Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain hormones that are vital for maintaining the balance of chemical reactions in the body and its healthy functioning. Women are at a greater risk of developing hypothyroidism than man, especially those older than age 60. If you’re suffering from this condition, it’s very important to start treatment as early as possible because if left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to a number of serious health problems such as infertility and heart disease.
These are the most prominent symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Weight gain and difficulty to lose weight
- Muscle weakness and frequent muscle aches
- Dry skin
- Dry hair and hair loss
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Stiff or swollen joints
- Low mood
- Memory loss
Luckily, besides taking pills, there are a lot of things that you can change in your current lifestyle to alleviate these symptoms and help reverse the condition. Here are the 10 natural remedies for hypothyroidism that you can use to shape up your thyroid gland and boost your overall health:
#1. Eliminate sugar and caffeine
Heavy consumption of caffeine and refined sugar overstresses your already troubled thyroid gland and can both directly and indirectly affect your thyroidal health negatively, so it’s best to cut them out completely. In addition, lowering your overall consumption of carbohydrates can help you straighten out hormonal imbalances caused by a malfunctioning thyroid.
#2. Increase protein consumption
Opt for high-quality sources of protein like Beef, fish and chicken. Studies have shown that protein plays a vital role in transporting the thyroid hormones to many tissues in the body, so enhancing your protein consumption can increase the efficiency of this process.
#3. More healthy fats
Trans fatty acids, present in highly refined vegetable oils are very harmful for the thyroid, as well as health in general. On the other hand, healthy fats have been shown to contribute to healthy thyroid function. Replace all regular cooking oils and margarine with coconut oil, virgin olive oil and butter.
#4. Go gluten-free
If you have autommune hypothyroidism, it’s almost critical to eliminate gluten from your diet. This is because the molecular structure of gliadin, the protein in gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland, so when gliadin enters the bloodstream your body launches an autoimmune attack on both gliadin and thyroid tissue.
#5. Maintain a healthy gut
Studies have shown that thyroid function is closely related to the gut’s health, more specifically the friendly bacteria found in your intestines. A healthier gut will translate to a more efficient thyroid gland, so it’s very important to keep your gut in check by taking probiotics and consuming probiotic-rich food on a regular basis.
#6. Up iodine intake
Since iodine is essential for making thyroid hormone, iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism worldwide. Therefore, maintaining adequate iodine levels by taking iodine supplements is crucial for treating a malfunctioning thyroid. Foods that contain high levels of iodine are seaweed and cranberries.
#7. Supplement with selenium
Besides iodine, the thyroid gland also needs adequate levels of selenium to produce thyroid hormones. Selenium deficiency increases the risk of hypothyroidism because it stops the activity of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant which controls inflammation and reduces oxidative stress. Some of the best sources of selenium are brazil nuts, salmon, beef, mushrooms and onions.
#8. Reduce stress
The thyroid gland is very sensitive to stress and chronic emotional turmoil can wreak havoc on your hormonal activity. Try to keep your thyroid in balance by reducing your stress and anxiety. Exercise, yoga, meditation and breathing techniques can help you maintain a relaxed state of mind.
#9. Watch out for goitrogens
Goitrogens are substances in certain foods that interfere with the production of thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake, so people with hypothyroidism should always cook these products to inactivate the goitrogens found in them, or just avoid them completely. On the list of most goitrogenic foods are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, soybeans, peanuts, peaches and millet.
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#10. Avoid all sources of fluoride
Fluoride suppresses thyroid function and is officially recognized as one of the leading causes of hypothyroidism. Avoid it by drinking spring water, reducing your intake of soft drinks and using fluoride-free toothpaste. Also, limit your consumption of both coffee and tea, since they naturally contain fluoride.