Although it’s only a small part of the body, the thyroid is responsible for regulating your metabolism, one of the most important functions. If you have an underactive thyroid, for example, your pulse rate decreases, you lose energy levels, and you burn fewer calories during exercise or physical activities. Learn how to treat your thyroid problems the natural way in today’s article.
What you need to know about thyroid problems
These conditions are more common among women than men, especially those over the age of 60. But pay attention – we’re seeing an increasing number of cases of hypothyroidism (the most common thyroid problem, in which the thyroid is underactive) in women who are only 30. More research needs to be done to investigate whether this is a genetic problem. But worldwide, the cause of the majority of cases of hypothyroidism is an iodine deficiency.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
- Unexplained weight gain
- Swollen or pale face
- Muscle aches
- Dry skin
- High cholesterol
- Heavy periods
- Problems with the joints
When a patient has hyperthyroidism, their thyroid is more active than normal and the body produces excess T3 and T4 hormone levels. This in turn speeds up many of the body’s normal processes.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
- Change in appetite
- Heart palpitations
- Hair loss
- Fertility problems
- Difficulty sleeping
Foods and nutrients that promote better thyroid function
It’s important to activate the thyroid’s hormones to help it perform better. One good option is to increase your intake of selenium by eating Brazil nuts (a handful a day, five days a week). Other sources of this nutrient include organ meats (liver, for example) and seafood. But beware: getting too much selenium can also cause thyroid problems.
IodineIodine plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormones. It’s not a good idea to consume more than 150 micrograms per day (for reference, one milligram is 1000 micrograms). If you consume too much it can create imbalances in your body. Algae and iodized salt are the primary sources of iodine.
Studies conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts indicate that some women may have thyroid problems because they lack the correct levels of zinc. The suggested daily intake is 10 mg. This nutrient helps gland receptors at the cellular level, and strengthens the DNA.
Calcium and vitamin DOne effect of thyroid problems is bone density loss. So it’s important that you consume more calcium (which isn’t only found in dairy products, but also leafy vegetables like kale and spinach) and vitamin D.
Tempeh and miso can suppress thyroid hormones. Soybeans (organic if possible) could therefore be more effective than any other treatment for hypothyroidism. Importantly, soybeans contain phytic acid and other compounds that can impair the absorption of other nutrients in the body, so you need to be very careful when consuming soy products.
These should be eaten raw, when possible. The best options are Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. They block the absorption and utilization of iodine, which calms overactive thyroid function.
How to treat thyroid problems naturally
First and foremost, it’s a good idea to see your doctor and request a full blood test. You may not choose to follow a drug-based treatment, so you can go to a homeopath or naturopath who can prescribe a regimen for you that’s based on ancient traditions. But the blood test is always a good first step so you have an idea of what your levels of TSH, T3, and T4 are.
It’s also a good idea to increase your consumption of certain foods if you find you have hypothyroidism:
- Try seaweed (arame, kombu, nori) for their high iodine content
- To increase your intake of vitamin A, add more carrots and eggs
- For high levels of zinc, try tuna, spinach, nuts, beef, and chicken
On the other hand, you should avoid the following foods if your problem is hyperthyroidism:
- Processed foods
- Saturated fats
- Refined flours
If you have hypothyroidism, be sure to increase your intake of the fruits and vegetables that are on the above list
Certain teas can help you increase your levels of thyroxine. Tea made with the leaves of a black walnut tree, for example, contains iodine to stimulate the thyroid, while tea made with algae help regulate the body’s metabolism, stimulate the production of thyroid hormones, and improve blood flow).
It’s a good idea to get regular exercise to improve your blood flow and get nutrients traveling freely through the body, while also getting rid of toxins. Jogging, jumping rope, or biking are all excellent choices. The best options are aerobic and cardiovascular exercises. Just choose whichever ones you like.
Practice relaxation therapies, like yoga, medication, or tai chi to regulate thyroid function, particularly if your problem was triggered by trauma, depression, or very bad news. This in turn will benefit your everyday life, not just your thyroid.