I’ve had this request from a few of you, so here we go…All things THYROID!
I will try to keep this precise and not go off path too much, so if you have more questions at the end of this, PLEASE email me!
What is it?
Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the frontal side base of the neck. It is a part of the body’s system that regulates hormones known as the Endocrine System. The thyroid makes hormones that primarily regulate metabolic rate, but is also plays a role in heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood and bone maintenance. Sounds pretty important, right?
Well it is.
And it’s a major health factor for a lot of people and you may not even know about it.
The thyroid regulates the body’s temperature by secreting two hormones that control how quickly the body burns calories and uses energy.
Too much = HYPERthyrodism, Too little = HYPOthyrodism
Hypo is more common than hyper- but both have similar symptoms. A condition called Hashimoto’s is believed to be the most common cause of hypothyroidism; an autoimmune disease, where the body becomes in a way, allergic to thyroid hormones and makes antibodies against its own tissue. It causes swelling of the thyroid gland and can lead to other autoimmune diseases like Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and yeast infections.
As mentioned previously, I suffer from a hyperthyroid, which caused my heart rate to increase dramatically and could have ended in cardiac arrest. Thankfully, it is under control. But let’s focus on hypothyroidism.
So, how can you tell if you have an underactive thyroid?
You can at home, with a simple thermometer. Measure your temperature as soon as you get up for fifteen minutes. Yes…15. A temperature reading of 97.6 F or lower could indicate an underachieve thyroid. Or go and get a blood test. BUT beware, the range of a “normal” functioning thyroid is quite large and can go undetected.
Some other symptoms are:
intolerance to the cold
a slow or fast heart rate
painful or heavy periods
dry and scaly skin
drooping, swollen eyes
a goiter formation
So, what can you do?
Iodine - The basic element of thyroid can be found in sea vegetables. Adding this to broths and stews, eating seaweed flakes as snacks or having dishes like Wakame salads will increase levels naturally.
Dried apricots, dates, egg yolks, molasses, parsley, potatoes, raw seeds and whole grains. These foods are rich in vitamin B’s and will naturally provide nutrients to your thyroid and other parts of your body.
Eat in moderation:
Cruciferous vegetables (brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, broccoli) peaches, pears, radishes, spinach and turnips - they can suppress thyroid function
Processed and refined foods including white flour and sugar, gluten
Your thyroid doesn’t like stress. There is a axis in your body known as the HPA axis, or the Hypothalmus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis is a pathway system that regulates our “fight or flight” reactions. This axis is also linked to your thyroid and endocrine system. So reducing your stress is REALLY important.
You don’t think you’re stressed?
Here are a couple of scenarios and questions I posed to a client yesterday, see if you are triggered by any of them.
How to you feel about your financial situation? Do you have enough money to go on that vacation you want? To buy that new jacket?
If the answer is you don’t have enough, you have stress.
Do you commute to work? How do you feel when you are: running late? get cut off? almost get run over?
If it’s in anger, you have stress.
Your body cannot tell the difference between you being overwhelmed with a ton of shit to get done at work or being cut off in traffic; IT HAS THE SAME REACTION.
When this occurs hour after hour, day after day you all of a sudden suffer from chronic stress and your body gives you signs to stop. Headaches. Digestion issues. Loss of hair. Lowered immune system. It’s all related.
Being present and not sweat the small stuff is imperative to reducing your stress. I play the “worst case scenario” game where I try to think of the worst thing that could happen, which changes my outlook and mood.