You might have already heard of the thyroid and the health problems that can be associated with it, especially in women. But if you’re not sure what we’re talking about, the thyroid is a gland in the neck that regulates many of our bodily functions.
This gland is involved in the production of the hormones thyroxine (or T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which regulate the body’s metabolism and affect the function of other organs.
When your thyroid is functioning normally, you can eat whatever you want without specific dietary restrictions. But if your thyroid has some kind of abnormality, like hyperthyroidism (when this gland produces more hormones than it should) or hypothyroidism (when it produces less), you’ll need to adhere to a special diet because food plays a significant role in improving thyroid function and your overall quality of life. The following foods can naturally help regulate the thyroid.
Foods that help control hyperthyroidism
A person is said to be suffering from hyperthyroidism when the thyroid is over stimulated and produces more hormones than it would if it were functioning normally.
This excess production of hormones causes the body’s metabolism to be very high, which can result in weight loss and the loss of muscle mass. For people experiencing this, their food intake should be high in energy and of course, balanced.
Dairy: milk, yogurt, and cheese
- When possible, you should consume plenty of milk and yogurt on a regular basis, or make smoothies with a dairy base.
- You can make a drink base using yogurt, condensed milk, or whole milk powder and use it to add to your smoothies, desserts, or even granola and cereals.
- Be sure to add milk and yogurt to your smoothies to add calories and energy benefits.
- Include cheese in your soups, salads, pasta, and sandwiches.
Protein foods: eggs, meat, and fish
- Cook a hard boiled egg and add it to salads, pasta, soups, or vegetable dishes. The same can be done with meat and fish, in small portions.
- Beat a raw egg and add it to your purees, soups, sauces, or even smoothies and see how much better you feel.
- Experiment with different meat, fish, and vegetable combinations, or make omelets and sandwiches with these ingredients.
Oils and fats
- Try to use cream, butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, and other fats.
- Don’t forget to increase your intake of nuts by adding them to salads, soups, smoothies, or just eating them raw.
Sugar, honey, breads, and crackers
- You can add raw sugar or, preferably, honey, to your smoothies, juices, milks, and desserts in small amounts.
- Bread or crackers (whole grain) can be eaten during breakfast or as a snack.
- If you enjoy it, try eating toast with your soups
Foods that help control hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is another anomaly of the thyroid gland that occurs when its production of T3 and T4 slows. This condition is accompanied by symptoms like fatigue, tiredness, hair loss, drowsiness, and can even cause weight gain and obesity.
In this case, it’s very important that you see an endocrinologist, because only they can monitor your thyroid hormones and prescribe medication and a proper diet. If you have hypothyroidism you’ll need to have a strict and balanced diet that includes foods from all the major groups: dairy, vegetables, fruits, proteins, cereals, fats, and more.
Foods that are rich in fiber and low in fat
- Try eating lean meats like chicken, beef, turkey, or rabbit. White and blue fish, as well as eggs are also appropriate. These foods should be eaten in small portions, about 3 to 4 servings per week.
- If you want to include dairy products, make sure they’re skim or low-fat varieties of yogurt and cheese.
- Instead of sugar, try stevia or honey.
- Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially those that can be eaten raw.
- Eat moderate amounts of grains and starches like bread, potatoes, rice, and pasta.
- Cook with olive oil, but don’t consume too much of it.
- Increase your intake of water by drinking tea and natural juices.
- Add lemon juice and spices to your food to make you feel more satisfied.
Some final tips
- Because hypothyroidism is a more difficult condition to treat, people who suffer from this should use more delicate cooking methods like baking, steaming, boiling, or microwaving. If possible, try to avoid fried, breaded, or preserved foods.
- You’ll also need to increase your physical activity levels, whether through walking, jogging, climbing stairs, bicycling, or strength training. Anything will help!
- Try to distribute your meals throughout the day into 4 to 5 portions, and don’t snack between them.
- To keep your metabolism functioning optimally, never ever skip one of your main meals.