Healthy Foods To Improve Thyroid Function

Healthy Foods To Improve Thyroid Function

Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is a term that is used to refer to a condition in which the human thyroid gland is unable to make sufficient hormones meant to keep the body functioning properly.

The action of this little, butterfly-shaped gland that is located at the neck affects several systems of the body. The hormones that are produced by this particular gland (T4, T3, and TSH) regulate blood pressure, body temperature, energy levels, metabolism, and mood [1]. Some of the symptoms associated with underactive thyroid include impaired memory, thinning hair, joint pain, muscle aches, high blood cholesterol levels, hoarseness, puffy face, extremely dry skins, constipation, increased sensitivity to cold, sudden weight gain and inability to lose weight, and constant fatigue[2].

These symptoms may be a bit mild in the beginning, however as your metabolism continues to slow down, they will become more conspicuous.

To control the effects of underactive thyroid and in the end treat it, you will need medication. The treatment of hypothyroidism with synthetic thyroid hormones is effective, safe and simple. Nonetheless, some foods can also assist in improving thyroid health and boosting your metabolism.

Top foods to improve thyroid function

Oysters

These are some of the best foods to improve thyroid as they are dietary sources of zinc, a mineral needed for a healthy thyroid function. Zinc aids the conversion of T3 and T4 in people with low T3 levels and leads to normalization of TSH levels [3].

A study that was carried out in 2013 in the International Journal of Trichology states that zinc deficiency contributes considerably to hypothyroidism development. Symptoms such as hair loss, skin lesions, and loss of appetite, taste aculity, and depression can be treated by taking zinc supplements [4].

Oysters are extremely rich in vitamin D. Individuals suffering from hypothyroidism have been found to have very low levels of vitamin D.

Oysters can be consumed broiled, steamed, canned, roasted, boiled, smoked or even eaten raw. However, extra care should be taken especially when consuming raw oysters as they may have bacteria.

Eggs

Eggs are the perfect inexpensive food to improve thyroid function as they are a good source for the three of the most essential nutrients that the thyroid gland requires to function properly- selenium, iodine, and tyrosine. The insufficiency of any of these nutrients can result in the development of thyroid problems.

Eggs are a perfect source of protein. Without enough protein, the thyroid cannot properly function, even if you are under thyroid medication. Eggs also supply the body with the vitamins D and A, antioxidants, calcium, zinc and more [5].

You can eat 1 to 2 eggs per day, either boiled, an omelet, or scrambled eggs.

Kidney beans

Kidney beans are the best food to improve thyroid function. Eating beans, particularly kidney beans can help in boosting your thyroid function. Kidney beans do have a good amount of mineral iodine and other crucial nutrients such as folate, calcium, potassium, copper, and protein which helps in maintaining thyroid health and also in promoting the production of hormones [7].

Beans are also a great source of sustained energy. As they are rich in fiber, beans can be extremely helpful to individuals who have constipation issues, an issue that is common among individuals who have hypothyroidism.

You can enjoy ½ cup of kidney beans, at least 3 to 4 times in a week, by adding these beans to stews, salads, or soups. To prepare it, you will have to first soak them in water over the night and then toss them into water before you start cooking. Beans are a good food to improve thyroid function as they are inexpensive.

Brown Rice

Individuals who are suffering from hypothyroidism often do crave carbohydrates more than other food types. This occurs as a result of a decrease in the neurotransmitter referred to as serotonin. Carbohydrates usually tend to increase the levels of serotonin in the body.

Carbohydrates are good foods to improve thyroid health as they tend to have a direct influence on the function of the thyroid, since insulin is required for the conversion of the inactive T4 hormone into the active T3 hormone [8]. Insulin among people who follow an extremely low-carbohydrate is low.

It is critical to consume healthy carbohydrates, for instance, brown rice. Brown rice is rich in complex carbohydrates, and it helps in easing digestion and promoting your bowel movements. They also help in alleviating ordinary digestive issues that are faced by individuals who have hypothyroidism [9].

Brown rice also helps in increasing your energy levels, while at the same time balancing and reducing blood sugar.

It is important to note that brown rice is rich in fiber, this can interfere with the synthetic thyroid hormones. You should take your thyroid medication at least a few hours before taking foods that are rich in fiber.

Seaweed

Seaweed is one of the most common foods to improve thyroid. For the thyroid gland function properly, iodine is essential. Iodine attaches to the amino acid tyrosine to create thyroxin, which is important for your thyroid to properly function.

An insufficient level of iodine in the body hinders the production of metabolism regulating thyroid hormones [10].

If you want to get your daily dose of iodine without increasing your intake of salt, seaweed is a perfect option. This sea vegetable is also packed with several other nutrients that include iron, manganese, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, protein, fiber, calcium, and vitamins A, C, K, B, and E.

You can use seaweed in salads, soups, and sushi. Seaweed snacks are also accessible in the market, which are good as a healthy low-fat alternative when compared to chips [7].

Note: In case you have autoimmune thyroid issues, you should avoid seaweed and any other type of vegetables in excess amounts, as this can make your situation even worse.

Salmon

This is one of the best foods to improve thyroid health. It has significant anti-inflammatory properties, because it’s rich omega-3 fatty acid content. Several studies have documented the benefits of salmon. In 2010, a study that was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry states that the fatty acids signals thyroid cells in the liver so as to burn more fat[3].

Yogurt

Due to its high Vitamin D content, yogurt is one of the best foods to improve thyroid health. In fact, the deficiency of Vitamin D is linked to Hashimoto’s disease, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.

In a study that was published in Endocrine Practice in 2013, it was found that Vitamin D plays a role in the development of the Hashimoto’s disease, or its development to hypothyroidism [9].

 

References:

  1. https://www.womentowomen.com/thyroid-health/simple-dietary-changes-that-can-help-your-thyroid-naturally/
  2. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10681/what-you-should-eat-to-improve-thyroid-health.html
  3. http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/thyroid-pictures/foods-to-eat/
  4. http://bodyecology.com/articles/low_thyroid_symptoms.php
  5. https://www.dietvsdisease.org/the-best-diet-for-an-underactive-thyroid/
  6. https://wellnessmama.com/14892/boost-thyroid-function/
  7. https://draxe.com/hypothyroidism-diet-natural-treatment/
  8. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/expert-answers/hypothyroidism-diet/faq-20058554
  9. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/06/27/foods-good-for-thyroid.aspx
  10. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20986201,00.html

 

Anthony Alayon
 

Anthony Alayon is a Certified Personal Trainer & Certified Sports Nutritionist with the ISSA. He’s written for Natural Muscle Magazine, Bliss Magazine, Bodybuilding.com, About.com (A New York Times Company), Labrada.com, and several other popular fitness websites. He’s taught thousands how to eat better, and build the physique they could only dream of (including numerous pro athletes). Today, he’s here to share his knowledge and experience with you!

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