Whether you’ve been under thyroid hormone replacement therapy for a while, or you’ve just started treatment, improving your lifestyle will certainly help a lot to rebalance what’s out of sync.
Boosting your thyroid – the number-one organ that could be making you feel exhausted, over-the-hill and overweight, requires an integrative approach and it involves more than simply taking a thyroid pill.
“It requires nutritional support, exercise, stress reduction, supplements, reducing inflammation, and sometimes eliminating certain foods and detoxification from heavy metals (such as mercury and lead) and petrochemical toxins (such as pesticides and PCBs)“, says Dr Michael Ruscio, clinical researcher and expert in Natural Medicine.
Wake up your thyroid
While there’s no special régime that can help cure thyroid disorders completely, eating a well-balanced diet can definitely help maintain proper thyroid functioning, keep weight off, slow down the ageing process, regain energy, and improve your overall appearance.
To restart your thyroid, you should turn to iodized salt and selenium – recommends Mehmet Oz dubbed ‘America’s doctor’ by Oprah Winfrey-. Iodine is vital for healthy thyroid hormone production, and the essential mineral selenium may help decrease inflammation that can cause an underactive thyroid.
Today, many people use kosher salt or sea salt, but these salts do not contain iodine. “To help maintain healthy thyroid function, reach for traditional iodized table salt when seasoning food and fuel your body with selenium-rich foods such as brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, salmon, eggs, seaweed“, he adds.
For a thyroid metabolism boost, also it’s necessary to load up on foods that steady blood sugar, “especially high-quality protein, antioxidant-rich produce, healthy fats, and spices“, recommends Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, author of the New York Times Bestseller ‘Radical Metabolism’. “Then there’s this detox’s game-changer: bitter foods like watercress, arugula, cabbage, orange peel, grapefruit, lemon, ginger, and even coffee. All of these foods are proven to boost bile flow, which research now suggests is surprisingly beneficial to thyroid function“.
Keep stress at bay
Stress also affects your thyroid function negatively. Those who are experiencing intense stress might encounter higher levels of cortisol, higher inflammation levels, reduced testosterone, higher TSH, and very low T3 (triiodothyronine). Treating the thyroid without dealing with chronic stress won’t help your healing process.
A great way to keep it at bay is exercising: it stimulates thyroid gland secretion and increases tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormones throughout the body. Ideally, you will want to sweat, and the exercise should be vigorous: that will help you get rid of toxins.
“Besides being an excellent way to relax your muscles and your mind, saunas or steam baths are also a good way to flush your system of pesticides that could be contributing to your thyroid problem“, explains Dr Mark Heyman, a family physician and advocate in the field of Functional Medicine.
Take daily probiotics
The connection between gut health and thyroid health is backed by a significant amount of research, yet it’s often overlooked in clinical practice. Probiotics can not only promote the growth of good-for-you bacteria in the gut but also might improve your thyroid function.
Probiotics are vital as thyroid conditions have been linked to the leaky gut syndrome, where a protein like gluten can leak through the stomach and get in the bloodstream and cause inflammation throughout the body – says Clinical Nutritionist & Naturopath Dr Simoné Laubscher, the co-founder of Rejuv Wellness. Still, it can also cause inflammation of the thyroid gland. Probiotic-rich foods such as coconut or organic kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut are useful.
Bear in mind that thyroid hormone production, metabolism, and action change with ageing. In any case, always work with an experienced practitioner who can address individual nutrient needs for your thyroid and, if necessary, also your adrenal glands.