Thyroid disorders are the conditions which will affect the thyroid gland. It’s a butterfly-shaped gland in front of the neck. Thyroid has some important roles to regulate numerous metabolic processes throughout the body.
Mainly the function of the thyroid gland is regulated by a feedback mechanism involving the brain. When the thyroid hormones are low, the hypothalamus in the brain produces a hormone which is known as thyrotropin releasing hormone which will cause the pituitary gland in releasing thyroid stimulating hormone.
What is Thyroid?
The thyroid gland is a small organ which is located in the front of the neck and it is wrapped around the windpipe. You’ve got glands all over your body, where they create and release substances that help your body do something specific.
If your body makes too much thyroid hormone you can have a chance of developing a condition called hyperthyroidism. If your body produces too little thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism.
Causes of Thyroid
Nodules will develop in the thyroid gland and it will start secreting thyroid hormones by upsetting the body’s chemical balance and some of the goiters can also contain several nodules.
It’s a condition which can swell the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis may lower the amount of hormones that the thyroids produce.
Iodine is used by thyroid for producing hormones. An iodine deficiency is an issue which will affect several million people around the world.
Non- functioning thyroid gland
Sometimes the Thyroid gland may not work correctly from birth. This will affect 1 in 4000 newborn. If this is left untreated the child can face both physical and mental issues in future.
Pituitary gland malfunctions
- Having trouble in sleeping
- Losing weight
- Having an enlarged thyroid gland
- Experiencing irregular menstrual periods
- Feeling sensitivity
- Having Vision problems
- Gaining weight
- Heavy menstrual periods
Who’s affected by Thyroid disease?
Thyroid disease may affect anyone that includes men, women, infants, teenagers and elderly people. This can be present at birth and can also be developed at any age. A person may be at higher risk of developing thyroid disease if they:
- Have a family history
- Have any medical conditions like type 1 diabetes and lupus
- Taking medicine that are high in iodine
Which nutrients are important?
Iodine is an essential mineral which is used for making thyroid hormones. People with iron deficiency can be at high risk of hypothyroidism. Iron deficiency is very common and affects nearly about one-third of the world’s population. If a person is having iodine deficiency, consider adding iodized table salt to meals or eating more iodine-rich foods like seaweed, fish, diary and eggs.
Selenium helps in activating thyroid hormones so they can be used by the body. The essential mineral also has some antioxidant benefits which mean it can protect the thyroid gland from damage by molecules called free radicals.
Zinc helps the body in activating thyroid hormones. Zinc deficiencies are rare in developed countries, as zinc is abundant in food supplies.
However, if you have hypothyroidism, you should try to eat more zinc-rich foods such as oysters and other shellfish, beef and chicken.
Goitrogens are compounds which will interfere with normal function of the thyroid gland. They get their name from the term goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid gland that can occur with hypothyroidism. Some of the common foods of Goitrogens are:
- Soy foods (tofu, tempeh, edamame)
- Vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and spinach)
- Fruits and starchy plants (sweet potatoes, cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc)
- Nuts and seeds
Foods to Eat vs Food to Avoid
|Meat||Highly processed foods|
|Glutenfree grains and seeds||Coffee|
Hormones play a key role
Thyroid patients experience some other hormonal shifts which can get in the way of successful weight loss. For example:
- Thyroid patients should have ideas on the impact of hormones leptin and ghrelin on weight loss.
- Insulin resistance is also known as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes, it’s an ability which can affect your ability to lose weight.
Diet and exercise tip for Thyroid
Eat a balanced diet
Most dietitians recommend a balanced diet to get all the nutrients your body needs. This is even more important for people with hypothyroidism who often suffer from tiredness or low energy. It also helps to combat weight gain often associated with underactive thyroid disease. Focus your food around vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats, and eat smaller meals instead of 3 larger ones throughout the day to help keep your energy levels stable. Also, ask your doctor if you may need a multivitamin or other dietary supplement to meet your nutritional needs.
Iodine deficiency is the leading cause of hypothyroidism, and many sources argue that people with hypothyroidism need to increase their intake of iodine with things like iodized salt, fresh ocean fish and seaweed.
Keep a note on your soy intake
For some people, eating too much soya may have an impact on their thyroid function. If you are eating soy on a regular basis, tell your doctor. Also, eating soy at the same time as you take the thyroid hormone may interfere with its absorption. Try to wait at least three hours after you take your medication before you eat any soy products.
Take a pause before taking medications
Thyroid medicine works best in an empty stomach. It’s also best to wait at least 1 hour before taking any other medication. Wait at least 4 hours before taking any supplements, such as fibre, calcium, iron or multivitamins. Ask your doctor if you should take your medicine for better absorption at bedtime.
Do daily Exercise
We all know that exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle, but for people with hypothyroidism, it can do wonders to help boost energy, reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor about a regular exercise program that works on three critical elements: aerobic activity (or cardio), weight training (strengthening) and flexibility (e.g. with yoga or pilates) and before you try your skills.
Strike a Pose
Many patients with hypothyroidism have found that yoga is helpful, especially a posture called the shoulder stand, or sarvangasana, which increases the circulation of the thyroid. Lie on your back and lift your legs and lower body to the right angle of the floor so that the weight of your body is supported on your head, neck, shoulders and upper arms.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid disease, is a health problem that affects 1-2 percent of people worldwide. Fortunately, eating the right nutrients and taking medications can help to reduce your symptoms and improve your thyroid function. Nutrients that are great for your thyroid gland are iodine, selenium and zinc.
- Avoid processed foods
- Avoid soy
- Reduce stress
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain