Thyroid – An Introduction
The anatomy of the human body is quite complicated. Even a minor imbalance in the body functions can lead to various health issues ranging from minor to major, and thyroid is among them. According to simple understanding, when the body faces the deficiency of iodine, it leads to the thyroid. The thyroid gland is helpful in controlling the metabolism of the body. Again, this small gland also indirectly controls the systems, hormones, and organs of your body indirectly.
The thyroid gland consumes iodine from your food and converts it into different hormones that regulate various functions of the body. Hence, when the body lacks iodine, the body faces intense fluctuations which makes you weak and fatigue day-by-day. The person having thyroid might also suffer from severe mood swings too.
Some quick facts regarding Thyroid
- The Thyroid stimulation hormone or say TSH blood test is crucial and accurate. Even a minor change in the thyroid hormone levels can result in big changes in the results.
- Nearly 1 out of 8 women are likely to have thyroid issues in their lifetime, especially during menopause and after pregnancy.
- There is no cure for autoimmune thyroid disease. Again, its progress cannot also be slowed. The only way to deal with thyroid is the management of the condition.
- Factors like stress, pregnancy, illness, inflammation, insomnia, reduced sleeping hours, etc. can worsen thyroid disorders.
- The thyroid is essential to be addressed or monitored before pregnancy and during pregnancy too.
- Abnormal thyroid hormone levels can result in serious health issues which makes its management essential.
- It is the thyroid gland which regulates the functions of the entire body.
- Irritability, anxiety, and nervousness are among the emotional symptoms of having thyroid disorder.
- The thyroid is a disorder that basically needs a lifelong treatment which includes medications, a proper diet, and some exercises.
- The women having thyroid disorder make have issues or fertility problems when thinking to conceive. They also face issues with menses. It also increases the chances of facing preterm delivery, development issues of the fetus, and miscarriage.
What are the different types of thyroid?
Talking about the different types of thyroid disorders, there are basically 5 types of thyroid disorders which include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer. However, popular among all are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a state in which the thyroid gland fails to make the required thyroid hormone for remaining active. As both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are quite similar to each other, it is only the symptoms of hypothyroidism which helps in bifurcating them. Some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, constipation, fatigue, feeling too cold, depression, dry skin, reduction in the tolerance of exercise, muscle pain, and heavy menses.
Hyperthyroidism is a state in which the thyroid gland becomes overactive and produces too many thyroid hormones. In such a situation, the functions of the body are affected as the thyroid increases fast. Graves Disease is a common state of hyperthyroidism in which the eyes become enlarged as well as the neck is swollen. Some of the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include rapid weight loss, irritability, nervousness, heart racing, anxiety, difficulty in sleeping, and loose bowel movements.
Goiter occurs when the thyroid gland begins to enlarge in an abnormal way. In most of the cases, the thyroid glands enlarge when the gland pulls more iodine in the bloodstream due to chronic iodine deficiency. Many people suffering from Goiter are highly recommended to have a diet that is rich in iodine along with other supplements that are required for the treatment commonly. Goiter is suffered by the people who are having hypothyroid or hyperthyroidism swings.
4. Thyroid Cancer
Surprisingly, according to a survey in 2016, around 64000 Americans are suffering from thyroid cancer. For the people suffering from thyroid cancer, there are particular medications and surgery suggested by the doctor according to the seriousness of the condition. Apart from these, the patients need to follow a proper lifestyle with required modifications and powerful dietary that supports the immune system during the treatment as well as prior and post-treatment.
As there are no proper medications for the treatment of thyroid from the roots, the best way to deal with thyroid is to control its growth and manage it through a proper diet.
What should you include in your diet for managing thyroid?
Do you know, more than 12% of the total population is suffering from thyroid issues? And most of them are also unaware of having it?
Yes, this is true. However, whether you are aware of having thyroid or not, there are certain ingredients that help in the management of thyroid levels in your body. Again, even if you are not suffering from thyroid, these ingredients are surely going to help you prevent yourself from any ill effects regarding thyroid.
So, here are some essential ingredients that would help in balancing and improving your thyroid condition for proper regulation and functioning of your thyroid gland.
1. Iodized Salt
As the name suggests, Iodized salt is rich in iodine, which is among the basic minerals required for the health of the thyroid gland. When the gland consumes the iodine from the meals, it produces the thyroid hormones which are essential for the regulation of the body functions. Again, it is quite frequently observed that a person suffers from iodine deficiency, but even a minor deficiency can adversely affect the thyroid gland. Again, as they are the only glands that absorb iodine, they are also the ones that produce sufficient hormones for the body.
2. Brazil Nuts
Brazil Nuts are not only delightful but are also the best source for obtaining selenium for the body. Selenium is helpful for proper metabolism of the gland along with antioxidant functions too. Merely having around 2 to 4 brazil nuts every day would help you with the required amount of selenium for the healthy functioning of your thyroid gland. Again, according to a study, compared to other meals or other supplements, the selenium obtained from brazil nuts is more effective as it is a micronutrient.
Oysters are among the best sources for obtaining zinc. Zinc is helpful for the regulation of the thyroid gland as well as the immune system too. Again, zinc is also helpful for the healthy production and growth of the white blood cells that are helpful in the protection against the pathogens. Not only zinc, but oysters are also rich in copper which is equally important for the functioning of the collagen synthesis and thyroid functions as zinc.
Just as oysters are rich in zinc and copper, Sardines are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which is helpful in boosting the immune system. When the immunity is boosted, it reduces the risk of having any chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. Sardines are much helpful in dealing with Hashimoto which is a thyroid issue that occurs when the immune system is much weaker. Having the required amount of Omega 3 fatty acids would boost the immune system which further helps the thyroid gland to remain strong.
This marine seafood is among the best sources to obtain iodine. Seaweed comes with all the essential nutrients that help the thyroid in maintaining its health, however, it is advisable to have it in a moderate amount. Hence, consuming seaweed around once in a week is sufficient for obtaining all the essential nutrients. However, if you are not good with seaweed, you can also look for supplements available in the market. But just as seaweed is harmful in excess, the supplements would also bring a negative impact on the body if consumed in excess. So, it is better to take the advice of the doctor before you start with the supplements.
6. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a step ahead with dual benefits for dealing with the thyroid. Greek yogurt is filled with iodine along with Vitamin D. As discusses above, iodine is much helpful for fighting against thyroid health issues. But similarly, Vitamin D is equally helpful too. When obtained, Vitamin D helps in the proper regulation of the immune health that helps in preventing Hashimoto. For those people looking for a pocket-friendly way of obtaining iodine, Greek yogurt is the right choice to look for.
7. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are also quite filled with Omega 3 fatty acids. They are also rich in iron which helps in the regulation of oxygen to the body organs which in return boosts the immune system and also reduces the chances of having Hashimoto. For obtaining the required amount of Omega 3 fatty acids for meeting the daily requirement, make an aim to consume flax seeds around 50gms. This would boost the immune system and help in maintaining it too.
Eggs are quite as popular as the best source of protein. But very few know that when it comes to the daily nutrition requirement, it is an all-rounder. Eggs provide the thyroid gland with various nutrients like selenium, Omega 3 fatty acids, and lastly iodine. Eggs not only help in strengthening the immune system and the thyroid gland but is also helpful for the overall improvement of the health. No doubt, eggs provide with a list of nutrients to the body, it is still recommended to have it in a healthy and balanced way in your diet to obtain maximum benefits.
Are you thinking to have an additional piece of chicken in your dish? But worried if it’s healthy or not in thyroid? Chicken is a lean meat which is rich in protein. But apart from protein, it is also rich in zinc. Zinc is essential for the regulation of the body hormones, especially, thyroid hormones. Including chicken in your diet would also boost the health of the thyroid hormones. So, make sure you add chicken in your meals at least once in a week for reaping its benefits.
10. Apples and Avocados
Avocado is a fruit that is rich in phytonutrient. It also contains two times the amount of potassium compared to that in bananas. Again, it is also rich in monosaturated fats which are helpful in the regulation of blood sugar levels. They also help the thyroid with a continuous and sufficient energy supply for proper functioning. Coming to Apples, they are also filled with iodine and are helpful to make the gland healthy. So, add this sweet and delicious fruits to your routine to keep your gland happy.
11. Green Leafy Veggies
The green leafy vegetables not only help the body with neuroprotective features but also help in working over the inflammation. They are filled with carotenoids and antioxidants which reduce the damage caused to the free radicals. They also contain goitrogens which block the iodine, but when consumed after cooking, they are again helpful in providing the glands with required iodine levels.
Hence, consuming all these ingredients in required or moderate quantities is surely helpful in managing and controlling the health of the thyroid gland. But just as there are particular ingredients that help in looking after the gland, there are some which should be avoided when having thyroid issues like dairy items that contain lactose, refined sugars, wheat, gluten, soy, etc. Make sure your diet is rich in fiber, minerals, and Vitamins. Lastly, have enough water to keep yourself hydrated. Again, if you are facing any symptoms regarding thyroid, make sure you contact the doctor and follow the given instructions properly.
Precautions for Thyroid Patients – Do’s and Dont’s
Apart from a healthy diet, some other things you need to look after for having a healthy thyroid gland and managing thyroid include:
- Manage your dietary stress which can lead to issues like allergies, sensitivity, inflammation, fluctuations in the blood sugar levels, etc. by making some strategic changes.
- Make sure you eliminate all the food items that are heavily processed like pizza, donuts, microwave dinners, etc.
- Don’t add table salt to your meals.
- Look for some good fats in your meals like avocado, olive oil, nuts, salmon, etc. to your diet.
- Avoid the intake of sweets or any other form on refined sugar like soft drinks, molasses, honey, artificial sweeteners, etc.
- Reduce the intake of any kind of caffeine like tea, soft drinks, and coffee, as they can increase the cortisol levels which can have an impact on the blood sugar levels.
- For the people having alcohol, reduce the quantity to moderate as it comes with a negative impact on the blood sugar, immunity, and liver too.
- Make sure you don’t eat too much in a single sitting. This would add to your calories and have an adverse impact on the digestive system. So, avoid overeating.
- Avoid having meals after 8 in the evening. This would give the body a break of around 10 hours to 12 hours before having breakfast, which would boost the production of hormones, adrenal, and thyroid in the body while your sleep.
- Make sure your meals don’t contain food ingredients that are rich in goitrogenic items like spinach, kale, Brussels, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, peanuts, peaches, and strawberries, etc.
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