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A Good Thyroid Diet to support Thyroid Health

Updated on August 28, 2015

Located in your neck below the thyroids cartilage, thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine gland in the body. Via the production of thyroid hormones, thyroid gland is responsible for making protein, how the body uses energy and how the body reacts to other hormones. There are three hormones responsible for producing, storing and releasing thyroid hormones namely, thyroxin or T4,triiodothyronine or T3 and calcitonin. These hormones regulate body’s sensitivity and influence the metabolic rate, mood and body temperature. Furthermore, calcitronin also has a role in producing calcium homeostasis. In a nut shell, it is an important gland and should work properly to maintain a good health.

Disorders from Thyroid Gland

There are several disorders that occur from thyroid gland, this is why you need to understand your thyroid. The disorders caused by thyroid are hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer and thyroiditis.

  • Hyperthyroidism: Also called overactive thyroid in which thyroid gland produces too much of T3 and T4 hormones. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Grave’s disease. As it is asymptomatic, but if symptoms arise they are heart racing, weight loss, fatigue, memory loss, intolerance to heat, heart racing, muscular weakness, frequent bowel, vomiting, hand tremors, difficulty sleeping, brittle hair, anxiety, etc.
  • Hypothyroidsim:Also called underactive thyroid that happens due to the failure of the thyroid gland to produce enough thyroid hormone. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are poor ability to tolerate cold, weight gain and tiredness. However, the main cause of this disorder is iodine deficiency.

How to know if Thyroid Gland is not working properly ?

According to American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, 300 million people are affected worldwide in which half of them are undiagnosed. If a person is suffering from a combination of symptoms then one should check the thyroid hormone levels (especially T3, T4 and TSH). Some of the symptoms are listed below:

  • Altered appetite or taste buds
  • Unpredictable bowels
  • Exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Dry skin
  • High blood pressure
  • Fuzzy brain feeling
  • Anxiety
  • Hair loss
  • High cholesterol
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Painful extremities or muscles
  • Difference in menstrual flow or cycle
  • Temperature regulation is off
  • Thinning hair
  • Fluttery or jittery feeling
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Altered sleep schedule
  • Harsh voice
  • Weird feeling or anxiety on the front of neck

Foods that damage the function of Thyroid Gland

A substance in food called goitrogens can damage the function of thyroid gland. It is named after the ‘goiter’ that is an enlarged thyroid gland. In order to support the health of the thyroid gland one has to adjust what he/she eats. Foods that are high in goitrogens are called cruciferous foods however; other foods can be high as well. Some of the foods that have a large amount goitrogens are broccoli, kale, turnips, mustard and mustard greens, bok choy, cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage, rutabagas, soy and radishes. Some foods that have smaller amounts of goitrogens are spinach, bamboo shoots, pears, strawberries, sweet potatoes, millet, radishes, peaches, pine nuts, wheat and other grains that contain gluten.

What are the other causes of Goiter?

One of the most common causes of goiter is due to the iodine deficiency especially in the country that doesn’t use iodized salt worldwide. The U.S. FDA recommends that a minimum of 150 micrograms of iodine per day is necessary for adults. However, goitrogen is not the only cause of goiter but there are some other causes as well such as thyroiditis, congenital hypothyroidism, thyroid hormone insensitivity, Graves’ disease or Basedow syndrome, thyroid cancer, pituitary disease, adverse drug reactions, benign thyroid neoplasms, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is important to note that the condition of enlarged hypothyroid is common among women.

A Good Thyroid Diet to Support Thyroid Health

Whether a person has a healthy thyroid gland or has a higher risk for thyroid issues he/she should maintain a good diet to support thyroid health. Some foods that can be called good for thyroid health are:

Iodine

To promote thyroid health the first and most important nutrient is iodine. Iodine is absorbed in the thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4 hormones. As iodine can be found in most of the diet women of child-bearing age are mostly deficient of it. Apart from salt, iodine can be found in sea vegetable such as seaweed. However, thyroid issues may also arise if there is too much of iodine consumption.

Selenium

Selenium can be found on various seafoods such as cod, halibut, tuna, shrimp and snapper. It can also be found in shiitake mushrooms. Selenium is used to produce T3 in thyroid gland.

Omega-3 Fats

These fats can be found in fish and fish oil and are responsible for helping the cells to accept the thyroid’s hormones. Besides fish, these fats can also be found in olive oil, walnuts and flaxseed oil.

Some other foods to mention here in the thyroid diet are zinc, copper and iron. These three nutrients keep the hormone levels up and help the thyroid gland to work efficiently. Mushrooms, Swiss chard, spinach and calf’s liver are food rich in these nutrients. Apart from these, coconut oil also helps in metabolism and promotes weight loss.

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    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 

      3 years ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale AZ

      Good article. The Thyroid is so important when it comes to making sure every system in our body is functioning at the highest level. Thanks again for this well documented article.

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