Thyroid health has become a hot topic lately. In the last year, I have encountered many students with hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, hashimoto and other thyroid issues. Most were told their only option for healing was radioactive iodine treatment and/or synthroid medication for life.
It’s not the only option. Nutrition and other controllable factors can help you heal many thyroid issues and are worth a try.
One of my thyroid health teachers, Andrea Beaman, reversed her diagnosed hypothyroid within a year by simply cleaning up her diet. The following are tips shared by Beaman and other research I have found on thyroid healing.
#1 Avoid Pesticides
Many pesticides are endocrine disruptors and the thyroid lives on the endocrine system. A dangerous pesticide, methyl iodide, is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that causes thyroid tumors, neurological damage and miscarriages. Methyl iodide is found on non-organic vine foods, like strawberries, tomatos, peppers, grapes, and all the other “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables. Just another reason to remember to buy organic!
#2 Skip Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners disrupt hormone levels and negatively impact the endocrine system. These include sucralose, splenda, saccharin and aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal, etc.) Remember to check labels to make sure they are not in your drinks, gum, snacks, etc.
#3 Eat a Good Fat Diet
Eating a low fat, no-fat or diet in the wrong fats will weaken your immune system. Eliminate the hydrogenated “fake fat” in margarine, vegetable shortenings, candy, and packaged foods. Include good quality fat from olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, fish and high quality animal products. Good fat is necessary for energy, maintaining cell integrity and hormone production.
#4 Add Iodine
The thyroid needs iodine for its biochemical processes, including fat metabolism, thyroid function and the production of sex hormones. Add foods from the ocean like seafood and sea vegetables for their high iodine content. Some ideas for adding iodine to your diet include salmon or cod once a week and cooking your beans with kombu (a sea vegetable).
#5 Beware of Highly Refined & Processed Packaged Foods
These foods contain poor quality fats, GMOs, pesticides and high levels of iodized salt. Iodized salt can cause thyroid imbalances and hypertension. Use only unrefined sea salt.
#6 Watch for Mercury Toxicity
Mercury is an influencer for hyperthyroidism and anemia. Large fish like shark, king mackeral, tuna, swordfish, grouper and Chilean seabass contain high levels of mercury. Reduce or eliminate these fish from your diet. If you happen to have mercury fillings, consider having them safely removed by a dental professional.
#7 Filter Fluoride
Studies have shown that fluoride alters endocrine function, especially in the thyroid. Because fluoride has been added to many of our public water systems, consider purchasing a good water filter to remove it.
#8 Only Buy Fermented Soy
Most mass-produced soy products are not fermented. These poor quality soy products have been linked to thyroid disease, digestive problems, reproductive disorders, cancer and other illnesses. Read your labels as soy is snuck into many foods. Good quality fermented soy can be found in organic tempeh, miso, shoyu and tamari. Try to only eat the good soy in small quantities.
These lifestyle changes will have a strongly positive effect on your thyroid health. For my yogis, if you want to send some positive energy to your thyroid in class, spend extra time in the sequence of shoulderstand, plow pose and fish pose.