Give your thyroid gland a little extra TLC

Your thyroid gland is a little powerhouse located in your neck. It produces hormones (T3 and T4) that are essential for your body to function. If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism or another autoimmune concern, or if you have family members with hypothyroidism, it may be nice to give your thyroid gland a bit more support.

Here are some very basic things you can do to support your thyroid function:

  • Consume or supplement yourself with a good amount of EFAs (essential fatty acids). Omega-3’s are what we really want here, and you can find them in things like flaxseeds, green leafy vegetables and high fat, cold water fish like salmon, cod and herring. Omega-6’s are also EFAs but tend to be more inflammatory, so it is important to ensure you have an adequate balance and consume at least as many Omega-3 as Omega-6 EFAs. Omega-6’s are in foods like nuts and seeds. If you’re not eating fresh, wild-caught fish (such as mentioned above) a few times per week, supplementing with Fish Oil is an easy option – you can get capsules or liquid that do not taste fishy.

  • Eat 2 Brazil nuts daily to get an adequate dose of selenium, which is an important co-factor for proper thyroid function.

  • Use “unrefined” sea salt to get a nice supply of minerals, including natural iodine, to support your body.

  • Avoid gluten and gluten-containing products, as they can trigger autoimmune reactions. This includes wheat, white flour, unspecified flours, barley, rye, spelt and oats (unless they are specifically “gluten-free”).

  • Try gluten-free whole grains, such as quinoa, rice, amaranth and buckwheat (buckwheat is gluten-free, despite the confusing name). Specifically-labeled “gluten-free” oats are also okay.

  • Avoid soy – the isoflavones can trigger autoimmune reactions as well.

  • Eat whole foods, including a variety of veggies and some fruits.

  • Avoid eating large quantities of raw foods in the “Brassicaceae” family, such as broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mustard greens, collards and cabbage. These foods contain goitrogens, which were found to be detrimental to thyroid function when consumed raw in very large quantities. Small and moderate amounts are fine. Cooking denatures the goitrogens, so if you plan on eating a pound of broccoli it may be a nice idea to roast or steam it.

  • Avoid raw peanuts, strawberries, peaches, pears and millet. These also contain goitrogens.

  • Limit the amount of potato and corn, both fresh and processed, that you consume. These are potential goitrogenic foods.

  • Avoid processed and packaged foods (well, this pretty much goes along with general wellness, but is worth repeating for any autoimmune process).

The information provided here is not intended to replace medical advice or to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor with specific questions and prior to beginning any significant diet or lifestyle changes.