The thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of the neck, plays a vital role in maintaining our overall health. It produces hormones that regulate metabolism, energy production, and several essential bodily functions. Keeping your thyroid healthy is crucial for your well-being. Here are several ways we can naturally support our thyroid:
A Balanced Diet
Nutrition is a cornerstone of thyroid health. Incorporating the right nutrients into your diet can make a significant difference. Including these in your diet can support the thyroid as well as overall health:
- Iodine: Iodine is a crucial element in thyroid hormone production. Include iodized salt, seafood, dairy, and seaweed in your diet to ensure an adequate intake of iodine.
- Selenium: Selenium helps the body convert thyroid hormones. Foods like Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and whole grains are excellent sources of selenium.
- Tyrosine: Tyrosine is an amino acid essential for thyroid hormone synthesis. Foods rich in tyrosine include lean meats, fish, tofu, and dairy products.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: While they contain goitrogens that can interfere with thyroid function when consumed in excess, cooking these vegetables can reduce their goitrogenic effects. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale are excellent sources of essential nutrients.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fatty fish like salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and support thyroid function.
Staying properly hydrated is essential for thyroid health. Water is essential for the conversion of thyroid hormones in the body. Aim to drink at least 64-80oz of water per day. If you are more active, you may need more than this to support the body. Just plain water isn’t always enough. Sometimes you’ll need minerals and electrolytes to help keep sodium and potassium levels regulated within the body.
Chronic stress can negatively impact thyroid function. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness to help keep stress levels in check. Stress can be chemical, physical, emotional, environmental, and physiological.
Physical activity is essential for overall health, not just thyroid health. Exercise helps regulate metabolism and can assist in weight management, which is crucial for individuals with thyroid disorders. Aim for 20-30 minutes of movement per day. It doesn’t always have to be a high-intensity workout for it to be effective.
Thyroid Function Testing
Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider are essential for monitoring your thyroid function. If you have a family history of thyroid disorders or are experiencing symptoms like fatigue, weight changes, or mood swings, discuss thyroid function testing with your doctor or during our functional medicine consults. Thyroid levels should be checked on a regular basis as well as routine blood work like a CBC and CMP.
Environmental toxins can disrupt thyroid function. Minimize exposure to toxins by choosing organic foods, using natural cleaning products, and filtering your drinking water if necessary. Additionally, avoid putting any chemical-based lotions or perfumes on the area over the thyroid. Our skin is our largest organ and what we put on it easily gets absorbed into the body.
Certain herbs like ashwagandha and ginseng have been traditionally used to support thyroid health. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating herbal supplements into your routine. Supplement recommendations can be done in our office with chiropractic and functional medicine patients.
If you have questions about your thyroid health or are experiencing symptoms related to thyroid dysfunction, please reach out to our office and see what we can do to help. Having a healthy thyroid is essential for total body wellness.