The thyroid diet
The thyroid gland: Introduction
Why are we seeing the thyroid as an epidemic today? Before we go any further, let’s understand what the thyroid does.They thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located just below the center of the neck. It lives on the endocrine system with its family glands-the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal, parathyroid, thymus, pancreas, adrenals, and gonads (ovaries and testes).
These endocrine glands secrete hormones that bring out responses from cells, tissues and organs throughout the body. The endocrine system is one of our main communicators, it uses the blood to deliver hormonal messages to the cells, making them more permeable. Most doctors put down issues many women are facing to the thyroid gland; a thyroid malfunction (hyperor hypo i.e., overactive or underactive; is just an indication that that your entire system is out of balance).
What are the common dysfunctions?
- Thyroid cancer – malignant lumps, cells and nodules
- Hypothyroidism – underactive thyroid, not producing enough of the hormone
- Hyperthyroidism – overactive thyroid producing too much of the thyroid hormone
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroiditis an autoimmune disease-causing inflammation of the thyroid gland, which could show up as hypothyroidism, but as hyperthyroidism as well
- Goiter disease – enlargement of the thyroid gland that can be caused by either hypo-or hyperthyroidism, or takin in too little or too much iodine
- Nodules – benign lumps on or around the thyroid
The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, combine it with the amino acid tyrosine, and convert it into thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones are then released into the blood stream and transported and transported throughout the body where they control metabolism, which is the conversion of oxygen and calories to energy. Every cell in the body depends upon the thyroid hormones for regulation of its metabolism. The thyroid is responsible for metabolism of oxygen and glucose, and this means it’s a very important gland.
You may need to ask yourself the following questions if you want to heal your thyroid condition naturally –
- Are you eating processed and packaged foods?
- Are you a workaholic?
- Are you constantly stressed?
- Do you’ve any mercury fillings in your teeth?
- Do you rely on sugar’s in your diet or even artificial sweeteners?
- Do you consume refined oil?
- Do you have gut issues?
- Are you constantly tired?
- Are you relying on stimulants: coffee, alcohol, Indian tea?
- Do you have lifestyle habits that are not serving you: skipping meals, eating late at night, overeating, cooking on high-heat, sleeping late?
The thyroid compatible foods
- Whole grains: Brown rice (all) and millets will nourish your brain, provide sustained sugars, promote smooth bowel movements.
- Beans and legumes: all varieties and all kinds. When combined with right fats they help slow carbohydrate absorption, also balancing blood sugars. Soak to make them more digestible.
- Vegetables: All local and seasonal vegetables are good to eat to create balance; an emphasis on leafy greens is a must. Vegetables and fruits cool the body down. If the thyroid produces coolness, then reduce the raw vegetable intake. There is a misconception that those with a thyroid condition cannot eat goitrogenic (cruciferous) vegetables: cassava, radish (mooli), turnips (shalgam) cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy and broccoli; as they may interfere in the production of the thyroid hormone. However, in order for this to happen you will need to consume a significant amount of these vegetables and cooking them reduces their goitrogenic properties.
- Fermented foods: Have the ability to give you probiotics and promote the growth of friendly bacteria, much needed to support your gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kefir; these are all a part of the Indian diaspora now and can also be easily made at home.
- Fruits: Both cleansing and cooling, should be reduce if you suffer from a cold and damp condition; however, in a tropical climate like India are encouraged.
- Nuts and seeds: Packed with nutrients, make a great snack. Loaded with good fats and protein, vitamins and minerals. Flax seeds, peanuts, pine nuts are goitrogenic; and could be used sparingly. Flax is also estrogenic, by this I mean it not good for those experiencing high estrogen issues and those that have an estrogen-dependent cancer.
- Good fats: Cold-pressed oils are the best for our Indian cooking; and ghee and coconut oil make for a good source of saturated fats. Also include plenty of foods like avocados, nuts seeds that bring in fats from foods.
- Sweeteners: Try not using sugars and sugar derivatives. Stevia makes for a better option, as does coconut sugar, or dried fruit when making sweets.
- Beverages: Drinking water is always a good option, and when thirsty as a rule. Don’t push your body with too many liquids and it can lead to adrenal exhaustion. Herbal tea, de-caffeinated teas are also good to include.
Some adaptogens and other practices that help with the thyroid
- Ashwagandha Helps adapt to stress, but should be taken under the supervision of an Ayurvedic expert or a health expert like me; who knows this adaptogen on a case specific basis. Stress is deeply connected to the malfunction of a thyroid, so this herb can benefit.
- Liver cleanse once in 3 months is a good idea. These can be done through monitored detoxification programmes. Speak to your health practitioner first.
- Those with thyroid issues, are exhibiting throat chakra issues (5th chakra). It is located in the neck and throat region. Its colour is blue. This is where the ability to speak up, express yourself and speak your truth come about. So, do question these issues, if you are facing them. Meditation for this chakra is a good practice as is using ujjayi breath of yoga.
- Exercise and working out; and using yoga are other effective ways to reduce stress and lift the spirits.