroid contains more selenium than any other organ in your body and it is responsible for the production of important thyroid hormones. By taking selenium-containing supplements for liver health, you can protect thyroid function and prevent thyroid disturbances and inactivity.
Krill oil: The omega-3 content in krill oil supplements helps to maintain thyroid function. Deficiencies in these fatty acids have been linked to weakened immunity as well as depression and reduce thyroid function.
By maintaining healthy levels of omega-3s, you can promote thyroid activity and reduce hypothyroidism symptoms.
B vitamins: The B-vitamin family is important for thyroid health and hormone balance. Taking a B-complex supplement helps to reduce the chronic fatigue associated with hypothyroidism and also promotes hormone balance and activity.
Probiotics: Probiotics are thought mostly to help digestive health, but they can benefit your thyroid too. By regulating gut health and reducing systemic inflammation, your thyroid is protected from damage and you can prevent or reduce hypothyroid symptoms. You can get the benefits of probiotics from foods, like kimchi, or from probiotics supplements.
The Bottom Line
An underactive thyroid is nothing to fear but it is important to address it and start treatment right away. There is no cure, but you can live a healthy life by following a hypothyroidism diet as well as trying some other beneficial and natural remedies.
By eliminating foods that trigger symptoms and problems, you can support thyroid function and feel better. Trying the new diet will restore energy levels and a feel-good feeling so hypothyroidism doesn’t slow you down.