In terms of our general health and well-being, it’s vital that we ensure we do all we can to look after our thyroid glands, yet most people don’t even know where theirs is, never mind what it does and how it works. Your thyroid gland is located on your neck, and it is this very gland that plays a vital role in metabolism and energy levels. Failing to look after your thyroid can leave you susceptible to all kinds of illnesses and ailments, including thyroid cancer, Hashimoto disease where your own immune system targets your thyroid gland, and much more besides. Your thyroid plays a vital role in ensuring our cells are healthy and functioning as they should, so now we begin to get an understanding of just how important it is to look after our thyroid glands. One of the most common conditions affecting the thyroid however, is one known as hypothyroidism, which is basically where your thyroid doesn’t function as potently as it should. Below we’ll be taking a look at what hypothyroidism is, before we look at some natural and effective ways of treating the condition. So, let’s talk thyroids.
What is hypothyroidism? – Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland is under-active, which basically means that it does not perform as effectively as it should. Often it is caused due to problems with the immune system. Hashimoto disease, which we mentioned above, is one of the most common causes of an under-active thyroid. In fact, out of everybody who suffers with hypothyroidism, around 90% also suffer with Hashimoto’s. Symptoms of underactive thyroid function include:
- Low energy levels
- Weight gain
- Trouble losing weight
- Mood swings
- Sensitivity to temperature changes
- Aching muscles
- Suppressed cognitive functions
- And more…
Natural treatments for hypothyroidism – As the root causes of this condition are often believed to stem from issues regarding the immune system, experts often recommend focussing on the immune system to address the issues. Thankfully there are a number of natural treatments designed to promote optimal immune system function and boost thyroid health and function. These include:
Increase your protein intake – Many experts recommend increasing your protein intake when addressing hypothyroidism issues. The reason for this is that protein plays a key role in the transportation of thyroid hormones to all cells and tissues in your body. If your protein intakes are too low, not enough of these hormones can be carried around the body where they are needed. You needn’t live your life like a bodybuilder, but aim for around 0.8g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Great protein sources include:
- Organic eggs
- Lean meats
- Protein supplements
Increase your healthy fat intakes – Fat is not a macronutrient that should be feared. Fat should instead be embraced and welcomed with open arms. Healthy fats function as precursors for various hormonal pathways, including thyroid hormones. Insufficient amounts of healthy fats could mean that hormonal imbalances will be made worse rather than better, and a thyroid hormone imbalance will be the last thing you want. Some great healthy fats are:
- Whole organic eggs
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel
- Nut butters
Monitor your iodine levels – If your diet is lacking in natural iodine, it could result in you suffering with a goiter. A goiter is a condition where the thyroid gland swells up in the neck, leaving a large and unsightly lump in the neck. Goiters and other issues affecting the thyroid gland, are often caused by a lack of iodine in the diet. Have your doctor routinely check your iodine levels, and if they drop, consider natural iodine supplements, as well as table salt with added iodine.
Reduce carbohydrate intakes – Studies have found that there is a direct link between high carbohydrate diets, and underactive thyroids. This is thought to be caused as a result of high carbohydrate intakes causing increases in natural Estrogen productions, especially in women, which can then lead to interference with thyroid function. If your diet is rich in carbohydrates, especially refined carbs, consider lowering them and replacing them with more healthy fats instead.
Supplement with probiotics – Almost 25% of thyroid function depends solely on the body having a healthy supply of healthy bacteria within the gut. If there is not enough healthy bacteria in the gut, hypothyroidism could set in. Probiotic supplements and beverages are supplements specifically designed to increase healthy gut bacteria levels in the body, so consider using a probiotic supplement on a daily basis.