What to eat and avoid for a healthy thyroid gland
Located in front of our necks, thyroid is one of the most important organs of the human body. Responsible for metabolizing food, management of weight and even regulating sleep, women are more susceptible of sending the thyroid gland off balance due to hormonal changes. Irrespective, thyroid concerns cannot be ignored.
The most common condition i.e. hypothyroidism comes in play when the gland does not make sufficient thyroid hormone. This condition mostly leads to obesity, heart diseases, joint pain and even infertility.
Hang on, don’t panic! Apart from the clinical treatment, there are ways to naturally treat an imbalanced thyroid. The kind of food one eats can actually help the thyroid gland. The right kind of nutrients that our thyroid requires is available in a variety of natural foods. All that one really needs to do is make the right kind of choices to improve an overall thyroid health.
Foods that help balance the thyroid gland
Certain essential vitamins and minerals are needed for the thyroid to function properly. If one gets a thorough check done, the reason for an imbalance will come out in the open. According to researchers, iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, copper and Vitamin B are extremely essential for the thyroid to function properly. Here’s a look at food sources that contain these vital nutrients:
For Iodine: Apart from the regular iodised sea salt, one can incorporate a variety of seafood like salmon, shrimps and oysters to increase the iodine intake. Iodine is also found in spinach, eggs, garlic, mushrooms and sesame seeds (til).
For Selenium: The best sources of selenium are beef, mushroom, sunflower seeds and tuna. Brazilian nuts, which are not widely found in India, is also a good source of selenium.
For Zinc: Beef, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, whole grains and Brazilian nuts are good sources of zinc.
For Copper: Beef, nuts, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, oysters, crabs, lobsters and dark chocolate are great sources of copper.
Apart from the above mentioned nutrients, a proper functioning thyroid also needs a host of vitamins. The best sources are carrots, spinach and sweet potato for Vitamin A; citrus fruits, capsicum and papaya for Vitamin C; almonds, sunflower seed and peanuts for Vitamin E; egg yolks and almonds for Vitamin B2; chicken and peanuts for Vitamin B3 and seafood, bananas, walnuts and sunflower seeds for Vitamin B6.
Most medical experts recommend the consumption of supplements for these nutrients. But, nothing can match the nutritional value of natural foods. However, a person with a chronic thyroid condition has to also keep in mind certain foods that need to be avoided. It is as important to keep the disruptive foods away as it is to keep the acceptable foods stocked at all times.
Foods to stay away from
For those who are trying to heal thyroid conditions naturally, it’s important to stay away from certain foods, especially the ones that contain goitrogens – a substance known to restrict the production of thyroid hormones.
Patients are advised to avoid broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts, soybeans, peaches and strawberries. However cooking the cruciferous vegetables can reduce the effect they have on the thyroid gland. Another important substance, those suffering from a thyroid condition, need to avoid is gluten. Found in many foods, gluten can lead to several hormonal imbalances and hence should be avoided.
Though not spoken about widely, one needs to keep their stress level under check if they want to achieve a healthy thyroid. Stress can lead to hormonal imbalances and the way your body responds to certain food. So keep calm at all times and give your body enough rest as well to ensure you don’t upset the functioning of your thyroid.
Supporting your thyroid with natural foods may not be as easy as it seems. However, once you get the kind of foods to eat and avoid under control, maintaining a healthy thyroid will be a piece of cake!