Your Thyroid: Foods and Nutrients to Help
If your body was smooth running factory, your thyroid would be more than just the CEO… it would be the gang leader who has pictures of that CEO with another man’s wife. If you are like, “Shannon, that metaphor doesn’t make sense”, you may be right. What I am trying to say is your thyroid controls E-VA-RY-THING.
Thyroid hormones help your body regulate a few things - not a big deal - just the metabolism of ALL cells. And this is critical for maintaining a healthy body weight and having the energy to live your life.
In fact, your thyroid might just be the BIGGEST deal.
When you don’t have enough thyroid hormone pumping out, it’s called hypothyroidism. This can result in the slowing down of your metabolism and cause difficulty with weight control. Some of the other symptoms can include fatigue, forgetfulness, dry hair and skin, constipation, muscle cramping, and feeling cold…. Now as I write this I am realizing how many of these boxes I check off.
An underactive thyroid can be diagnosed from a blood test from your health professional. But be mindful that your doctor will often only look at your T4 levels, which need to be converted to T3 in order to function in the body. So your T4 levels could be normal, but your T3 hormones could be low because it is not converting.
HOW DOES THE THYROID BECOME UNDERACTIVE?
There are many reasons why your thyroid may become underactive. The most common is autoimmunity, where the immune cells attack other cells in the body. In this case, the cells of the thyroid gland.
It can also be the result of low levels of iodine, which is an essential mineral. Combining that with high levels of goitrogens (food substances that inhibit iodine from getting into thyroid) and you can be at risk for an iodine deficiency. If you are a lucky prairie girl like me, you are at an even higher risk of iodine deficiency because there is very little iodine in our soil and therefore in our foods.
Iodine supplementation can lead to goiter and other thyroid issues if it is not needed so it is critical to have your iodine levels checked by a health care professional before going on any iodine supplements.
FOODS AND NUTRIENTS FOR YOUR THYROID
Enough iodine from food - Iodine is naturally found in fish and seafood. Other foods that contain iodine are navy beans, potatoes, and eggs. Sometimes levels of natural iodine depend on the amount of iodine in the soil. Iodine is also added (i.e., fortified) to some foods.
PRO TIP: During pregnancy and breastfeeding iodine requirements increase by up to 60%, so pay attention to eat enough iodine-containing foods.
Enough selenium from food - Some people recommend selenium (another essential mineral) to support the thyroid. Incorporate some selenium-rich foods like Brazil nuts, mushrooms, meat, and fish.
Reduce goitrogens - Goitrogens are plant-estrogens that prevent the iodine in your blood from getting into your thyroid where it's needed to make thyroid hormones. Goitrogens themselves are not that powerful, unless they're eaten excessively, or are combined with a diet already low in iodine. They are found in "cruciferous" foods such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Goitrogens can be deactivated by cooking the foods they're found in. Because these cruciferous vegetables are very nutritious, you may choose to cook them instead of eliminating them altogether.
Enough protein - One of the common symptoms of thyroid issues is the inability to lose weight. If this is the case, one thing you can eat more of is protein. Protein has a "thermogenic effect" because your body has to spend energy metabolizing protein; this means that calorie-for-calorie, carbs will promote weight gain more than protein will.
Gluten-free - Try going gluten-free. There is evidence of a link between underactive thyroid and gluten sensitivity. There may be a "cross-reactivity" where the immune cells that are sensitized to gluten can attack the thyroid cells by mistake; this is essentially how autoimmunity works and can affect more than just your thyroid. You might request getting tested for celiac disease if you are experiencing thyroid issues.
Lifestyle upgrade - Weight gain and difficulty losing weight are very common when it comes to thyroid issues. In this case, it’s important to get enough regular exercise, enough quality sleep, and reduce stress.
Low to Moderate Carbs – Eating a diet lower in carbs can help maintain your weight but it is important not to cut out carbs completely or go too low (such as the Keto diet) as too few carbs has been shown to reduce thyroid hormone levels. If you are looking for a good balance of carbs to have effective weight loss while supporting your thyroid function The Thrive Formula is the perfect system for you. It is my signature program that keeps the perfect ratio for health, energy and weight loss.
If you have concerns about your thyroid, then ask to be tested. That along with testing for celiac disease can help to confirm your best plan to move forward in good health.
Foods to support your thyroid include iodine- and selenium-containing foods, cooked cruciferous foods, and gluten-free foods. Don't forget to eat enough protein to help boost your metabolism. Also, consider reducing the amount of raw cruciferous foods you eat.
Supplementing with iodine or selenium should only be done with a health professional’s advice.
And regular exercise, quality sleep, and stress-reduction are all part of the holistic approach to supporting your thyroid.
Do you or someone you know have concerns about thyroid issues and weight reduction? Book a FREE Thriving Metabolism Breakthrough Call to find out how The Thrive Formula can support your thyroid hormones while helping you finally shed the weight.
THYROID SUPPORTING SHRIMP AND VEGGIE STIR-FRY
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts, halved 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
½ pound shrimp, fresh or defrosted
Sauce: 1 tsp honey 2 tbsp coconut aminos or tamari (gluten-free soy sauce alternative) 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 dashes cayenne pepper, optional
Heat wok or large skillet with oil.
Add Brussels sprouts and fry until they're golden (4-5 minutes).
In a bowl, make the sauce by combining the honey, aminos/tamari, garlic, and cayenne, if using.
Add mushrooms and salt and fry for 1-2 minutes.
Add shrimp and fry until they're cooked and turn pink.
Add sauce to skillet. Toss and cook until heated through.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Serve on a bed of cooked rice or quinoa.