Eat this not that! High protein! Low sugar! Less carbs!
No matter where you look.
Fads surrounding diet and nutrition are everywhere.
But have you really stopped to think past that slimmer waistline and thought about the connections between healthy bodily functions and diet?
For nearly 160 million people worldwide diagnosed with hypothyroidism, nutrition is key.
This medical condition is caused by underproduction of hormones within the thyroid gland. And the reasons for underproduction of hormones include:
- Inflammation of the thyroid gland which damages the cells of thyroid gland restricting production of enough hormones.(1)
- Medical treatments of a variety of thyroid conditions that damage the cells.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism can result in symptoms anywhere from depression and trouble concentrating to tiredness, weight gain, dry skin and hair, to a constant feeling of chill.
Thyroid disease is the most common in women and older generations, with common treatments ranging in intensity from daily hormone supplements to a more drastic surgery for cancerous thyroids. (2)
However, many of those diagnosed prefer to try at-home alternatives. These do-it-yourself options take a look at diet and nutrition in an attempt to regulate the thyroid function.
Here are 11 home remedies for hypothyroidism that can work for better thyroid function
1. Get your iodine level checked.
Iodine is the key ingredient needed to create the thyroid hormone and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.
The recommended dietary allowance for iodine is 150mcg for the average adult.(3)
Unfortunately, iodine is not a naturally occurring element in the human body, so the only way to introduce it into your system is through diet.
On the upside, testing for iodine deficiency is as easy as providing your doctor with a urine sample.(4)
Iodine deficiency is not common in the United States, Canada, and other developed nations because of the addition of iodine to salt.
It is incredibly important to monitor your iodine levels if you are using it as a regulator, as an excessive amount of iodine can lead to too much thyroid hormone production (hyperthyroidism), thyroiditis as well as thyroid papillary cancer.(5)
In a study by UNICEF, titled "Sustainable Elimination of Iodine Deficiency" in May 2008, it was stated that since 1990, thirty-four countries have since almost eliminated severe cases of iodine deficiency.(6)
Thanks to their efforts to ensure households around the world were consuming an adequate amount.
2. Eat foods rich in selenium.
It is a natural partner to iodine.
This essential trace element is an important element in the process of creating enough thyroid hormone.
And it has a concentration within the thyroid higher than in any other organ in the body.
It even helps boost your metabolism.(7)
Just like iodine, selenium is absorbed through the food you eat. It is commonly found in Brazil nuts, tuna, whole wheat bread, beef, pork, broccoli and eggs, among others.
Low levels of selenium are directly associated with a higher risk of thyroid disease, as proven in a study published by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 55mcg for the average adult.(8)
The risks of high selenium levels include hair loss, nausea and a variety of nervous system abnormalities. As always, be sure to monitor these levels carefully.
3. Start consuming ginger root.
Ginger has been valued for its medicinal properties for over 5,000 years.
It has also proven its effectiveness over a vast variety of conditions as well as aiding metabolism.
The antioxidant properties of the root have been found to be anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and even anti-cancer, though studies are still ongoing.(9)
It is available in multiple formats, from its original root to powder to tea.
Research continues to pursue the effects of ginger within the thyroid gland, but unless you respond with an allergic reaction such as a skin rash, the consumption of ginger does not have any negative health connotations.(10)
4. Avoid gluten.
Gluten, made up of proteins found in wheat, is a popular topic these days and has found itself in the middle of many nutritional debates.
In fact, large amounts of people who suffer from hyperthyroidism are also adversely affected with celiac disease, a disorder in which the body cannot process gluten, causing intense digestive issues.
While the nutritional value of gluten-free products is about the same as products containing gluten, there have been studies to show that cutting back your gluten intake will relieve symptoms of hypothyroidism.(11)
Gluten-free products are popping up more and more, so finding these options is easier than ever.
Experiment with this wheat-free diet and take notice of your energy level over time.
If you notice a positive change, this could be an excellent diet choice.
5. Start consuming healthy fat.
Fat has always been known as a taboo word in the world of diets as a reason for weight gain.
However, fat is a necessary nutrient for your optimum health and if you suffer from hypothyroidism, trading in healthy fat to your diet may work wonders in shedding those extra pounds.
Healthy fats include extra virgin olive oil, eggs, avocados, chia seed, fish oils, almonds, and even dark chocolate as long as it is at least 70%.
While no definitive studies exist, another healthy fat, coconut oil, is at the head of the class for regulating thyroid function.
This form of saturated fat raises body temperature and increases metabolism and weight loss.(12)
6. Improve your mood.
Those inflicted with an underproductive thyroid often report feelings of depression.
In fact, it has been found that many people who think they suffer from depression, are actually feeling the effects of hypothyroidism.
In a study conducted by the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression, a combination of thyroid hormone and antidepressant medication improved symptoms in 25% of those treated.(13)
If you are not keen on the medication route, some natural, easy mood-boosters are at your fingertips.
Exercise is one of the greatest mood enhancers of all time.
Whether it is a walk around the block, an afternoon hike, or a hefty sweat session at the gym after work. Your body was made to move!
Helping your body become a well-oiled machine will boost all of its functions and is proven to release those feel-good endorphins.
In turn, be sure to always get a good night's sleep. It is a wonder what a little extra rest can do.
Here is a study that proves aerobic exercise positively affects thyroid hormones. (14)
7. Eat fiber rich foods.
Many of the foods you consume on a regular basis contain fiber, the indigestible part of a plant that aids in digestion by absorbing excess water as it travels through your digestive system.
It is recommended that you consume between 25g to 35g of fiber per day, varying the sources from grains and legumes to fruits and vegetables.
Anything above or below the recommended range warns that we should look into it.
But, if you look at the mean dietary fiber intake of the U.S. population, you would be amazed because they are getting it lesser than they need.(15)
If you are taking thyroid medication, use caution and read nutrition labels to make sure you are staying within a healthy range.
A diet containing too much dietary fiber can have a negative effect on the absorption of the synthetic hormones.(16)
8. Eat foods rich in Vitamin C.
In a study shared by the Endocrine Society, it was proved that vitamin C played a direct role in improving thyroid abnormalities in thirty-one patients.(17)
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, found in its highest concentration within the adrenal glands.
The secretion of vitamin C is a step within the body's stress response and helps protect against diseases.
The RDA of vitamin C varies from age to age and gender to gender.The daily recommended dose for the vitamin C is 75mg for women and 90mg for men.
And if we consider teens (14+age), it is 75 mg and 65 mg respectively for boys and girls.
As in many cases with supplementation, too much vitamin C can cause adverse effects, including hyperthyroidism where the thyroid produces too much hormone.(18)
9. Eat more fresh vegetables.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can be reduced by adding antioxidant-rich vegetables to your diet.
These include squash, bell peppers, beets, and onions.
Many diets will tell you to focus on the green vegetables, but many greens such as broccoli, kale, spinach, and brussels sprouts, can interfere with thyroid function.(19)
Once you have found your favorite antioxidant veggies, think about growing your own garden and use the process to boost your mood as well!
10. Don't smoke.
It is a well-known fact that smoking is detrimental to health and causes a number of medical issues including many types of cancers.
Smoking has been shown to interfere with the production of thyroid hormone, creating worsening effects of hypothyroidism.
Not only does it reduce hormone levels, it also has negative side effects on thyroid pathology, leading to the formation of a goiter and to thyroid cancer.(20)
One of the greatest actions you can take for not only your thyroid but for your entire body is to quit smoking.
11. Use cod liver oil.
Cod liver oil is a specific example of a healthy fat.
This healthy fat belongs to the category of omega-3 fatty acids. Along with this, it has also anti-inflammatory properties as well as vitamin D and vitamin A.
Vitamin A itself is essential for healthy thyroid function.
Even taken once a day, cod liver oil helps an under-active thyroid convert beta-carotene in food to vitamin A.
Cod liver oil is often suggested as relief for inflammation and has also been known to ease depression, potentially caused by hypothyroidism.
In many instances, your body needs a holistic solution to a medical symptom after being bombarded with medications after medications.
Eleven natural remedy options to ease hypothyroidism symptoms will surely keep you busy.
As always, keep track and monitor your health. If you notice any negative responses, consult your doctor immediately.
Keep in mind that changes within the body take time and results will not occur overnight.
Move through these suggestions slowly and mindfully with the goal of a healthy thyroid in sight. Your body will thank you.
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