Hypothyroidism – The Underactive Disease!
Around 42 million people in India including children are suffering from thyroid diseases. It is usually more common in women than in men. There are two types of thyroid- hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism, is a condition where a person thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). It is important to know that thyroid gland regulates our metabolism. Due to insufficient hormones, the body metabolism slows down which results in weight gain, which is one of the very common symptoms of this condition.
Key Role of TSH in our body
TSH is produced by the pituitary glands in our body. Iodine and Tyrosine are essential for synthesis of thyroid hormones and proper functioning of the thyroid gland. TSH helps in lowering cholesterol, curing hair loss, and curing constipation. It also helps in improving memory. Thus, it is required for proper functioning of the body.
Can this Condition be Reversed with a Healthy Diet?
After being diagnosed with this disease, a lot of people tend to only stick to medications. However, there is a lot more than one can do! Nutrient deficiency, consumption of highly processed oils, and stress are the major reasons why the glands don’t function properly. A balanced plant based diet has been found to reverse this condition.
Foods to be AVOIDED:
- Spinach: Spinach supposedly has goitrogenic properties. Goitrogens are naturally-occurring substances that can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Therefore it is advised not to eat spinach in excess.
- Broccoli: This vegetable may interfere with the production of thyroid hormone, especially if one has both hypothyroidism and iodine deficiency. Although cooking it and limiting its intake can reduce its effect on the thyroid gland.
- Soy Foods: Soy foods are difficult to break down in your system, and are also known to suppress thyroid hormones in the body.
- Processed Foods: Processed foods have a lot of sodium. Hypothyroidism increases a person risk of high blood pressure, and sodium further escalates this risk.
- Caffeine: Caffeine has been found to block absorption of levothyroxine, a thyroid hormone replacement, which is taken for hypothyroidism. Thus, it is advised to cut down on caffeine, and wait for at least half an hour after taking the medication.
- Alcohol: Alcohol has a toxic effect on the thyroid gland as it suppresses the body ability to use thyroid hormone. Thus, people with this condition should completely cut down on their alcohol intake, or drink in moderation.
- Peanuts: Peanuts contain Goitrogens, the same substances that are also found inspinach. Thus, it slows down thyroid and therefore one must avoid eating peanuts.
- Gluten-rich foods: Hypothyroidism and celiac disease are often present together, and gluten-rich foods such as products made from wheat, barley, and rye can irritate the small intestine, and may hamper absorption of thyroid medication.
Foods that HELP to cure Hypothyroidism:
- Eggs: While iodine and selenium are found in the yolk, the whites are full of protein. It safe to say that whole eggs are best.
- Beans: This is one of the most inexpensive and versatile food that a person suffering with hypothyroidism must have. It is a great source of sustained energy, which is helpful if this condition leaves you drained. It also contains antioxidants, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. It has fiber that can be beneficial if one is suffering from constipation, which is one of the side effects of hypothyroidism.
- Dairy: All dairy products are quite beneficial. Fortified milk not only has added Vitamin D but also significant amount of calcium, protein, and iodine.
- Seaweed: Seaweed has a high concentration of iodine, an essential nutrient for thyroid function. It also contains fiber, calcium, and Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. However, excessive intake of iodine can worsen this condition, which happens mostly in case you are taking iodine supplements. Consulting your physician is a good idea before increasing your iodine intake.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables: Hypothyroidism and weight gain come hand in hand. Thus, low calorie foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables must be included in each meal. Though cruciferous food intake must be limited.
- Fish: Omega-3s present in fish are found to help with immunity, and also decreases inflammation. Fish has a good amount of selenium present which is very important for the proper functioning of thyroid gland. Thus, including wild salmon, trout, tuna, or sardines in your diet is a great idea.
- Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts are a good source of a lot of nutrients. Most hypothyroidism patients are selenium-deficient. Just two Brazil nuts per day can give you the recommended daily allowance of selenium.
Prioritize your health. Consult your physician, maintain a good diet as most of the problems related to hypothyroidism can be eliminated with a healthy and balanced diet.
Stay fit, stay healthy!