Disorders of the thyroid gland and hormones include both overactivity and underactivity, basically fast cell function or slow cell function. Either of the thyroid disorders is much more frequent in women than in men. In Australia the overall incidence is 5 in 1000 males and 27 in 1000 females, Hypothyroid (slow cell function) being the most common. Symptoms commonly felt within someone with low thyroid function include, but are not limited to; trouble shifting weight when all other areas have been addressed (diet, exercise), depression, trouble keeping warm, constant fatigue, dry skin and hair, high cholesterol levels, thinning of the outer eyebrow and constipation. You can be diagnosed via a blood test.
Here are my top dietary and lifestyle tips to support the master of metabolism:
1. Minimise stress: stress hormones inhibit the thyroid-stimulating hormone, down regulating total function. Force yourself to completely stop what you are doing at least three times a day, and simply take 5 deep breathes that reach your stomach. Exercise, reading, dancing and laughing are more quick stress remedies- and they are all free!
2. Consume protein at every meal: ¼ of the plate, or the size of your palm at each main meal should consist of a source of protein. Tyrosine, a key amino acid from protein is absolutely crucial to the creation of the thyroid hormone. Options include; eggs, chicken, seafood, red meat, legumes, lentils, pulses, nuts and seeds (soy products are not recommended for thyroid conditions).
3. Correct Iodine deficiency: Iodine is a key component within the hormone itself. Unfortunately it is a very common global deficiency, especially in Australia and New Zealand, which leads to hypothyroidism. Top sources are seafood, seaweeds, shellfish and to a small extent eggs. If these aren’t common features in your weekly diet then supplementation is advised.
4. Be weary of Goitrogens: these are substances within certain foods that interfere with iodine uptake. They appear mainly in soybean products, millet and brassica vegetables – kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc. Always cook or steam brassica vegetables to avoid this effect, avoid soy and millet completely. Note that smoking also has this effect.
5. Reduce exposure to toxins: household cleaners, cosmetics, air fresheners, hair products, paints, fumes and chemicals of all varieties impair the body’s ability to create and distribute all hormones at a normal value. Switch to natural options wherever possible and always have fresh oxygen flowing, and take regular breaks when you absolutely must use unnatural household products.