One of the fastest rising health conditions in the US is hypothyroidism. Some of the newest reports are estimating that 15-30% of the population may have thyroid problems. An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle provide natural solutions to boost thyroid function. The most common symptoms experienced are:
- weight gain
The thyroid gland is one of the most sensitive regions of the body to environmental toxins.
The most common environmental toxins affecting thyroid function include:
- Industrial Pollutants in Air and Water
- Ionizing Radiation from medical devices and microwaves
- Heavy Metals such as Mercury, Lead, and Aluminum
- Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and other chemicals in non-stick pans
- Fluoride in water, toothpaste, and many processed foods
- Inflammatory foods and food allergens
Creating A Non-Toxic Environment:
Whole house air and water purification devices should be used in home and work settings. Microwaves should not be used to avoid the potential effects of ionizing radiation and irradiated foods. Silver (mercury) filling removal is critically important and should only be done by a biologically certified dentist who is trained in safe amalgam filling removal. Provoked metal challenges can be used to assess heavy metal toxicities and oral chelation strategies can effectively remove these particles. All non-stick pans should be replaced with high quality ceramic, stainless steel, or cast iron cookware.
Certain foods must be avoided or prepared properly in order to minimize exposure to potential thyroid toxins. One of the major thyroid toxins is gluten. Gluten is a naturally occurring protein found in wheat, barley, rye, kamut and spelt. Nearly all processed foods contain gluten. Other foods such as oatmeal are often contaminated with gluten.
The gluten molecule closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. Individuals with dysbiosis, leaky gut syndrome and gluten intolerances are at risk for an auto-immune reaction to gluten that triggers inflammation into the thyroid gland.
Goitrogens are Problematic:
Goitrogens are naturally occurring anti-nutrients in certain foods that interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. Unfermented soy products contain a tremendous amount of goitrogens. The only process that has been shown to remove these thyroid toxic components is a deep fermentation cycle that produces products such as miso, tempeh, and natto. All other soy should be avoided. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale also contain goitrogens although in smaller quantities.
Cooking these vegetables has been shown to effectively remove goitrogenic compounds. Lightly steaming is the most effective way to consume cooked vegetables as it maintains a large quantity of the nutrients.
Anyone with a thyroid disorder or family history of thyroid problems should eat the majority of their cruciferous vegetables lightly steamed.
People with thyroid issues commonly have food sensitivities. All processed and man-made foods need to be avoided at all costs. Other common sensitivities include those of the nightshade family such as eggplant (aubergine), tomatoes and potatoes. Specific blood work and/or elimination diets can more accurately assess these intolerances.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet And Lifestyle:
An anti-inflammatory lifestyle is critical for full recovery from hypothyroidism. Anti-inflammatory foods help to modulate the immune system and give it a more accurate pair of eyes so as to not over-inflame when stimulated. To effectively de-inflame one must completely avoid man-made foods, sugars, and food allergens as listed above. This nutrition plan is rich in phytonutrient dense vegetables, healthy fat and clean protein sources.
- Non-starchy vegetables, herbs, and teas are great sources of anti-oxidants.
- Healthy fat sources include coconut products, avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and purified omega-3 fish oil supplements.
- Healthy protein includes wild-caught fish, grass-fed red meat and free range chicken, turkey, and eggs. Be careful to watch for any hidden food intolerances.
- Foods rich in bioavailable iodine such as various sea vegetables like dulse, kelp and nori are great for the thyroid.
- Sources of folate and B6 such as spirulina, green leafy veggies and goji berries are helpful.
- Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium which is a critical nutrient for thyroid hormone function
- Adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, ginseng and maca help to reduce stress on the body and improve thyroid function.
Good sources for thyroid support
Many women suffer symptoms of low thyroid and find when supplementing with bioidentical hormones that their symptoms decline. Bioidentical progesterone can safely be used alongside thyroid medication and helps support healthy thyroid function. Other support comes through the diet from sources such as B vitamins, goji berries, spirulina, iodine dulse, cranberries, kelp, brazil nuts and coconut oil for cooking.