While a lot of people have heard of the thyroid gland, they might not be clear on what it actually is or how it works.
Most of them don’t find out how important it is until they’ve already developed a disorder that affects how it works.
Your thyroid is the gland that’s most critical to your bodily health. Its job is to secrete hormones and regulate your body’s metabolism.
Millions of people around the world have problems with their thyroid but most of them aren’t aware of the different symptoms that thyroid conditions can cause. By far, women are most commonly affected by thyroid disorders, particularly once they reach adulthood.
It’s important to be well informed about thyroid disorders and to also know what habits can help you keep your thyroid function optimally.
In today’s article we’ll share some information about this gland, the disorders that affect it, and what foods promote good thyroid health.
What does the thyroid do and how is it affected?The thyroid gland usually doesn’t warrant a second thought until a disorder arises, such as hypothyroidism.
But what everyone should know is that it plays two very important roles that affect your overall health: the thyroid regulates your metabolism and produces hormones that in turn lead to the development of proteins.
When you have a problem with this gland or your general health is in jeopardy, your thyroid function can be altered, leading to diseases and a lower quality of life.
The two most common disorders that develop are:
See also: Natural treatment for hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid is underactive and doesn’t produce enough of a hormone known as thyroxine, which is responsible for keeping your metabolism functioning at an optimal level.
When this occurs, you’ll experience the following symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Intolerance to cold
In this case, nearly the opposite occurs. The thyroid secretes too much hormone and causes your metabolism to accelerate, which can wreak havoc on your body if left unchecked.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Heat intolerance
- Weight loss
- Heart palpitations
What are the best foods for a healthy thyroid?
To avoid having problems with your thyroid, particularly the most common one (hypothyroidism), try keeping a diet that’s rich in the following nutrients to support its optimal function.
1. Foods that are rich in iodineA deficiency of iodine can lead to thyroid problems that become difficult to control.
Eating more foods with iodine help it function normally and stimulate thyroxine production.
Some good sources include
- Swiss chard
- Sesame seeds
- Table salt fortified with iodine
2. Fiber-rich foods
Fiber is essential when it comes to regulating your metabolism and preventing the weight gain that’s often associated with hypothyroidism.
Fiber helps improve digestion, control blood sugar levels, and make you feel more full.
You can find plenty of fiber in the following:
- Brown rice
3. Lean meatsEating lean meat can be a great complement to most kinds of diets, especially for people who have thyroid problems.
Options in this category include:
- Blue fish
4. Foods that are rich in vitamins
Vitamins not only enhance your thyroid function, they play an important role in your overall health.
In the event that you have a thyroid disorder, it’s recommended that you consume plenty of foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, E, B2, B3, and B6.
Some of these include:
- Citrus fruits
- Whole grains and seeds
- Brewer’s yeast
We recommend reading: Strange signs that indicate vitamin deficiency
5. Foods that are rich in zincWhen your thyroid is producing too much hormone it can affect the levels of this important mineral in your body.
That’s why it’s a good idea to consume certain foods that will help combat this problem with your gland.
You can find zinc in the following:
- Wheat germ
- Green peas
All of the foods we’ve listed above can positively influence the health of your thyroid. But if you suspect that you are suffering from a thyroid disorder, it’s best to contact your doctor for the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Any change in the function of your thyroid will require a change in your lifestyle.