[Note from Katie: I've gotten a lot of thyroid questions lately, so I asked a friend of mine, Christa Orecchio, a Clinical and Holistic Nutritionist who blogs at The Whole Journey, to provide some information on her experience working with clients with thyroid problems.]
Is it just me or are we hearing more often than not these days of many people who have thyroid disorders? I would say that at least half of my clientele has some kind of under-active thyroid situation that is adversely affecting their energy levels, weight, moods, and digestion.
The thyroid is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body. It’s located in the front of the neck. This gland, when it is not functioning optimally, can create havoc in our lives because it is responsible for making energy. I like to call it both the thermostat and the furnace of the human body.
It works hand-in-hand with our adrenal glands, the gas tank of the body.
This super important gland regulates metabolism, which keeps us at a healthy weight. It also keeps our moods happy and balanced, and helps us sleep deeply, and our digestion flowing. When any one of these things is out of whack, we simply don’t feel like ourselves.
The thyroid gland also controls how quickly the body makes and uses energy, makes protein and controls how sensitive the body is to other hormones – it also plays a critical role in our metabolism and ability to lose/gain weight
Today I want to tell you the signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid and five key food groups you can consume to support it.
How do you know if your thyroid is underactive?
Unexplained weight gain even with proper diet and exercise
Depression & exhaustion
Cold feet/hands – tingling in hands/arms
Dry and/or pale skin, coarse, thinning hair and brittle nails
Memory loss and poor concentration
Thinning on the outside of the eyebrows
What to do?
If you have any of these signs and symptoms, I’d suggest doing a two- week experiment of avoiding gluten and soy 100%. Gluten intolerance and autoimmune conditions of the thyroid gland are inextricably linked. In this situation when one eats gluten, the immune system gets the wrong signal to attack the thyroid.
Then there’s soy. I have written and talked a lot about soy and spoken out about it for years. Basically soy blocks the uptake of iodine, an essential mineral the thyroid needs. 60% of the iodine in our bodies is found in the thyroid gland. Iodine is also an essential mineral to protect us from breast and prostate cancer.
Next, add in these five key nutrient groups to support the thyroid…
How to Support the Thyroid:
Iodine Rich Foods
Promote thyroid to make more thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism, i.e. help with energy and weight loss/maintaining a healthy weight.
- Kelp / Seaweed (found in the Asian aisle of the health food store)
Selenium deficiency is a major factor in thyroid disorders. It maintains production of various thyroid hormones produced in the thyroid gland.
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Sunflower Seeds
- Brazil Nuts
Essential Fatty Acids – Omega 3s
- Fish Oil (I like fermented fish oil the best) [From Katie: I take this one]
- Dark leafy greens
- Chia seeds
Coconut Butter and Coconut Oil
Raw saturated fat that contains essential fatty acids that promote thyroid health. The fat in these foods is quickly converted to energy, which helps regulate thyroid function. This is why coconut oil and coconut butter can help you lose weight because they contain the good fats that help you burn the bad fats.
Copper and Iron Rich Foods
- Organ Meats
- Red meat
- Leafy Greens
Food can be medicine or the slowest form of poison. Adding these five food groups in will give you thyroid the essential nutrients it needs to thrive and that translates for you to mental clarity, perfect digestion, a balanced weight, and abundant energy!