Hello friends! This week we will take a look at a small gland that is located behind the Adam’s apple area in our throats called the thyroid. This butterfly shaped gland is often overlooked until some discord arises in the body. Let’s take a look at what the thyroid is responsible for and what you can do to help improve the function of this hard working gland.
When your thyroid is not functioning properly you may experience many different symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, trouble sleeping, trouble losing weight or unexplained weight loss, excessive cold feet/hands, and more. A good first place to start would be to check your thyroid hormone levels with your physician or health care practitioner.
The thyroid produces two hormones called thyroxine, or T4, and triiodothyronine, or T3. These hormones regulate metabolism (allows for immune function, liver function, and energy function), body temperature, heart function, digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood maintenance and bone development. Wow! That’s a lot for a small gland!
What can affect the Thyroid from functioning properly?
- Digestive health– If the gut is off (excessive constipation, diarrhea, stomach issues, trouble digesting food, food allergies, etc.) then chances are this can affect the proper functioning of the thyroid.
- Inflammation– A fancy general statement that means the body is recognizing something is off and it’s causing the immune system to react and produce more white blood cells than normal– this can show up as pain or discomfort in different areas of the body and could be due to physical injury, bad bacteria overgrowth, virus’, toxin build up and so on.
- Medications– Certain medications or over the counter medicine can throw off the healthy bacteria in the gut or interfere with thyroid hormone production which can also affect the health of the thyroid.
- Heavy Metals– Build up of heavy metals in the body can interfere with thyroid function as well. Your thyroid uses/needs iodine to help function properly, (an essential micro nutrient that our body does not produce– which is why it was added to salt years ago) heavy metals like fluoride can aggravate iodine absorption.
Foods for Thyroid Health
- Seaweed– This is one of the best foods for the thyroid because it contains a natural source of iodine!
- Fermented/sour foods– Sour kraut, kimchi, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, etc. These foods help repair gut bacteria and general health which will also assist in improving thyroid function.
- Leafy greens– these power foods contain a lot of magnesium (among other essential minerals for the thyroid) which is needed for MANY processes in the body and will help pave the way to assist the thyroid. When your mom said EAT YOUR GREENS its because MOMS KNOW! Take away: listen to your mom and eat your greens. If eating salads everyday sounds unappealing to you, start with powdered greens at first. This is a quick and easy way to get nutrients in the body and will help your taste buds begin to LOVE leafy greens because you will FEEL the difference.
Supplements for Thyroid
- Iodine– As discussed above, your thyroid needs iodine to function properly. If you are not into eating seaweed or iodized salt perhaps you may want to consider supplementing with iodine.
- Selenium– The thyroid also needs selenium to help function properly (brazil nuts are a great food source option).
- Zinc/Copper– These two trace minerals are required to produce thyroid hormones.
- Ashwagandha– This adaptogen herb (an herb that helps the body adapt to excessive stress) can boost adrenal health by balancing out your stress hormones such as cortisol. The adrenals are a part of the endocrine system just like your thyroid. If you help restore your adrenal health, the thyroid will benefit as well.
- Iron– The thyroid also uses iron to help it function properly. If you think you may not get enough iron in your diet, you can supplement with it.
- Thyroid Formulas– Here are a few supplements specifically formulated to help assist proper thyroid function. They will contain many ingredients listed above as well as other amino acids and herbs found to support the thyroid:
The above options are natural alternatives to boosting thyroid health. Make sure you do your research on all options for thyroid care because you are dealing with hormones and you want to make sure you are equipped with the proper knowledge before you start a protocol or work with a natural healthcare practitioner to develop one together! You always have alternative options if taking medications are not your thing! And remember that working with improving your digestive health will greatly benefit your thyroid!
As always, do what you feel is best for YOUR body– if you aren’t sure, ask your doctor. We are health ENTHUSIASTS not licensed practitioners.