Thyroid Health 101

Thyroid 101 - is your thyroid making you fat

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 from The Whole Journey, to provide some information on her experience working with clients with thyroid health. Enter Christa.

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 under-active thyroid and five key food groups you can consume to support thyroid health.

How to Know if your Thyroid is Under Active?

  • Unexplained weight gain even with proper diet and exercise
  • Depression and exhaustion
  • Cold feet/hands – tingling in hands/arms
  • Dry and/or pale skin, coarse, thinning hair and brittle nails
  • Puffy eyes
  • Memory loss and poor concentration
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Thinning on the outside of the eyebrows

What to Do if Your Thyroid is Under Active

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 Thyroid Health

There are several ways to help support the thyroid, such as:

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)
  • Onions
  • Artichokes
  • Pineapple


Selenium deficiency is a major factor in thyroid disorders. It maintains production of various thyroid hormones produced in the thyroid gland.

Essential Fatty Acids – Omega 3s

  • Fish Oil (I like fermented fish oil the best) [From Katie: I take this one]
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Flaxseed
  • 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

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!

Christa OrecchioChrista Orecchio is a clinical and holistic nutritionist with a mission to help as many people as possible using food as medicine so that they can thrive. She’s a Wellness Media Featured Contributor, and author of “The Whole Journey Cookbook: 180 Delicious Ways to Use Food as Medicine“. Learn more about Christa on her website, The Whole Journey.

Do you have thyroid issues? What have you done to help? Share below!

Thyroid health is integral for hormone balance. Find out how foods like coconut oil, seafood & selenium-rich foods can help your thyroid stay healthy.

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