Your thyroid gland is relatively small and fits into your throat area, but it has an enormous effect on your entire body. It is often overlooked as a cause of common health problems, as well as unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
The gland is also very important to how our body creates energy and even helps regulate our sleep. However, with some lifestyle and diet changes, you can help our thyroid function more efficiently, and help you feel better overall. Here are seven thyroid boosters to try. If you suspect a problem, you should also consult your doctor to confirm you have thyroid issues…
According to the American Thyroid Association, iodine deficiency is a major cause of underproduction of the thyroid hormone. The association notes that your body does not create iodine on its own, so it’s important to ensure it becomes part of your diet.
The association suggests trying iodine-rich foods—including eggs, saltwater fish, shellfish, cheese, and even straight up table salt added to food. However, keep in mind that it’s probably not advisable to eat a spoonful of salt on its own.
According to the website, Women to Women, selenium could be an ally when it comes to treating thyroid problems. Selenium (in mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs, yogurt, couscous, and mushrooms) is an element that can help our thyroid better deal with stress, and work like a “detox”, according to the site.
The site notes that “selenium-based proteins help regulate hormone synthesis”—which in normal speak, means it can help control your metabolism and essentially how your body creates energy.
There are typically two major disorders with the thyroid—hypo and hyperthyroidism, which refer to the under and overproduction of thyroid hormones respectively. According to Thyroid UK, zinc deficiency in your diet can lead to both of these conditions.
Zinc is an essential mineral that is naturally found in foods—including cooked oysters, lean beef, pork, chicken, spinach, certain seeds, cashews, and, wait for it…chocolate! You can also purchase zinc supplements over the counter if chocolate doesn’t do it for you.
Magnesium is another essential element that helps our body perform certain key functions. However, experts say most Americans are deficient in magnesium, and that caffeine and sugar-rich foods can actually reduce magnesium in your system.
Magnesium is important in converting iodine into thyroid hormones (T4 and T3). That means not getting magnesium can lead to an underactive thyroid, which has symptoms including weight gain, general fatigue, dry skin, and even depression. While magnesium is available in supplements, also try spinach, sweet corn, avocado, shrimp, raisins, bananas, and broccoli.
Probably easier said than done, but assess any stressful situations that you can try to avoid if possible. Exercise also helps your body regulate stress naturally, so it’s good to get out for a brisk walk on your lunch break.
Natural News notes that stress creates the stress hormone cortisol, which prevents T3 hormones from getting into your body’s cells. The site also notes that blood tests may not reveal a lack of T3 in your cells, even if your blood count is okay.
While pure soy sauce is a source of iodine (which you already know can boost your thyroid), other online sources such as Natural Society recommend cutting out soy products for the benefit of your underactive thyroid.
Soy can have “hormone disrupting effects”, according to the site. Soy is apparently high in isoflavones, which can actually end up causing harm to your thyroid. Your thyroid should be able to normalize hormone production if you cut soy from your diet, added the website.
Coconut oil may help thyroid function, although there are conflicting reports about its effectiveness for this purpose. For example, Natural Society says coconut oil has long been used to threat underactive thyroids, due to the presence of fatty acids called MCTs that help regulate metabolism.
However, on the flipside of the coin, the Mayo Clinic solidly states that coconut oil as a cure for hypothyroidism is a myth, brought on by a popular book a number of years ago. The clinic treads the medical route—which is seeing your doctor to determine if you need thyroid hormone therapy.