The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located in the neck which secrets thyroid hormones. The main purpose of these hormones is to regulate the rate of the metabolism and the synthesis of proteins. There are numerous diseases that can affect this gland, one of which is hypothyroidism. This condition, also known as underactive thyroid or low thyroid, means that the gland is not secreting the sufficient amount of thyroid hormones.
The thyroid gland produces the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) which are not only responsible for the metabolic rate, but also have an impact on the mood, energy levels, body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure.
If you’re suffering from an underactive thyroid, you may experience constant fatigue, sudden weight gain and inability to lose weight, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, extremely dry skin, puffy face, hoarseness, high blood cholesterol levels, muscle aches, joint pain, thinning hair and impaired memory.
These symptoms may appear in milder forms at the beginning, but they will gradually worsen and become more pronounced as your metabolism continues to slow. But there are ways to treat this condition. Prescription medication, including synthetic thyroid hormones, have been proven to be successful in alleviating the symptoms – it’s not a cure, but it will keep the condition under control.
However, besides the pills, you could also include certain foods in your diet which will boost your thyroid health and your metabolism. Here are your 10 best choices to improve to your underactive thyroid, courtesy of Top 10 Home Remedies.
1. Brazil Nuts
In order to function correctly, the thyroid need selenium. This mineral protects the thyroid by helping remove certain noxious substances. The connection between low selenium levels and the increased risk of thyroid problems has been discussed in a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2015.
The human body doesn’t produce selenium, which means that we must obtain this vital mineral through food or supplements. One of the best sources of selenium are Brazil nuts. In fact, you only need to eat two or three nuts a day to supply your body with the necessary amount of selenium, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008.
Eat the nuts as a healthy snack, include them in a salad, or put them in a stir fry. Whichever way you choose, this will make sure you don’t need to take any supplements to improve your levels of selenium. Besides, these nuts also help you lose weigh as they contain a lot of the amino acid L-arginine.
2. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is rich in healthy fatty acids that stimulate the production of the thyroid hormone and help ensure the normal functioning of the gland. The oil also contributes to weight loss and lowering the levels of cholesterol in the blood – two conditions that could be the result of an underactive thyroid.
Use extra virgin coconut oil instead of the regular cooking oil, and also to replace the butter when you’re baking. Or you can add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil to a glass of milk, tea, hot chocolate, or smoothie. Just be careful not to consume more than 3 tablespoons a day.
Yogurt helps improve your thyroid health because of it contains vitamin D. The Endocrine Practice published a study in 2013 that connected the vitamin D deficiency and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that is one of the leading causes for hypothyroidism.
Yogurt has other benefits as well. It helps maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, and it’s a source of calcium, protein, and iodine, which are important not only for your thyroid gland, but for your health in general. Try to add at least 1 cup of yogurt in your daily diet. You can top it with fresh fruit or use it to make a smoothie.
The numerous health benefits of salmon are well-documented by many studies. This is the best fish for improving both your thyroid and your overall health. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which means that it has anti-inflammatory properties. These fatty acids also boost the activity of the thyroid hormones in the liver, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2010. Another study, this one from the Acta Physiologica Hungarica, showed that the omega-3 fatty acids also serve to prevent the cognitive impairment caused by hypothyroidism.
Eat salmon twice a week. When you’re purchasing salmon in the United States make sure its label says ‘wild salmon’. The farm raised fish have been found to be contaminated with PCBS (Polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury.
Iodine, along with the amino acid tyrosine, is a necessary ingredient in the production of the thyroid hormones. Am insufficient level of iodine in your body hinders the secretion of thyroxin, which is why you need to make sure you consume the recommended daily dose of this mineral.
You can get your iodine from iodized salt, but salt isn’t the only source of the mineral. You can opt for some seaweed instead. Besides, seaweed is also rich in calcium, fiber, protein, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, manganese, iron and vitamins A, B, C, E and K.
This sea vegetable can be used in the preparation of sushi, soups, and salads. Or you can buy seaweed snacks as a healthy, low-fat alternative to chips.
Be careful to avoid overconsumption of seaweed and other sea vegetables, especially if you have autoimmune thyroid problems. They could make your condition worse.
6. Brown Rice
An underactive thyroid cause a decrease in the neurotransmitter serotonin. This leads to craving carbohydrates, which raise the levels of serotonin. Carbohydrates play another role in the functioning of the thyroid as well. Insulin helps convert the inactive T4 hormone into the active T3 hormone. People who follow strict low-carbohydrate diets often have low levels of insulin.
Healthy carbohydrates are an important part of your diet. The best way to consume these nutrients is through brown rice. This food, rich in complex carbohydrates, is very useful for the digestive processes. It promotes bowel movement, and alleviates the digestive issues caused by the hypothyroidism. Brown rice also increases your levels of energy and helps balance your blood sugar.
Be careful with the consumption of brown rice if you’re taking thyroid medication. The rice contains fiber which may interfere with the synthetic hormones, which is why you should take your medication a couple of hours before or after eating it.
7. Kidney Beans
All beans help improve the functioning of the thyroid, but kidney beans in particular. These beans contain a lot of necessary nutrients, such as iodine, protein, copper, potassium, calcium and folate. All of these are beneficial for the thyroid and boost its hormone production. But those aren’t the only advantages of beans! They also offer you sustained energy throughout the day and they are rich in fiber, which is useful for your digestive system, especially if you’re suffering from constipation.
Include ½ cup of kidney beans in your meals 3-4 times a week. You can add them to soups, salads, or stews. Before preparing them, soak the beans overnight and throw away the water.
Eggs contain three crucial nutrients when it comes to the proper working of the thyroid gland: tyrosine, iodine and selenium. Thyroid problems can be caused by the lack of any of these. Eggs are also rich in protein which is another thing necessary to ensure the functioning of the thyroid, and which cannot be supplemented by the thyroid medication. Besides, they are also a source of vitamins A and D, zinc, calcium, ant antioxidants.
Consume 1-2 eggs a day, boiled, scrambled, or prepared as an omelette.
Zinc deficiency has been linked to hypothyroidism in a study published in the International Journal of Trichology in 2013. Zinc is required for the conversion of T4 to T3, as well as for normalization of the levels of TSH. TSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland which stimulates the production of thyroid hormones. Zinc supplements can alleviate symptoms like depression, taste acuity, loss of appetite, skin lesions and hair loss.
One of the best foods that provides a source for this mineral are oysters. They are also a source of vitamin D, which is also been known to be low in people with hypothyroidism.
You can eat oysters raw, but be careful as they can contain bacteria. You can also eat them smoked, boiled, roasted, canned, steamed or broiled.
Chicken is rich in proteins and amino acids, especially tyrosine, which makes it an excellent choice for those suffering from an underactive thyroid. Tyrosine is a necessary component of the thyroid hormones. Chicken liver also contains a lot of vitamin A, which is great for boosting the thyroid activity.
The best source of high-quality protein are organic chicken breasts. You can eat chicken soup or grilled chicken for dinner or lunch, or even sautéed chicken liver 2-3 times a week.
* This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances.