Thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland in our body, is responsible for secreting thyroid hormones which influences the metabolic rate and protein synthesis as well as the rate at which the body produces energy from nutrients and oxygen. Situated in the neck, this two-inch gland plays a very important role in managing weight, mood swings, hair growth, body temperature, heart-rate as well as other important functions like brain development and fertility. However, when this gland does not function properly (hypothyroidism) or produces more hormones (hyperthyroidism), then multiple problems can crop up for an individual.
While taking medication is the first resort for this auto-immune disorder, following a proper diet and lifestyle are also recommended as it can improve the condition drastically. On the occasion of World Thyroid Day, experts state some lifestyle and diet changes that a patient can inculcate to reduce the risk of other diseases as well as manage the disorder.
“Once a person is detected with hypothyroidism, it is a lifetime disease and it has to be regularly evaluated. We want such patients to have a good amount of iodine in their diet. There were earlier studies that stated that certain set of food items should be avoided such as cabbage, cauliflower, soy. However, due to the soil erosion, the exact iodine content in vegetables is not known, hence, I don’t restrict them but suggest one should take them on a weekly basis”, informs Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, senior consultant nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals.
One thing that definitely affects (thyroid patients) is soy protein. If they are indulging in anything made out of soy on a daily basis, then that needs to be stopped.
In terms of lifestyle change, Rohatgi and her team have devised a wellness guide table for the patients; 853210
* 8 — denotes six to eight hours of sleep
* 5 — denotes a minimum of five fruits
* 3 — denotes three litres of water
* 2 — denotes maximum two hours of screen time
* 1 — denotes one hour of physical exercise
* 0 — denotates zero intake of sugary drinks on a daily basis
There are very high chances that untreated Hypothyroidism can lead to goiter, which is a large bulge in the neck. “For people suffering from enlargement of the thyroid gland, which we call goiter, we tend to avoid vegetables of Brassica class of family like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage. However, There is no preventive study to help in reducing thyroid imbalance as it is an auto-immune disease,” says Dr SK Wangnoo, endocrinologist (senior consultant) and diabetologist, Indraprastha Apollo hospitals, New Delhi. He further states that it is important for thyroid patients to take adequate iodine intake in terms of salt.
In order to prevent other diseases, which are associated with thyroid disorder such as obesity, patients should exercise regularly to maintain an ideal body weight to prevent weight gain, advises Wangnoo.
“When it comes to thyroid, there are few foods that can alter the secretion by the gland, for example, mustard and to an extent cauliflower. These can interfere and cause hypothyroidism”, says Dr Manjunath Malige, consultant endocrinologist, Fortis Hospital, Bangalore. Regular workout and exercise are always welcomed as it will help in maintaining the body weight, he adds.
For any person suffering from thyroid, it is not only important to take the medication regularly, but is imperative to keep the other diseases associated with the disorder at bay. From avoiding Brassica vegetable family to working out daily, these simple yet crucial changes can make all the difference.