The thyroid gland is one of the most important organs in your body, regulating everything from your metabolism and body temperature to how your body deals with stress and absorbs nutrients. It’s also one of the most common organs to be negatively affected by chronic stress and inflammation, causing it to malfunction.
When the thyroid isn’t able to perform its functions and release important thyroid hormones to regulate your metabolism, you’re usually dealing with one of two conditions: an overactive or an underactive thyroid. Neither one is favorable and can lead to myriad different complications, from goiter and heart problems to pregnancy issues and even thyroid cancer.
There are many different ways to support your thyroid health, but the majority include medications, hormone replacement therapy, and other more invasive treatments. Here are some of the best natural ways to help your thyroid perform its function and improve its health.
Focus on Nutrition That Supports the Thyroid
First and foremost, we are what we eat, and what we choose to put in our bodies can either improve our health or cause us harm. Avoid artificial and sugar-filled foods that only increase your inflammation and bring your thyroid into overdrive, and instead, fill your plates with wholesome, nutrient-rich foods that work for you and not against you.
Some of the best foods to support your thyroid include seaweed (due to high levels of iodine), macadamia and Brazil nuts (for selenium), superfoods such as camu camu berry, blueberries, and cacao powder (for antioxidants), and pumpkin seeds (for zinc).
Additionally, all other wholesome foods that are naturally rich in nutrients will be a great choice to support the health of your thyroid and all other organs in the body. Stay away from processed foods, artificial fillers and thickening agents, as well as sugars, and implement good eating habits long-term.
Supplement with Probiotics and Vitamin D
Even though taking dietary supplements isn’t necessary for every single one of us, it’s definitely encouraged. There are multiple different reasons for this to be the case, starting with the way the soil is becoming more and more depleted as time goes by and the poor nutrient quality of the food we eat today. Then there’s our inability to adequately deal with stress as well as the digestive issues all of these negative consequences may cause. And finally, there’s the convenience and ease of fast foods and ready-meals that seem to be the quickest and easiest choice when you’re on the go.
Some of the best supplements to add to your diet are probiotics. These live bacterial strains are meant to populate your gut microbiome and help balance out your gastrointestinal flora. The good bacteria that replenish your intestines help reduce inflammation, strengthen your immune system, and prevent harmful agents from attacking your body. Still, if you’re unsure of what to take, consult with your healthcare provider and do a stool microbiome test to know for sure what bacteria you need and which one you have an abundance of.
Another important supplement to add to your daily diet is vitamin D. This essential vitamin is obtained from the sun’s rays and it’s one of the micronutrients almost every single person is deficient in. Especially during the dark winter days and spending most of your work day under artificial lighting.
The recommended dose of vitamin D per day is 600 international units (IU), but in reality, we probably all need more. Take the vitamin D deficiency test and talk to your healthcare provider about your options and the correct dosage for you and your health condition.
Avoid or Limit Alcohol Intake
This common, but actually pretty healthy habit is directly correlated to an impaired function of your thyroid gland. It’s proven that alcohol causes cellular toxicity on your thyroid cells, reducing its function and suppressing the production of thyroid hormones. Additionally, alcohol reduces the function of your immune system, leaving you prone to diseases and infections.
Move Your Body to Support Healthy Weight Management
Since the thyroid plays an important role in regulating your body’s metabolism and weight, losing and gaining pounds both have an impact on your thyroid function and hormones. Still, gaining weight is always taxing on your thyroid, especially if the extra pounds come from sitting down all day and eating takeaway pizza.
Get off the couch and start moving. Whether you go for a long walk, do an hour-long yoga class, or go for an 8-mile run, it doesn’t really matter as long as you do it. Movement and exercise help lower your body’s blood sugar levels and inflammation, keep your cardiovascular system running optimally, and improve your blood circulation which enhances nutrient absorption and stimulates waste and toxin disposal.
Establish a Good Self-Care, De-Stress Routine
Stress is definitely a huge factor in your overall health, and with it, your thyroid too. That’s why it’s important to really find the best ways to de-stress and help your body go from “fight or flight” into “rest and digest” mode.
Whether you like to blast music and dance around the house, sit in silence and meditate, read a book in peace, or soak in a bathtub for 30 minutes, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you feel better and less stressed after doing the said activity, you’re one step closer to not only promoting good health of your thyroid and other organs but also healing from the stress it’s already caused your butterfly-shaped organ.
Reduce Your Exposure to Home and Environmental Toxins
Even though we can only do so much to limit our exposure to environmental pollutants, there are some important things we can implement into our daily lives to reduce it:
- Stay away from plastics as much as possible
- Invest in a good water filter for your bathroom and kitchen
- Abstain from using chemicals in your cleaning supplies and detergent
- Stay away from processed foods and artificial ingredients
- Reduce your exposure to tech and radiation (remove wifi and other technology from your bedroom)
- Increase your body’s natural detox process by adding foods and superfoods into your diet like spirulina, chlorella, and ginger root powder
Improving the health of your thyroid should be one of the top items on your list of priorities, especially as you age. The best way to do so is to focus on decreasing your overall inflammation and stress and adding important nutrients into your diet that will help you heal and protect your thyroid from within.