The thyroid or “Master Gland” is the largest of seven endocrine glands in the body. Located at the base of your neck, where you would wear a bow-tie, the thyroid is shaped like a butterfly and weighs less than an ounce. The thyroid affects everything in the body from head to toe, including metabolism, body temperature, digestion, skin health, cholesterol levels and more.
Function — The Thyroid Gland:
- Controls energy production, metabolism and fat burning
- Helps control body temperature
- Balances hormones
- Contributes to body growth and development
- Controls cholesterol levels
- Supports phase 2 liver detoxification
- Influences neurotransmitters, and thus your mood
- Controls red blood cells production (anemia)
- Influences digestion, especially your stool transit time
Contributors and Root Causes to Poor Thyroid Function:
- Blood sugar imbalances, often from a S.A.D. or high carb diet
- Infection and inflammation in the gut, such as leaky gut
- Food intolerances (particularly gluten)
- Environmental toxins: pesticides, insecticides, plastics, chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, etc.
- Adrenal fatigue
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- Excess estrogen
- Congested liver
- Chronic stress
- Vitamin D Deficiency
- Hyperthyroidism: excess production of thyroid hormones, such as Graves’ disease or beginning stages of Hashimoto’s disease.
- Hypothyroidism: not enough production of thyroid hormones. This is often caused by Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroid disease.
- Goiters and thyroid enlargement.
- Thyroiditis: an inflamed thyroid caused by a virus, bacteria, drugs or sometimes pregnancy.
- Thyroid cancer.
5 Steps to Improve Thyroid Health
1. Restore Gut Health
Good thyroid health depends on good gut health. Find and treat any underlying causes of infection or inflammation, such as heavy metal toxicity. Eat a nutrient-dense daily diet packed with probiotic-rich foods.
2. Support The Adrenals
Support your adrenals by stabilizing your blood sugar levels with a daily diet rich in natural fats, quality proteins and low-glycemic load carbs. Eat regular, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. Lastly, manage your daily stress with yoga, meditation, journaling, or anything else that helps you relax.
3. Reduce Toxins
Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins such as chlorine, fluoride, bromine, fluoride, pesticides, insecticides and heavy metals. Remove mercury amalgams in teeth. Filter chlorine and other contaminants from your drinking and shower water. Swap your toothpaste and mouthwash for ones that are fluoride free. Reduce bromide by avoiding sodas and commercial baked goods. Avoid plastics as much as possible.
4. Avoid These Foods
- Non-organic foods and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
- Grains, especially gluten. Eating gluten increases the need for thyroid hormones.
- Bad fats, such as trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, and rancid oils.
- Excess carbs from processed foods.
- Soy and products made from soy. Soy is a natural estrogenic, which suppresses the thyroid.
- Animal products with hormones and antibiotics.
- Excess raw cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and cabbage. These foods have a goitrogenic effect. Fermented raw crucifers are better, but should still be moderated for thyroid health.
Note: all of the foods listed above should be strictly avoided with Hashimoto’s disease.
5. Include These Foods
- Healthy fats and foods that support blood sugar levels, such as protein and non-starchy vegetables.
- Iodine-rich foods such as sea vegetables and low-mercury seafoods, such as sardines and wild salmon.
- Note: Those with Hashimoto’s disease need to avoid iodine rich foods, including iodized salt.
- Selenium-rich foods, such as Brazil nuts, organ meats, grass-fed beef, and mushrooms.
- Animal proteins such as grass-fed beef, pastured eggs and wild salmon.
- Homemade bone broth is a great source of amino acids needed to make new thyroid cells.
- Grass-fed whey protein for glutathione, the mother of all antioxidants.
- Probiotic-rich foods, such as pickles, kefir, yogurt, and kimchi.
- Vitamin A-rich foods, such as egg yolks, cod liver oil and raw dairy products.
Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath: “Keep Your Thyroid Healthy”
Dr. Datis Kharrazian: “Which thyroid hormone is right for you?”
“Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal?” by Dr. Datis Kharrazian