5 Foods To Boost Your Thyroid Health
The thyroid is an endocrine gland that produces hormones which regulate the functioning of virtually all cells in your body. How well your thyroid is functioning is inter-related with every system in your body and if your thyroid is not running optimally then neither are you.
There are several factors that can alter thyroid hormone levels such as autoimmune response, prolonged stress, certain drugs and pollutants. Symptoms can include weight gain, low libido, infertility, PMS, dry skin and nails, cold hand and feet, aversion to cold, fatigue, hair loss, exhaustion, constipation, depression or mental fog. Diagnosis can involve blood test and a temperature test.
Low thyroid function can lead to an inflamed and leaky gut and in turn poor gut health can suppress thyroid function triggering Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune form of hypothyroidism.
There are some specific nutrients that your thyroid depends on and it’s important to include them in your diet.
Here are 5 foods we recommend to include in your diet for thyroid health:
1. Fish & Seafood
Both contain iodine an important mineral essential for thyroid hormones. Other sources of iodine include seaweeds (hijiki, wakame, kelp, dulse, nori, kombu), fish, turkey, eggs.
2. Brazil Nuts
Contain another essential mineral which is necessary for making thyroid hormone and for converting the hormone to its active form. Selenium also protects the thyroid gland from damage from excessive iodine exposure. Other food sources include sunflower seeds, fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, mushrooms, whole grains, onions.
Tyrosine is an amino acid found in poultry used to produce hormones in the thyroid gland. Other food sources include seaweed, fish, meat, eggs, dairy, avocado, banana.
Zinc and Copper are metals found in legumes needed in trace amounts for healthy thyroid function. Low levels of zinc have been linked to low levels of TSH, another hormone that tells the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone. Copper works with zinc in the production of thyroid hormone and so equally important. Other food sources include nuts, seeds, meat, fish and mushrooms (shiitake).
Contain Omega-3 fats that play an important role in thyroid function, reduce inflammation and may help your cells become sensitive to thyroid hormone Other food sources include chia seeds and their oils plus oily fish (salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines) and their oils.
While this isn’t a food it’s just as important because we can’t get enough vitamin D from our food. Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with autoimmune thyroid disease; therefore, it is important to have levels checked as supplementation may be needed in the majority of cases.
While this is not an exhaustive list of foods to include for thyroid health it is a great start for anyone who is looking to improve your thyroid health. As always if you are presenting with any of the symptoms mentioned above please ensure to contact your health practitioner to identify the best tests and protocol for you.
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Olivia Beck is a Certified Nutritional Therapist with a well established Clinic in Limerick City. She works with clients on a one to one basis, doing private testing and working on individualised diet and lifestyle plans. Her area of interest is in Thyroid Conditions and she runs an online Thyroid Weight Loss Plan and has 2 recipes ebooklets, for Underactive Thyroid and Autoimmune Conditions such as Hashimoto’s. Olivia used to Lecturer in Nutritional Therapy and frequently participates in local and national health discussions on the radio & via several media channels. She provides workplace wellbeing talks to corporate clients and is currently doing her Master’s Degree in Advanced Nutrition.
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