We often hear about these two illnesses: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, yet it’s very common for people not to know the difference between the two. We will explain the symptoms of each disease below, as well as their possible causes and some natural health tips to improve your quality of life.
What Are the Thyroids?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located on top of the trachea that regulates the body’s metabolism and participates in the production of hormones, especially of thyroxin and triyodotironina.
The thyroid is controlled by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.
In the case of hyperthyroidism, as the hyper- prefix refers to, the gland functions excessively which also causes a hormonal hyper-secretion. It affects approximately 1% of the population, especially women between 30 and 40 years of age.
The most obvious sign is the appearance of a goiter (an increase in size of the thyroid) and the most common symptoms are tachycardia, weight loss, nervousness, trembling, insomnia, and excessive sweating.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
- Graves’ disease
- Excessive consumption of foods with iodine or direct exposure to iodine
- Inflammation in the thyroid because of viral infections, medications, or post pregnancy
- Benign tumors in the thyroid or pituitary gland
- Tumors in the testicles or ovaries
- Abuse of medication with the thyroid hormone
You should always follow the medical treatment that is prescribed to you, but certain foods can help you feel better:
Besides including these foods in your diet, you should also avoid foods rich in iodine, which are the ones that we mention are beneficial for hypothyroidism: eggs, parsley, fish and seafood, almonds, apricots, etc.
On the other hand, green tea infusions, motherwort, melisa, and bugleweed are very beneficial.
You should also exercise frequently to regulate your metabolism and avoid stimulants as much as possible, because these will make you feel worse:
On the other hand, hypothyroidism is experienced by 3% of the population, especially in women over 50 years of age or post childbirth. This is the reduction of levels of thyroid hormones in blood plasma and has symptoms like fatigue, exhaustion, muscle weakness, feeling cold, unexplainable weight loss or gain, depression, and other emotional imbalances.
There are other more subtle symptoms that can help you detect this disease that is not easily detected: pale or yellowish skin, fluid retention, hair loss, lack of eyebrows on the outside edges, and very dry skin.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
- Different types of thyroiditis
- Post child birth (and generally after experiencing hyperthyroidism as well)
- Birth defects
- Radiation therapy on the neck
- Anti-thyroid medication
- Lithium treatments
- Chronic lack of iodine
Besides the appropriate treatment, we recommend eating the following foods to increase your iodine levels:
- Blue fish
- Iodized salt or sea salt
- Seafood and algae rich in iodine like kelp or fucus
- Quince jelly
If you don’t like algae, which we recommend because they are organic and do not contain toxic substances, you can take them in pill form instead. They not only give you iodine but also many other minerals and essential amino acids that are very beneficial for the body.
Another option is to make an algae salt. Grind sea salt and the algae of your choice, mix it together, and keep it closed well. The salt will act as a preservative. You can use it in the same way as normal salt when cooking soups, stews, etc.
You should avoid the following foods because they block iodine absorption: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, soy, peaches, beans, and line, as well as processed and refined foods, and tap water.
You can also make mint and ginger tea and cook food with small amounts of cayenne.
Images courtesy of Ulterior Epicure, Daniel Friedle y Pokrzywinski