As you may have learned from our previous articles, thyroid conditions are a very common endocrine disorder.
In the U.S, over 12% of Americans will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime with an estimated 60% of those who live with thyroid issues being unaware of their condition.
Today, it is far more common to try both conventional and a more holistic treatment.
We want to answer the question; "Could Food Be A Natural Thyroid Treatment?"
LetsGetChecked talk you through the foods and nutrients that are said to help improve or maintain your thyroid issues.
There are many articles out there that report that there are "miracle foods for healing your thyroid", it is important to be wary of sources that promote quick-fix methods or the "ultimate cure".
The way to approach this is, instead of thinking that seeds will solve your thyroid or fruit will fuel your feel-good, look at your overall healthy habits as a balancing act. Eating well, getting an adequate amount of rest, exercising and following the guidelines set out by your practitioner should be the best ingredients to ensure that you are optimizing your health.
- Thyroid Hormones: What Does What?
- Emily Kyle Shares Her Recipes
- Could Certain Every Day Ingredients Be A Natural Thyroid Treatment?
- At Home Thyroid Testing Explained
- What Are The Symptoms Associated With Thyroid Issues?
- Should You Get You Tested For Thyroid Issues?
Thyroid Hormones: What Does What?
There is so much information online about your thyroid gland and what your hormones do. In order to understand how each food is said to help your thyroid function, we should recap on what the most important hormones do.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH):
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is made in the pituitary gland. TSH stimulates thyroid hormone production in the thyroid gland. TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine and triidothyronine.
Thyroxine (T4) is made in the thyroid gland. T4 is the main hormone secreted into the bloodstream by the thyroid gland. Thryroxine is the inactive form of the essential thyroid hormones that control all cell functions, most notably your metabolism, heart rate, digestive system, brain development, bone strength and muscular function.
20% of Triiodothyronine (T3) is made in the thyroid gland, while 80% is produced in the liver and kidneys. Deiodinases is a process which describes the conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine. T3 is more potent than T4, however a measure of your T4 volume offers a more comprehensive view of how your thyroid gland is likely to be functioning as T3 is produced through a supply of T4.
Emily Kyle Shares Her Recipes
In the majority of cases, chronic illness management can be linked back to what we are putting in our bodies. The inclusion of certain foods in your diet will not cure your thyroid condition, however, alongside other positive lifestyle changes and medication there are a number of nutrients that can radically help to balance your thyroid hormones and improve your symptoms.
Emily Kyle is an award-winning, nationally recognized media dietitian, nutrition spokesperson, and published author. She is the owner of the nutrition communications and consulting company Emily Kyle Nutrition located in Rochester, NY.
On her blog and social media channels, Emily shares useful resources, nutrition articles, delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory recipes, as well as her love for backyard gardening and modern homesteading inside The Millennial Garden.
Emily Kyle Nutrition provides private practice serving individuals in-person in Rochester, NY and virtually around the country specializing in MRT Food Sensitivity Testing and Medical Nutrition Therapy for autoimmune conditions.
Her first book, The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook: 125 Healing Recipes for Hypothyroidism & Hashimoto’s was released in December 2018. As a writer, speaker, author and media personality, Emily loves to share her nutrition knowledge with the public. You can catch her live every Monday morning on Good Day Rochester sharing her love for cooking delicious, healthy food. Outside of work, you can find her caring for her garden, flock of chickens, and young son Ransom.
Emily, who recently wrote and published the 30 Minute Thyroid Cookbook says she was inspired to focus on a career in nutrition and wellness because of her own health experiences.
"I experienced my own health issues that couldn’t be solved with conventional medicine so I was inspired by my own journey, when I opted for holistic health, I took on a big diet change that involves a lot of supplements and changing my personal care products and managing my stress."
Emily says that when it comes to guiding her own clients in better managing their health through nutrition, she wants them to do what they can and to fight the urge to change everything at once.
"I always try to ensure that people do not have additional stress by changing things too fast we need to take baby steps instead of going from 0 to 60"
When it comes to food sensitivities that may be driven by thyroid conditions, Emily says "I think it’s more people than are recognized, a lot of people struggle with feeling bad and they don’t know why."
Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid is more common than hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid. Today, approximetly 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid condition, with men being 5-8 times more likely to suffer from a thyroid condition.
In this article, Emily Kyle shares some of her best recipes for combatting the most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid; 1. Fatigue 2. Weightgain and 3. Sensitivity to the cold.
1. For Fatigue: Berry Bliss Smoothie
2. For Weightgain: Autumn Harvest Power Bowl
3. For Sensitivity To The Cold: Asian Chicken Soup
Could food be a natural thyroid treatment? The only real way to find out is to experiment, under the guidance of a certified physician. What is for certain is Emily's recipes are delicious. If you want to find out more about her book, visit Emily's book which is available to purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Could Certain Every Day Ingredients Be A Natural Thyroid Treatment?
LetsGetChecked do the research so you don't have to in looking at some everyday ingredients and how their nutritional value could not just improve your thyroid health but your overall wellbeing.
Nuts, particularly Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium. Selenium is an essential mineral for the overall physiological function, playing a crucial role in the regulation of your metabolism, maintaining DNA production and developing the immune system. The function of your thyroid gland is influenced by selenium in a number of ways.
Selenium is responsible for stimulating the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to the active form of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3).In a 2015 study, a sample group with low baseline T3 levels and were selenium deficiency were asked to consume 1 Brazil nut each day for three months, it was found that selenium supplementation was associated with an increase in active thyroid hormone, thyroxine 3 (T3), and a better overall balancing of the hormones.
Why Should You Eat Nuts Anyway?
Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats as eaten as part of a balanced diet. Nuts contain unsaturated fats which can promote the production of high-density lipoproteins, also known as good cholesterol. Nuts provide essential proteins to support and maintain muscle growth and maintenance.
Beans, particularly chickpeas and soybeans
In a study using albino rats, it was found that supplementing the rat’s diet with varying levels of soy protein had a limited effect on their thyroid serum levels. However, it is recommended that individuals who experience iodine deficiency, which is a large driver of thyroid issues should integrate soybeans into their diet. Additionally, chickpeas are rich in zinc which like selenium are required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Zinc deficiency is linked to hypothyroidism so chickpeas are a beneficial addition to your diet.
Non-artificial bean sources are viewed as healthy source of protein, whether you are supplementing your diet, or as a meat replacement if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is interesting then to know that beans, particularly soy beans and chickpeas can relieve constipation and inflammation as associated with an underactive thyroid, as well as balancing your overall hormones as they contain isoflavones. Isoflavones are a class of phytoestrogens or dietary estrogens that are found organically in plants. Estrogen is a female hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle but studies have also shown that these phytoestrogens can balance thyroid hormones. As the old saying goes, it is important to take everything on in your diet with moderation. In a recent article, we discussed Estrogen Dominance, which phytoestrogens can contribute to.
Why Should You Eat Beans Anyway?
Beans are a great source of fiber and protein. Eating beans as part of a balanced diet can ensure that you are consuming a sufficient amount of protein without needing to rely on animal proteins. In a market that is becoming saturated with artificial forms of protein. It is good to know that there are still natural sources if you look for them. Eating beans supports your digestive system, fights constipation and reduces inflammation. Beans are also rich in B vitamins, offer slow release energy, reduce blood sugar and promote the production of HDL, also known as “good cholesterol” which carries excess lipids to the liver for processing.
Seafood, particularly in shellfish and seaweed
Seafood and seaweed are rich in selenium, iron and iodine. These minerals are essential in supporting thyroid health.
Selenium (Se) as described above transforms the inactive form of thyroid hormone T4 into the active form T3. Through this activation, selenium regulates the concentration of the active form of thyroid hormones.
Iron uses iodine and thyroid peroxidase to generate thyroglobulin. Thyroglobulin is a protein that is present in the thyroid gland and is necessary for thyroid hormones to be synthesized. Those who experience iron deficiency may experience slowed chemical reactions that utilize thyroid peroxidase by 30-50%.
Iodine is essential for regulated thyroid function. Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body that utilize iodine. Iodine is absorbed from food and converted into both variations of thyroid hormone, T3 and T4. Iodine deficiency may result in thyroid gland inflammation, which is known as a goiter. Seaweed is particularly rich in iodine. Next time you order sushi, look out for kelp, kombu and wakame.
Why Should You Eat Seafood Anyway?
Seafood is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. The list of benefits associated with omega 3 is infinite. Omega-3 contains fatty acids that are essential for controlling cholesterol, ultimately reducing your risk of suffering from heart disease. Omega 3 intake is also said to be beneficial for combating arthritis, depression, dementia, ADHD, asthma and the healthy development of a fetus in the womb.
Fruit, particularly apples
Some articles claim that eating fruit that contains pectin will stimulate a detoxification process in the body, particularly the excretion of metals in the body by 74%. Apples, eaten with the skin on are said to detoxify mercury from the body. Mercury in the blood is said to negatively impact thyroid hormones. There is no concrete study that supports that eating fruit will work wonders on your thyroid however fruit is a superfood if you are suffering from an under or overactive thyroid. Often those who have thyroid issues will experience a slow down or speed up of their metabolism. In the case of an underactive thyroid, fruit is a healthy component to include in your diet to aid digestive issues, water retention and bloating that is often associated with hypothyroidism.
Why Should You Eat Fruit Anyway?
There is an infinite number of reasons why you should incorporate five servings of fruit into your diet. Headliners include fiber and water content, alongside the huge number of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants they can provide to the body on go. Fruit is often known as nature's fast food. Fruit and vegetables are as natural as it gets when it comes to following a balanced and healthy diet.
Seeds, particularly pumpkin seeds
Seeds, particularly pumpkin seeds are packed with magnesium. Magnesium promotes the production of T4 in the thyroid gland. Iodine is important in ensuring that the thyroid gland does not become inflamed, magnesium is equally important in preventing thyroid inflammation, also known as a goiter. Seeds are packed with magnesium, particularly pumpkin seeds. Without magnesium, enzymes located in the thyroid gland would not be able to function correctly.
Why Should You Eat Seeds Anyway?
Seeds can help control cholesterol levels, reduce high blood pressure and blood sugar. Seeds are a great source of fiber on the go and can be easily added to cereals, smoothies and salads, aiding in digestive issues associated with thyroid issues whether you suffer from an under or overactive thyroid. Pumpkin seeds are packed with magnesium
At Home Thyroid Testing Explained
What Are The Symptoms Associated With Thyroid Issues?
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism? (An Underactive Thyroid)
- Unexplained weight gain and poor appetite
- Constipation, or a slow down in bowel movements
- Feeling cold all of the time or an increased sensitivity to the cold
- Poor concentration, memory and brain fog
- Neck swelling, dry and/or itchy throat and a hoarse voice
- Muscle or joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
- Worsened PMS, irregular periods, infertility and low sex drive.
- Increased occurence of mood swings, low mood or depression
- Hair loss, balding or thinning of the hair
- Dry skin
- Poor hearing
- Chronic fatigue
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism? (An Overactive Thyroid)
- Chronic fatigue despite getting adequate sleep
- Unexplained weight loss
- Excessive sweating or heightened sensitivity to heat
- Increased bowel movements
- Shaking or tremors
- Anxiety, lack of focus or brain fog
- Inability to relax
- Irregular and light periods
Should You Get Tested For Thyroid Issues?
You should take a thyroid test if:
- You have a family history of thyroid conditions.
- You have inexplicably gained or lost weight
- You feel tired and/or cold all of the time
- You are experiencing slow-moving bowel movements, bloating and/or intestinal discomfort
- You are experiencing goiter, hashimoto's disease, or Graves disease
- Your sex drive has significantly reduced
- You have unexplained muscular stiffness and joint pain
- You are developing a dry mouth, throat or hoarse voice
- You are experiencing swelling in the neck
- You feel depressed, anxious or are experiencing mood-swings on a regular basis
- You have issues with hearing
- You are experiencing unexplained balding, thinning of the hair or hair loss
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley