Originally published in our Spring 2013 newsletter and on Kate’s blog
Dealing with thyroid dysfunction? The most common thyroid imbalance is hypothyroidism and symptoms can include: weight gain or difficulty losing weight, fatigue, poor memory, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, thinning hair, constipation, and thinning of eyebrows. Here are some simple steps you can take to support thyroid health.
1. Emphasize nutrition
Are you eating whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods that come from your kitchen and not a fast food restaurant? Remember that your thyroid gland needs many nutrients! Iodine, zinc, copper, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and tyrosine are just a few of the nutrients key for thyroid health.
2. Avoid the worst goitrogens
Have you heard of goitrogens? They are found in some foods and can impair thyroid function. My simple rule is to avoid high intake of soy and corn (you’d be surprised how pervasive and sneaky these are), avoid EXCESSIVE intake of other goitrogens, and to COOK goitrogenic foods to reduces their activity.
3. Eat less sugar
Besides the fact that sugar increases risk of chronic disease and makes humans foggy, fat, and fatigued, high sugar intake leads to high insulin, which causes thyroid hormones to be less available to do their job.
4. Reduce caffeine
Did you know that caffeine interferes with the activity of thyroid hormones? Take it easy on the caffeine and if you’re relying on it to get you through your day, your adrenal function probably needs some attention.
5. Just say not to drugs
I’m not talking about the drugs you think! Did you know that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (aka SSRIs, the most prescribed antidepressants) reduce thyroid hormones? People on these medications can feel WORSE because sluggish thyroid function can cause depression! There are natural options for mood, whether you are on medication or not.
6. Harmonize hormones
Especially estrogen! Excess estrogen (in women and men) can reduce the efficiency of thyroid hormones. Hormone balance can be supported through diet, lifestyle, and appropriate naturopathic support.
7. Stop smoking
Nicotine depresses thyroid hormones and is hard on your adrenal glands. So if you needed one more reason to quit this toxic habit, now is the time! Need help quitting? Explore all the natural treatment options available to you.
The thyroid gland is highly sensitive to toxins. You can’t always control your exposure, but you improve your body’s ability to handle this toxic onslaught through safe and healthy total body detox and improving function of key elimination organs.
9. Prioritize exercise
Not only is exercise the #1 best possible health habit, but it also helps thyroid hormones work better! Too tired to exercise? You can break that viscious cycle! Exercise increases energy and stamina, which makes it easier to do everything you need to do (including exercise!).
10. Decrease stress
The stress hormone cortisol decreases thyroid hormones and interferes with thyroid function. Healthy adrenal function and addressing chronic stress are cornerstones to a healthy thyroid.