Hypothyroidism: How to Care for Your Thyroid
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland stops producing the normal amount of the thyroid hormone. It is important to note that it is more common among women, and that the symptoms are many and varied, however they commonly include weight gain, usually where diets are ineffective and nutritional problems continue to worsen the condition.
It is when our body has a slow metabolism that a lot of complications can appear and it is very important that we pay attention to all the symptoms so that our physician can treat us effectively. From this standpoint, we offer some basic guidance so that you can achieve a better quality of life and that you can learn that diet is key, but always remember that your doctor has the last word.
Possible Causes of Hypothyroidism
- Thyroiditis: when our thyroid glands are inflamed and they stop producing the necessary level of the hormone. It is more common in women and in people over 50 years old.
- Immune system problems.
- Medications containing lithium.
- Radioactive iodine that is sometimes used for certain treatments.
- Certain genetic anomalies present from birth.
What Symptoms Are Related to Hypothyroidism?
- Weight gain, when our metabolism functions more slowly and we begin to retain water, salt, fat…but should not be confused with the symptoms of menopause.
- We begin to feel tired, slow.
- Heavy menstruation.
- Muscle and joint pain.
- Skin pallor and dryness.
- Periods of depression.
- Weak nails and hair.
- Higher sensitivity to cold.
Other symptoms may appear if we have not gone to a doctor and if we have not obtained a suitable treatment, traits visible when we have suffered hypothyroidism for a longer period of time:
- Loss of desire and sense of smell.
- Swelling of hands and feet.
- Thickening of the skin.
- Loss of eyebrow hairs.
What Tests Can We Do To Diagnose Hypothyroidism?
- Our physician can do a blood analysis to observe our level of TSH (thyroid hormone).
- Cholesterol level, a blood panel, sodium and prolactin levels, liver enzymes.
Proper Diet for Hypthyroidism
Our diet and medical treatment are essential for our thyroids to return to normal and produce healthy levels of the hormone. From there, it is necessary that you include in your diet the following nutrients:
Iodine increases the production of T4, helping improve the thyroid, which we can find in fish, seafood, seasalt, iodized salt, and in seaweed. But we advise you not to consume too much seaweed, especially Fucus vesiculosus or kelp, often sold with elevated levels of iodine which can worsen our condition and create antibodies. Eat a proper amount, and if you have concerns, consult an endocrinologist, who will give you a suitable dose.
Pistachios, walnuts, coconut, hazelnuts, lentils, tomatoes, apples, mangos, and pineapples are also rich in iodine and are very tasty.
Foods Containing Vitamin A
- Will help your thyroid, as well as your skin and hair.
- Endives, clams, eggs, sweet potatoes, spinach, caviar, watercress, carrots, persimmons, loquats.
Foods Containing Vitamin B
- Indespensable for our immune system, the heart, the nervous system.
- Sardines, anchovies, cow liver, chicken or lamb, oysters, mackerel, mussels, salmon, tuna, cod.
Fruit That Increase Thyroid Production
- Pomegranates, grapes, oranges, lemons, figs.
Plants That Help Treat Hypothyroidism
- Genetian: Increases thyroid production. We can use the root, soak it for two days, strain, and add some tablespoons of honey. It is ideal to drink two cups a day.
- Passionflower: Alleviates symptoms of insomnia, pain, depression. An infusion of this dried flower is perfect for getting better little by little.
Prohibited Foods for Hypothyroidism
- Soy and its derivatives, tofu…they are strongly advised against if you are taking levothyroxine.