Your exposure to stress is likely constant, the soil in which your foods are grown in are nutritionally deplete and toxins are ubiquitous in your environment. The chances are your thyroid gland at some stage in your your life will struggle to keep up with its daily demands.
When you start to experience the muscle pain, poor energy, sluggish digestion, low moods, cold feelings and/ or weight struggles associated with an under active thyroid, you will want to do anything in your power to reverse the condition.
You can read more about detection of thyroid issues here. If a lazy thyroid is weighing you or a loved one down, try these simple tips to nourish your thyroid, and help reverse the draining side effects.
COOK WITH COCONUT OIL
One of the main reasons I love coconut oil, is due to its ability to nourish the thyroid gland and therefore support your energy levels. The body converts the oil straight into energy, bypassing the liver and therefore avoiding stress on the digestive organs.
Leave your weight worries in relation to the coconut oil use behind, as it has thermogenic properties which actually stimulate your metabolism. Coconut is also immune protective, so if you’re struggling with the auto-immune condition of Hashimotos Thyroiditis, it may also be beneficial for you.
Coconut oil is a stable oil to cook with (no dangerous trans-fat production), you can add into recipes such as smoothies, or if you don’t mind the taste, take straight off the spoon when you’re in need of a natural pick-me-up.
ADD SEAWEEDS INTO YOUR DAY.
Seaweeds are a nourishing sea vegetable, naturally high in the mineral iodine. Iodine is crucial for thyroid health, as it is stored in the thyroid and is crucial for the production of thyroid hormone.
Unfortunately Australian soils are deficient in iodine, contributing to many common health conditions. These include hypothyroidism, low IQ, impaired growth, arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, low stomach acid, dry eyes, low energy and metabolic rate, ADHD in offspring of an iodine deficient mother, dry mouth, fibrocystic breast disease, dry skin and hair and poor nail growth. Iodine deficiency can also lead to breast, endometrial, ovarian, stomach, thyroid and uterine cancer. Woah, give me some seaweed now!
Iodine deficiency is further exacerbated by frequent exposure to bromide from pesticides (in conventionally farmed produce), plastics (including plastics computers and laptops are made from), breads and other baked goods, soft drinks, medications and fire retardants.
You will therefore likely benefit from the addition of seaweeds into your diet. Seaweed types to try include nori, wakame, arame, kelp and dulse. My favourite and to be honest, easiest way of adding seasweed into my day, is by sprinkling dulse flakes into bone broth, soups, salads, or over cooked meals. 1-2 tsp per day is a nourishing amount. This is my recommended brand of seaweed salt.
SAY NO TO SOY
Soy is a type of food called a goitrogen. which compete with iodine uptake in the body. You now know how important the mineral iodine is for the thyroid. Lower iodine levels, lead to a sluggish thyroid gland and therefore less thyroid hormone available for body functions, such as brain development, maturation, regulating temperature, energy levels and metabolism.
Even after fermentation (into miso, natto, tempeh and tamari), soy products may still disrupt thyroid function, but these options are the safest for overall health if you do reach for soy. Just be sure they are organic and GM free.
COOK YOUR CRUCIFEROUS
As healthy as they are for liver detoxification, particularly for Oestrogen dominance in the body, cruciferous vegetables are also a goitrogen. These vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy and watercress. Once cooked however, the goitrogen properties are no longer an issue. I recommend to lightly steam or stir-fry.
Fermenting cabbage on the other hand, actually increases the levels of goitrogens that it contains, however reduces the level of nitriles by half. Nitriles are a more toxic chemical found in cruciferous veg that impacts thyroid health. So if anything fermenting these vegetables (such as sauerkraut and kimchi), has a neutral, to slightly beneficial effect.
The most important thing to be aware of is that if your iodine intake is sufficient, having 1-2 tbsp sauerkraut with meals, along with 3-6 servings of other cooked cruciferous vegetables per week, the goitrogens will not affect your thyroid health. When iodine levels are deficient however, goitrogens will have an impact.
GO WITHOUT WHEAT AND SUGAR
Wheat is a highly sprayed, gluten containing inflammatory grain, which can contribute to thyroid gland stress. You can learn about how glyphosate exposure (the chemical wheat is sprayed with) can impact your health, here.
Wheat and wheat products may also increase your blood sugar levels and contribute to insulin resistance over time. Every time your blood sugar and insulin levels are increased, this puts pressure on your vulnerable adrenal glands, which are integral for the health of the thyroid. Want more tips for supporting your adrenals? Read this one.
High refined sugar intake also contributes to damaging blood sugar imbalance issues that consequently lead to insulin resistance and weight gain in the body. Limiting even natural sweeteners will also improve your insulin sensitivity, but if desired, fresh, whole fruit is the pick contain important nutrients and fibre (berries are my pick of the bunch).
Going sugar and wheat free may help reduce inflammation levels in your body and therefore improve overall hormone health including the way you both look and feel- less puffy, lowered pain, sharper brain function and increased energy.
REACH FOR ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils contain precious compounds (from the plant they are extracted from), which when reached the body may provide support for you and your hormones.
I’ve found a combination of applying essential oils topically (to the thyroid, chest, back of neck, lower abdomen, hands and feet) twice daily along with diffusing regularly, to help out a struggling thyroid gland. Try these oil blends for at least 3 months to determine if they help you.
- I would recommend massaging on a diluted blend of Frankincense with a carrier oil, over your thyroid, morning and night for its ability to clear the brain fog and soothe any inflammation driving your thyroid imbalance. Rose geranium is another oil that may help further ease inflammation.
- If you add in Cilantro, this will support your detoxification.
- Massage a diluted blend of any or all of the following oils: Lavender, Chamomile, Magnolia and Copaiba over your adrenals, for stress relieving and sleep restorative benefits for your adrenal health, especially with a condition of hyperthyroidism. Lavender and roman chamomile can also help when you're feeling the effects of depression.
- Reach for citrus, rosemary and spearmint or peppermint to spark mental clarity and prevent you feeling too sleepy with using this blend during the day. Peppermint can also ease the unwanted aches that can present with a thyroid imbalance.
- Lemongrass can be uplifting in a case of hypothyroidism, but is also a useful oil to add for easing inflammation and balancing a case of Hashimotos.
NOURISH YOUR THYROID AND FEEL THE DIFFERENCE
Before you reach for numerous supplements, ensure you get the foundations right. Along with gut health and de-stress support, start with these simple diet and lifestyle changes to provide your thyroid gland with key support.
For a much more detailed look at thyroid (and other hormone) support, see my book, Balanced The Natural Way To Healthy Hormones.