Thyroid Health By Lynn Adada
The thyroid produces hormones that are responsible for coordinating energy, growth, and metabolism throughout the body. Thyroid disorders can range from a small, harmless goiter (enlarged gland) that needs no treatment to life-threatening cancer. Licensed Nutritionist and Dietitian, Lynn Adada, will explain why thyroid health is so important and how to fix a bad thyroid.
What is a thyroid?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck just below Adam’s apple. It’s part of an intricate network of glands called the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for coordinating many of your body’s activities.
Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body — releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your body’s systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.
The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones — T4 and T3. These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the body’s cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.
Several different disorders can arise when your thyroid produces too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism).
What is the cause of thyroid imbalance?
Thyroid imbalance may occur due to genetics, menopause, and even autoimmune disease. It basically depends on each body. Lynn’s advice is to get regular annual thyroid checkups to make sure that your thyroid is working properly and producing the right amount of hormones.
How to care for your thyroid?
First, try to change your lifestyle starting with your eating behavior. One of the most important things you can do to maintain a healthy thyroid is eating a well-balanced diet. Seventy percent of our autoimmune system is found in our intestines, known as GALT, or gut-associated lymphoid tissue. When the intestinal lining becomes inflamed, it can trigger an immune response. Studies show that this plays a role in the development of thyroid disease.
Exercising also helps to manage your thyroid. If that doesn’t work, you can always check with your doctor so they can prescribe you some medication.
Which foods to eat and which to avoid for a healthy thyroid?
To ensure that you remain as healthy as possible it is important to eat the right variety of foods in the correct proportions. Lynn recommends you should try to:
- Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- Base meals on higher fiber starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice, or pasta
- Have some dairy or dairy alternatives
- Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat, and other protein
- Focus on whole grains, iodine-, selenium-, and zinc-rich foods
- Snack on nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.)
- Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
- Avoid fried food, processed food, and even high glycogen food (raw cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). Try to cook the vegetables instead.
- Avoid refined carbs and substitute them for healthy greens or healthy carbs like quinoa
- Avoid smoking
- Add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices into your diet like turmeric
- Drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)
Don’t forget to reduce or manage your stress because the impact of stress on the thyroid occurs by slowing your body's metabolism. This is another way that stress and weight gain are linked. When thyroid function slows during stress, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormone levels fall.
Finally, make sure you are getting enough sleep - between 6 and 8 hours a night. And remember that everything you put in your body can affect it in a positive or negative way!
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Mint Basil Market team or comment below.
Mint Basil Market’s mission is to make healthy living easy and accessible to all. Mint Basil Market is an online market hosting a wide-range of healthy natural products from food, natural beauty and cosmetics to eco-friendly household cleaning products. We deliver anywhere in Lebanon for free.
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