Top 10 Foods That Boost Your Thyroid
Your thyroid, one of the largest endocrine glands, greatly influences almost every cell in your body.
Aside from regulating your metabolism and weight by controlling the fat-burning process, thyroid hormones are also required for the growth and development in children and in nearly every physiological process in your body.
Turmeric and Thyroid Health
When your thyroid levels are out of balance, so are you. Too much or too little hormone secretion in this gland can spell trouble for your overall health and well-being.
Turmeric is one of the most potent spices, and when it comes to health benefits, nothing can match it. Not only is turmeric one of the most impressive free radical scavengers, it’s also been shown to support brain health, protect cell integrity, and even encourage a balanced mood.
New research is showing that turmeric may also play a key role in supporting thyroid health.
If you want to be healthy, your thyroid needs to be healthy. It regulates metabolism and keeps hormonal health in check. To say it’s important is an understatement.
Unfortunately, everything from plastics to pesticides are disturbing the thyroid’s delicate balance, contributing to the current rise of thyroid disorders.
Here's what to eat (and why) to improve your thyroid function:
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Eat them raw, cooked or juiced. I know you've been advised not to eat them raw, but doesn't it strike you as strange that plant foods with the richest source of cancer-preventing phytonutrients would inhibit thyroid function? It did to me. If this was true, what was the mechanism behind it and where was the research on humans?
Back in the 1950's, scientists questioned if certain foods had goitrogenic properties, which is the ability to produce a goiter because they suppressed thyroid function. Cruciferous vegetables were implicated because their raw glucosinolates (the precise phytonutrients that are cancer protective) might inhibit the intake of iodine. Might inhibit the intake of iodine? If that's the reason, you're missing out on a whole host of benefits from eating cruciferous vegetables on the possibility that they might knock out iodine. The far more sensible approach is to ensure sufficient iodine levels (see point 3).
In terms of human research, studies suggesting a strong link between cruciferous vegetables and thyroid disease are limited. Type "raw cruciferous vegetables" and "thyroid" into the ncbi database and you'll find one incident from 1945 when a Chinese woman who ate 3.3 pounds of raw bok choy daily for several months and suffered myxedema. The vast majority of the research supports the consumption of cruciferous vegetables to prevent thyroid cancer.
Ask questions any time plant-based food is implicated in a negative health condition. Ask how it works and where the research on humans is, then make your decision.
2. Brazil Nuts
These are the richest dietary source of selenium, which is essential in converting thyroxine to its active form, T3. Sometimes people with Hashimoto's are advised to avoid selenium. You need selenium for glutathione production to help decrease thyroid antibodies. Snack on three Brazil nuts per day.
3. Sea Vegetables
Sea vegetables are rich in iodine. Iodine attaches to tyrosine (an amino acid) to form thyroxine. If you have insufficient levels of iodine, it becomes a rate-limiting step in the production of thyroid hormones and you'll inhibit your thyroid function. Snack on nori dusted with sea salt, make nori wraps filled with avocado, wild salmon, sweet potato, sprouts and mache, add hijiki to a kale and pumpkin seed salad, eat wakame in a miso soup or add dulse to a butternut squash soup.
Drink a shot of chlorophyll upon waking to help boost energy levels and remove heavy metals that may be inhibiting thyroid function.
Helps to balance the hypothalamus and pituitary, which release TRH (thyroid-releasing hormone) and TSH respectively. These hormones regulate thyroxinelevels. Maca also contains zinc, B vitamins and iron, which are all required for optimal thyroid production.
6. Avoid Gluten - No Gluten!
If you have Hashimoto's, you must avoid gluten, because it can initiate thyroid antibody production. I've seen TPO levels drop from the 1000s to less than 30 just from removing gluten.
7. Avoid Soy Protein Isolate!
While the research on fermented soy and thyroid function is mixed, soy protein isolate should be avoided. This means no junky soy foods like soy cheese, soy yogurt, energy bars with soy protein isolate, soy burgers and soy-based "meats."
Eat clean and smart, take the right supplements, manage your stress levels and avoid environmental toxins, and you'll have the ability to potentially reverse your thyroid condition.
Your thyroid needs iodine to work properly and produce enough TH for your body's needs. Don't get enough iodine, and you run the risk of hypothyroidism or a goiter(a thyroid gland that becomes enlarged to make up for the shortage of thyroid hormone). Most Americans have no problem getting enough iodine, since table salt is iodized—but if you're on a low-sodium diet (as an increasing number of Americans are for their heart health) or follow a vegan diet (more on that later), then you may need to up your intake from other sources.
9. Fresh Caught Wild Fish
Since iodine is found in soils and seawater, fish are another good source of this nutrient.
In fact, researchers have long known that people who live in remote, mountainous regions with no access to the sea are at risk for goiters. "The most convincing evidence we have [for thyroid problems] is the absence of adequate nutrition," says Salvatore Caruana, MD, the director of the division of head and neck surgery in the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at ColumbiaDoctors.
Increasing the dietary intake of EPA and DHA through consumption of fatty fish or fish-oil supplements, reductions may be achieved in the incidence of many chronic diseases that involve inflammatory processes; most notably, these include cardiovascular diseases, thyroid disorders, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis, but psychiatric and neurodegenerative illnesses are other examples.
10. Organic Eggs
One large egg contains about 16% of the iodine and 20% of the selenium you need for the day, making them a thyroid superfood. If you haven't been instructed otherwise by your doctor, eat the whole egg (try our foolproof trick for cooking eggs over easy)—much of that iodine and selenium is located in the yolk, says Ilic.