Diet and Thyroid Health
We’ve enlisted the help of our Meraki Nutritionist, Tahlia, to talk about thyroid health and the role diet and lifestyle choices can play.
So, what is the thyroid?
The thyroid is that butterfly-shaped gland located at the front end of the neck which produces hormones that influence many of our metabolic processes.
Thyroid hormones control your metabolism and help to regulate blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature.
Thyroid imbalances are one of the most common presentations Tahlia sees in middle-aged women in the clinic. Some of the symptoms associated with thyroid imbalances include:
- rapid weight loss or inability to lose weight
- hair loss
- heart palpitations/anxiety
- food sensitivities.
What can we do about it?
Good news! There are certain foods and key nutrients, as well as lifestyle practices that can help to rebalance your thyroid function. We’ve listed them below.
Maca root has traditionally been used to boost sex drive and enhance fertility. It is also said to improve energy and stamina. Maca helps to balance the hypothalamus and pituitary which produce TRH (thyroid-releasing hormone) and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), respectively. Maca also contains zinc, B vitamins and iron, all of which are required for optimal thyroid production.
Brazil nuts are among the richest dietary source of selenium, which is essential in converting thyroxine to its active form, T3. No need to binge though – you only need to have a 2 Brazil nuts daily to get your dose!
Insufficient levels of iodine are the missing link in the production of hormones that inhibit thyroid production. Sea vegetables are rich in iodine, some of my favourite edible seaweeds are wakame and dulse flakes.
Zinc is critical to thyroid health and required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Increase your consumption of nutrient-dense whole foods high in zinc, these include pumpkin seeds, oysters, crab, lobster, legumes, nuts, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Vitamin D is a key nutrient and hormone that acts as a precursor in immune system regulation. Make sure your levels of the sunshine vitamin are optimal. Besides sunlight, good sources of Vitamin D include salmon, herring, sardines, egg yolks and mushrooms.
Green leafy veggies and fresh herbs help enhance thyroid function. Choose a leafy green veg like rocket or spinach as the base of your next build your own Meraki bowl!
While you can’t really avoid stress altogether,, you can control your reaction to stressful situations. Your adrenals respond to stress so they’re crucial in supporting thyroid health. Add in a daily practice of meditation, yoga, or Pilates and spend some time in nature to relax and lower stress levels.
Physical activity is essential in keeping metabolism and thyroid function at their best. When exercising, make sure your regime includes strength training, cardio, weights, and stretching.