Thyroid, the small butterfly-shaped gland is possibly the most important gland and a vital part of your endocrine system. Often the most misunderstood and mismanaged gland, thyroid problems affect millions of people around the world. Located in the front of our neck, the thyroid gland is responsible for secreting all-important hormones that control major bodily functions right from how our body uses energy, defining our sleeping patterns to weight management. Women, in particular, are more susceptible to suffer from a thyroid condition owing to hormones shifting out of balance due to menopause, childbirth or even chronic stress. When your thyroid slows down, everything else comes to a standstill which is when fatigue and stress kicks in and weight gain happens.
For the proper functioning of the Thyroid, it needs very specific nutrients to maintain good health. Fortunately for you, by exercising control over your dietary intake, there are natural solutions for balancing your thyroid function and in turn, improve thyroid health and boost the effectiveness of your metabolism master.
Adequate dietary iodine is essential for normal thyroid function and seaweeds just so proves to be an excellent source of iodine with one of the highest concentrations of iodine present. Additionally, it’s filled with potassium and is protein rich as well.
Selenium is another important element necessary for thyroid function and Brazil nuts prove a rich dietary source of Selenium. Extremely crucial in converting T4 (thyroxine hormone) into active T3, Selenium also helps safeguard the gland from inflammatory byproducts of thyroid hormone production. What more, they are rich in an amino acid called L-arginine which helps aiding with weight loss as well.
Another outstanding source of Iodine, fishes like Cod, Salmon and haddock exhibit a whole range of health benefits thanks to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acid contains anti-inflammatory properties which prevent the thyroid from getting inflated and also help in burning excessive fat.
Turkey is another great source of Selenium while also being a good source for lean protein requirements. Additionally, it’s also rich in iron and essential amino acids.
Coconuts are often considered an all-rounder when it comes to a nutrient source and it helps deal with thyroid issues as well. Coconuts are rich in essential fatty acids known as medium chain triglicerides (MCTs) which are needed for regulating the metabolism while aiding in weight loss as well.
Green tea proves its magical worth yet again and aids in improving the health of your thyroid. Rich in antioxidant catechins, Green tea is an effective fat burner while also famed for its ability to convert fat into energy.
Cruciferous vegetables are often dubbed as cancer and thyroid killer due to the myriad of nutrients packed in them. Rich in calcium, vitamin A, B, C and D, iron, magnesium and a host of antioxidants, cruciferous vegetables like Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, Turnip Greens, Bok Choy, Cauliflower, Swiss chard etc not only caters to your thyroid needs but also helps killing cancer cells while protecting overall health.
Various studies have linked Garlic with controlling fat levels in the blood while also supporting blood-sugar metabolism. Garlic helps in neutralising the ill effects of foods rich in fats and carbohydrates while providing the necessary boost your immune system needs to combat high blood pressure, fight inflammation and to ward off heart diseases.
Beans or lentils are an excellent source of iron and zinc and provide nearly a third of your daily iron needs. A great source of Selenium as well, beans are known to drive down blood pressure and reduce the content of bad cholesterol.
Milk and other dairy products like yoghurt and cheese are rich in Calcium which helps with the metabolism of fat and contains a healthy dose of iodine as well.
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is rich in antioxidants and helps in regulating metabolism while also providing adequate quantities of healthy sugars as well.
The first step in maintaining thyroid health is eating clean and smart and avoiding dietary extremes. Managing stress levels is also paramount as our digestive systems cease to work efficiently when we are stressed and on the move. The need to sit down and consume meals cannot be stressed enough as it goes a long way to potentially reversing your thyroid condition. Sit with your family and friends, enjoy, talk, laugh and you will instantly notice a change in your overall body health and functions.