Protect Thyroid Health and Balance Hormones with These Foods
Balancing your hormones naturally and learning how to protect thyroid health, is critical to every function inside you and how you feel day by day.
Unfortunately, your body is blasted regularly with compounds that mimic the hormones your body produces, overwhelming your system. Your diet and lifestyle habits can deplete your hormones, leaving you deficient. When your hormone levels are too high or too low, it can make you feel like a stranger in your own skin. Hormone balance is vital to overall health.
The Thyroid Dysfunction Epidemic (No One Knows About)
In the United States alone, more than 20 million people suffer from a thyroid disorder and the American Thyroid Association estimates that 12% of the population will struggle with thyroid issues within their lifetime.1
It’s an epidemic and many remain undiagnosed, unaware that their thyroid is in danger. The primary reason for this is that many patients (as well as their doctors) mistake the common symptoms of thyroid dysfunction for something else entirely.
10 Major Signs You Need to Take Steps to Protect Your Thyroid
- Low energy: persistent exhaustion no matter how much sleep you get
- Poor sleep quality: being unable to sleep or wanting to sleep all the time
- Mood swings: feelings of sadness or anxiety
- Changes to appetite: including changes to food preferences or altered taste
- Brain fog: inability to concentrate or difficulty with simple cognition
- Bowel irregularity: bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea
- Temperature sensitivity: you persistently feel too hot or too cold
- Chronic pain: aches in joints or muscles for no discernible reason
- Reproductive issues: infertility, miscarriages, or premature births
- Menstrual changes: increase or decrease in cramps, flow, or length of periods2
The Role of Your Thyroid
There are two hormones [thyroxine (T-4) and triiodothyronine (T-3)] produced by your thyroid gland – a butterfly shaped gland in your lower throat. These are responsible for managing your metabolism, body temperature, and blood pressure.
Though this part of the endocrine system is small, it is mighty. It literally effects every organ and function inside you because every cell utilizes thyroid hormones.
When this gland malfunctions, it can cause all sorts of chaos. There are three primary forms of thyroid dysfunction that you need to watch for (and guard against).
- Hyperthyroidism (less common) is when your thyroid produces too many hormones. It is also referred to as an overactive thyroid. This condition can result in unexplained weight loss, feeling jittery or anxious, an inability to relax, lack of focus, rapid heart rate, fatigue, marked increase to appetite, deterioration of nails, skin, and hair, heart disease, irritability, sleep irregularity, and intolerance to heat.3
- Hypothyroidism (most common) is the term used when your thyroid produces too few hormones. It is also referred to as an under-active or sluggish thyroid. You may notice no symptoms initially, but they tend to appear and worsen as time goes by. Deficiency in essential hormones lead to feelings of fatigue, depression, obesity, pain in joints, muscle weakness, deterioration of hair, skin, and nails, heart disease, poor memory and focus, and intolerance to cold.4
- Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune condition. Your immune system malfunctions and sends out antibodies to attack thyroid tissue. Over time, the thyroid is beaten down and unable to function properly. The majority of patients with hypothyroidism test positive for these antibodies. It is important to keep your immune system strong and lower body-wide inflammation to prevent these antibodies from destroying your thyroid.5
Your thyroid is stimulated by signals from your brain’s hypothalamus and your pituitary gland tells the thyroid gland to either produce hormones or to hold back. When the signals are blocked or incorrect, it can result in serious repercussions throughout your system.
Common Triggers of Thyroid Malfunction
- Nutritional deficiency (particularly iodine)
- Autoimmune disease that stimulates hormone production (Grave’s)
- Benign lumps that stimulate thyroid hormone production (Plummer’s)
- Inflammation that triggers excess hormones to flood the blood (thyroiditis)
- Physical, mental, or emotional stress
- Environmental toxins
No matter your age, it is critical to protect your thyroid function. Problems can develop in adults, children, and even infants. Newborns tested and treated early respond well and the safeguard may prevent poor mental development.
There are synthetic hormones available through the pharmaceutical companies. In fact, thyroid medications are the fourth highest selling drugs in the United States. They may help to get your thyroid back on track. However, patients must possess a thyroid that no longer functions for the synthetic replacements to work.
Preventing the destruction of your thyroid in the first place is a far better solution. There are steps you can take to protect your thyroid naturally through diet and lifestyle.
5 Best Foods for Your Thyroid
- Seaweed and seafood (scallops, shrimp, sardines, salmon, and tuna)
- Yogurt, eggs, and cheese
- Coconut oil
- Cranberries and cranberry juice
- Baked potatoes (with skin)
5 Worst Foods for Thyroid Health
- Soy products
- Refined gluten grains
- Sodas, alcohol, or excessive coffee
- Hydrogenated oils (avoid processed or fast foods)
- Refined sugar
Using Vitamin C to Balance Hormones
Increased consumption of foods rich in vitamin C has been proven to fight cancer and improve overall health. When molecules become unstable due to damage or mutation, vitamin C is considered a “universal donor” – able to contribute molecules to reestablish molecule stability.
In one study conducted published in Radiation Physics and Chemistry journal, researchers found that vitamin C stimulated almost 100% regeneration of estrone (estrogen), more than 50% of progesterone, and almost 60% of testosterone.6
Researchers are hopeful that this will lead to an alternative treatment to hormone replacement therapy (synthetic hormones that increase cancer risk after just a few years of use). HRTs are also implicated in a higher risk of stroke and sudden death.
However, vitamin C can be taken at high doses safely and is beneficial in many ways to overall human health, including strengthened immunity, preserved vision, anti-aging, and protection against heart disease.
Don’t Ignore Your Thyroid
Strange symptoms you can’t explain may be due to hormone imbalance. Talk to your doctor about testing. If your hormone levels are off, even if you’re given a prescription, there are natural ways to bring them back in balance.
Currently, there is no cure for autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s that cause extensive damage to the thyroid and result in additional health conditions such as hypothyroidism. As with most autoimmune disorders, it’s crucial to pay close attention to diet and lifestyle habits. It may not reverse thyroid damage, but it will slow deterioration and ease symptoms.
Each of your internal systems are connected. They depend on each other to function properly. Therefore, if you eat right for your thyroid, it’s going to be good for your brain, heart, gut, and so on. Making good diet and lifestyle choices to protect your thyroid is good for your entire body.
1 World Health Organization: Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs)
2 Mayo Clinic: Diseases and Conditions: Endocarditis
3 Department of Endodontics, School of Dentistry: Endocarditis-associated oral streptococci promote rapid differentiation of monocytes into mature dendritic cells
4 Center for Oral Health and Systemic Disease, University of Louisville Health Sciences Center: TLR2 Transmodulates Monocyte Adhesion and Transmigration via Rac1- and PI3K-Mediated Inside-Out Signaling in Response to Porphyromonas gingivalis Fimbriae
5 Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine: Fimbria-dependent activation of pro-inflammatory molecules in Porphyromonas gingivalis infected human aortic endothelial cells
6 Discovery: How Mouth Bacteria End Up in the Heart
7 Massachusetts Dental Society: A Healthy Mouth Can Mean a Healthier You
8 Ask the Dentist: The 5 Worst Supermarket Foods for Your Teeth
9 Precision Nutrition: The Dental Diet: 10 Nutrition Strategies for Healthy Teeth