There is not a single cell in our body that doesn’t depend on Thyroid hormones.
Many of us have personally experienced the repercussions of a thyroid hormone imbalance or have someone known who is going through the same. But before you read further, dear readers remember, if we hold genes to certain medical conditions, we need the trigger to turn those genes on and off through the environment. Our environment can be but not restricted to - processed foods, consumption of everyday toxins “xenoestrogens” that includes soy, BPA, parabens, aluminum, consumption of sugar, caffeine, lack of iodine, BPA found in foods, plastics, lack of vitamin D, stress, food lack of exercise and many more... Remember, “Genetics load the gun but environment pulls the trigger”
Thyroid gland is a small, butterfly shaped organ that sits at the base of the next. This important gland produces thyroid hormones which are vital for several functions that includes regulation of heart rate, breath, metabolism, menstrual cycle, body temperature and much more. Thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, which are distributed throughout the body for us. Thyroid hormone imbalance occurs when there is too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) or when there is too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) and each of the feature is distinct. Check which relates symptom relates to yours. When you have a hypothyroidism ( a deficiency of the hormone)- it slows down our body and we feel sluggish, which can lead to weight gain, dry skin, cold intolerance, depressions, constipation, loss of ambition, loss of hair to name a few but when we have an overabundance of thyroid hormone, it leads to weight loss, palpitations, anxiety tremors, irritability, tiredness, increased appetite.
Now you may ask, what is Hashimoto’s? During Hashimoto’s, our thyroid gland is not slow at producing thyroid hormones but in Hashimoto’s, our immune system identifies thyroid as a foreign or harmful substance and develops antibodies to attack them. So, when this happens- it damages our thyroid hormones, those thyroid hormones that are stored inside the cells are released leading to excess thyroid and when this excess hormone is cleared out of the body, the person becomes low in thyroid hormones. This leads to a constant high and low of thyroid hormone. It is a roller coaster and many patients get confused with high’s and low’s and get trapped in the symptoms.
In order to know if you have thyroid imbalance or if it is a result of Hashimoto- You need to check your TSH, T3 and T4, TPO Antibodies, TG Antibodies or Thyroid ultrasound (under the recommendation of a physician). A rise in TPO and TG antibodies are usually the result of a positive Hashimoto disease.
Simple steps to follow once you have been diagnosed with thyroid imbalance
In this article, I will cover thyroid imbalance only, probably it will take me another article to write on Hashimoto’s which I would like to cover in my next column.
Use Stainless Steel Utensils
Remove aluminum utensils in cookware and swap them with iron or stainless steel. Do not use plastics to re heat your food specially in the microwave. Chemicals like BPA, aluminum triggers an imbalance of thyroid hormones. What about aluminum foil? When we wrap our food with aluminum foils, we are doing no good to our body, swap these with banana leaves or mustard leaves or butter paper. Remember, our traditional cooking ways of preparing food and storing and eating them on banana leaves and mustard leaves gave us health benefits. This was because antioxidants get absorbed through the leaves when you cook food in them (like wrapping our food or placing them in the bottom of the pan).
Change Your Oil
I fondly call them plastic oils- all refined vegetable oils are not going to do any good to your thyroid hormones. Infact, they act as a trigger for an imbalance. It is a humble request to you all, “Do not get carried away by marketing strategies and go desi”. Change all oils to pure mustard oil, peanut oil, ghee for cooking or extra virgin olive oil (if you are tossing your food or sautéing or using it in salad).
Drink Methi Seeds Water
Drink methi seed water every morning. Soak 1 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds) in 1 glass water overnight and drink this water every morning. It has nutrients which supports our thyroid gland. You can also chew the seeds of this water, do not discard them.
You must add plenty of coriander leaves to your food. It expels a lot of toxins out of our body. Add fresh chopped coriander leaves to daal or cooked vegetables or juices or even add some to you water flask. And do not forget to add coriander chutney with your meals.
Do Not Go Low On Iodine
Lack of idodine can lead to iodine deficiency in the body. Use iodized salt sparingly, eat banana, fish, sea food, peanuts, barley, sweet potato at least once a day. But remember our body is less likely to be low in iodine so do not go overboard on iodized salt, just a teaspoon is enough for the day! Consume cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, broccoli “crucifers” in moderation. It is simply a myth that these foods will cause a thyroid imbalance. You need to eat more than 500gms of these in a day- everyday to cause a harmful effect on thyroid gland. The idea is not to eat them raw, if you steam or cook or ferment these vegetables, you are removing its “goitrogenic effect”, Unless you are intolerant to these vegetables, Good news is “2 –4 cauliflower and broccoli florets” will not cause a thyroid imbalance.
Mineral which is required in a very trace amount, plays a very important role in thyroid function, it helps in the conversion of T4 hormone to active T3 hormone and protects our thyroid hormone from getting damaged. Sunflower seed, cashews, spinach, daal, mushrooms are some rich vegetarian sources of selenium available other than eggs and seafoods. Consume 1 tablespoon sunflower seed a day.
Do not forget the power of exercise, yoga and pranayama
When you move or exercise you expel toxins out of your body, light weight bearing exercises help in preventing muscle loss and it increases metabolic rate and yoga and pranayama not only helps in calming and relieving stress but they also help in adding flexibility to the body. Shoulder stand and plough pose help thyroid function.
Readers, I can write a lot more on how to recover from thyroid imbalance. I am sure you hear about foods to avoid and foods to eat to help with thyroid but remember what works for you may not work for someone else. If you follow above mentioned guidelines you are 10 steps closer to your recovery. I shall continue writing about thyroid in my next article.
Read more articles on Other Diseases
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