Thyroid Malfunction/Disorder is one of the most common lifestyle diseases today. And yet, most people don’t even know that they may be suffering from it. That’s why it’s advisable to get your thyroid levels checked every 6 months.
This is especially true if:
- You are a female above 30 years of age
- Have a history of thyroid disorder in your family
- Feel exhausted most of the time
- Suffer from postpartum depression.
Thyroid hormones are extremely important as they help control the growth, repair and metabolism of the body. Metabolism is basically a process where our body converts whatever you eat into energy. Your metabolism affects your body temperature and the rate at which you burn calories. That’s why people with hypothyroidism often feel cold, fatigued and may gain weight easily. Foods alone won’t cure hypothyroidism. However, a combination of the right nutrients and medication can help restore thyroid function and minimize your symptoms.
Foods You Should Eat
If you are already suffering from hypothyroidism, then here are a few tips to make your life easier and improve your thyroid health.
- Coconut Butter / Oil
Coconut Oil can help with stabilizing thyroid function. This is because Coconut Butter / Oil contain fats that quickly convert into energy which in turns helps to supervise the thyroid function. The fatty acids contained in raw coconut oil/butter can improve your thyroid health.
- Copper and Iron Rich foods
These foods play an important role in maintaining and improving thyroid health. Copper and Iron are 2 powerhouses that can boost a lethargic thyroid.
Foods rich in Copper include:
Organ meats, sunflower seeds, crabs, oysters, cashew nuts, whole grains, cereals and cocoa products.
Foods rich in Iron include:
Green leafy vegetables (a good source of vitamin B required for hormone creation, Vitamins A, C and D, magnesium and are great antioxidants), shell fish, red meat and poultry. Some sources of Vitamin C also happen to be rich in iron such as potato, tomatoes, berries and citrus fruits.
Iodine rich foods are very important for thyroid health as they help produce thyroxin from the thyroid glands. Thyroxin helps to maintain our metabolism. Foods such as seaweed, fish, fish oils, eggs, artichokes and pineapples are a good source of iodine. (N.B.: Never take antiseptic or tropical iodine internally).
Selenium is a major factor in preventing and reversing thyroid disorders. It helps to keep the hormones produced by the thyroid glands healthy and active. It’s also a great antioxidant.
Selenium rich foods include:
Beef liver & kidney, shellfish, egg, garlic, mushrooms & Brazil nuts. Turkey meat is also supposed to help to improve the thyroid function besides being low in calories and rich in selenium.
However, please avoid taking a selenium supplement unless advised by your doctor as excess selenium may be toxic.
- Essential Fatty Acids
Omega 3 & Omega 6 fatty acids help the thyroid keep your metabolism revving smoothly like a fine-tuned machine. They are abundantly found in fish such as salmon and tuna, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, walnut, canola oil and sunflower seeds.
Zinc also helps the body to regulate TSH which is critical as it tells the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormones. Zinc is abundantly available in the foods like oysters and other shellfish, beef and chicken as well as in pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and spinach.
Foods You Should Avoid
Fortunately, there aren’t many foods that you have to avoid if you have hypothyroidism. Foods that contain goitrogens should be eaten in moderation and ideally should be cooked and not consumed raw. Avoid eating highly processed foods since they have empty calories and are not high in any nutritional value. This can be a problem for people suffering from hypothyroidism as they tend to gain weight easily.
However, the following food items should be completely avoided:
- All varieties of millets.
- Highly processed foods like pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, cakes, cookies, instant noodles etc.
- Supplements like Selenium and iodine unless prescribed by your doctor.
By adopting healthy eating habits and taking your medication, you can not only keep your thyroid imbalances in check but also eliminate them over time.
Be patient, adhere to some dietary precautions, get some form of exercise and go for regular checkups with your physician. With these simple steps, you can reclaim your health and well-being.
Author credits – Reshma Shekatkar Batra