Thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck, is responsible for secreting the thyroid hormones in the body. These hormones affect the body’s metabolic rate along with the pace at which it produces energy. Not only this, thyroid also helps in hair growth, maintaining body temperature, weight, heart rate and also mood swings along with fertility and brain development. However, when the gland does not function properly (hypothyroidism) or produces excess hormones (hyperthyroidism), then a person can experience multiple problems.
“But small changes to one’s diet, nutrition and lifestyle can help heal thyroid,” Twinkle Kansal, integrated nutrition and lifestyle coach, told indianexpress.com.
“Most doctors just check something called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), T3 and T4, which doesn’t give a full picture of the thyroid. In fact, even the interpretation of this test is incorrect most of the times. They prescribe thyroxine medication which can lead to side effects, including anxiety, insomnia, palpitations, and bone loss. Besides these tests, TG and TPO (thyroid antibodies) along with associated problems such as gluten intolerance, food allergies, and heavy metals, as well as deficiencies of vitamin D, selenium, vitamin A, zinc, and omega-3 fats also need to be assessed,” she added.
Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder, occurs when the immune system attacks your thyroid. A normally functioning immune system can detect the difference between your own cells and foreign bodies, but in an autoimmune condition, the own cells start damaging other body cells. The thyroid becomes damaged and; can’t make enough thyroid hormones.
Could it be related to diet?
While it seems there is a genetic component to many autoimmune conditions, environmental and lifestyle factors can exacerbate symptoms. Hashimoto’s disease is known for some triggers, including stress, inflammation, and diet.
As a potential source of inflammation, diet is one of the best ways to help reduce flare-ups and protect the body. It is important to avoid toxic foods that have been shown to cause inflammation, like refined flour, refined salt, sugar, and refined oils.
Stress affects your thyroid function negatively and results in higher levels of cortisol, higher inflammation levels, reduced testosterone, higher TSH, and very low T3.
Below are a few of the important foods to help heal your thyroid
Gut health is imperative to keeping your immune system healthy 70–80 per cent of immune cells are found in the gut. This is where probiotics come in. They can be taken as a supplement or found in various foods, such as yoghurt, traditionally fermented pickles, Kombucha, rice kanji, and buttermilk.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are another powerful anti-inflammatory. To ensure you’re getting enough, include flax seeds, virgin olive oil, walnuts in your diet daily, or add a fish oil supplement to your regimen.
High sugar intake along with processed foods can lead to an increased level of inflammation in the body. Removing sugar from your diet can help in regulating your energy levels and also reducing stress levels.
Here are a few lifestyle tips to heal thyroid
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system. Most of us are deficient in vitamin D because of modern lifestyle. Take sunbath on the spine for 15-20 minutes daily. By adding salads and leafy vegetables and green leafy chutney (mint, coriander, basil, tulsi, curry,moringa) in diet can elevate vitamin D levels in the body.
Meditation and exercise: This can be a great way to help your body combat stress. As you may know, stress can have severely negative effects on your body and your immune system, so find some time every day to meditate and clear your lungs by deep breathing. To remedy chronic stress, incorporate yoga and pranayama in your daily routine, along with daily active exercise and proper sleep.