HYPOTHYROIDISM - At the age of 40 I was hit with a double whammy not only was I in early menopause, and after years of suspecting an under active thyroid I was finally diagnosed with hypothyroidism, thankfully I’m not alone…
One in 20 people in the UK alone, suffer from thyroid disorders according to the British thyroid foundation. Women in their 40s tend to be more affected than their male counterparts of the same age, cases of hyperthyroidism May go undetected and treated, as many women are unaware of the connection between their hormones and thyroid function during the menopause, about 25% of women in peri menopause each year are diagnosed with this condition.
What is the thyroid? The thyroid gland is found in the lower part of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. It regulates, and controls the rate of metabolism in hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid as it’s also known, symptoms such as overactivity, loss of weight and nervousness are seen all too common in hyperthyroidism, or in the case of an under-active thyroid, the symptoms are a lack of energy, becoming overweight and goitre in which the throat region swells,This is from the overstimulation of the endocrine system through living off stress, stimulants and oestrogen dominance which are common causes of an under active thyroid later on in life, this can also be caused by lack of iodine although this is very rare taking iodine found in kelp is my advice to help the condition. Since the thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary and adrenal glands the nutrients involving hormone production are very important, particularly important vitamins and nutrients are vitamins B, vitamins C, the B complex (especially) make sure to include B3 and B5, manganese and zinc, and selenium as it also appears to have a major role to play in thyroid health as does the amino acid tyrosine from which thyroxine is made, often a low-dose of the medication, thyroxine is required to correct this condition. The Thyroid also controls the regulation of temperature and heart rate within body.
Why is your thyroid important? Thyroid function is very complex and it profoundly affects nearly every organ in your body. The natural balance of body’s systems are dependent on the correct functioning of your thyroid gland.
What causes hypothyroidism? Hypothyroidism is also called an under active thyroid disease, this is when your thyroid gland does not make enough of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and Trilodothyronine (T3). Common Thyroid Symptoms Common hypothyroidism symptoms include fatigue, bloating, hair loss, brittle nails, carpal tunnel, joint pain, high insulin, high cholesterol, allergies, Fibrocystic breast disease, unexplained weight gain, decreased sex drive, low pulse and blood pressure and cold extremities.
The Hormone Connection Many cases of midlife hyperthyroidism are caused by oestrogen dominance. When the oestrogen to progesterone ratio is high it can block the action of the thyroid hormones, so even when the thyroid gland is producing normal levels of hormones they can become ineffective and we get the symptoms of what is called hypothyroidism.
So what can really help?
Tip – 1) – First off! Daily exercise! Now I don’t mean pounding the pavement, or hitting it hardcore at the gym, just walk more, move more! and choose a well-balanced nourishing diet!! Make this the first priority on your list! (Of course after reading this lol) And if you find you like it then delve a little deeper, throw caution to the wind and take up a new sport!
Tip – 2) – How can I Be more active! By Increasing your cardio workouts to at least 20 -30 minutes per day! (It’s a walk at lunch time) You will boost the serotonin levels within your brain, which are incidentally considerably lower in people with an under active thyroid.
Why is serotonin important? Because it affects your mood, appetite and your sleep cycle.
Tip – 3) – Are you getting enough roughage?! Eat more fresh vegetables and berries and fruits, these are high in vitamins and minerals, rich in powerful antioxidants, that are necessary for combating damaging free radicals and lowering painful inflammation. A high fibre diet helps with your digestive health, Constipation and unwanted weight gain, which are all too common symptoms of an under active thyroid. I suggest integrating Thyroid Safe high-fibre foods, such a sweet potatoes or coloured greens, soft fruit, veggies, lentils, beans, seeds and Pulses. You should aim for around 30 to 40 g of fibre daily, But be mindful to high-fibre a diet and it may affect your thyroid medication. (See a qualified, nutritionist).
Tip – 4) – Stretch More, Nothing feels like a good stretch! Did you know? Proper stretching and flexibility workouts can be especially helpful in stimulating your thyroid, try adding yoga moves to your routine, Pilates or please at least make sure you Do a proper cool down and stretch after exercising.
Tip – 5) – Time your morning coffee, if you love nothing more than your morning cuppa, and your on Thyroxine, it’s crucial you time your coffee according to your thyroid medication, it is important to wait at least 1 hr after taking your medication before having a cup of coffee, as it could affect the absorption of your medication and make it less effective and we don’t want that!.
Tip – 6) – Increase your strength, switch your cardio workout routine to include high strength training. Lean muscle burns more fat,so focus on building more muscle, which will help to burn fat, which in turn will help you to lose the weight gained by hyperthyroidism. Try planking after cardio, have fun with body weight moves And incorporate weight with aerobics.
Tip – 7) – Eat more herbs and spices, Try adding fresh ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and coriander to your diet as they all have been shown to boost metabolism in people with an under active thyroid.
Tip – 8) – The importance of quality sleep – Stick to a sleep schedule, establish a good nightly routine, one devoid of technologies, hyperthyroidism saps your energy so following a regular sleep schedule is vitally important for recharging your batteries, it keeps your body and immune system healthy and your mind sharp, aim for 7 to 9 hours every day and speak to your doctor or experiencing or interrupted sleep patterns.
Tip – 9) – Limit Goitrogens! What are Goitrogens? These are compounds naturally found in some foods that make it more difficult for thyroid function, such foods include Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli cabbage, cauliflower, peanuts and Soya products. Each individual is different and these will affect individuals very differently! Some may even may be able to enjoy these foods in moderation! Some not at all! I prefer never to exclude or demonise any food unless there is a genuine risk to health! ( only a one to one consultation will identify this so See a qualified nutritionist/Dietitian if in doubt) What I always recommend is to simply eat these foods in moderation or infrequently.
Tip – 10) – Essential Fats, (opt for wild caught fish where possible) balancing your levels of omega 3 to make omega six fatty acids in your hypothyroidism diet, can help reduce any inflammation and support healthy thyroid and brain functions, salmon mackerel, sardines are among your top sources.
Tip -11 ) – Cook with Coconut oil (I would consider to be a store cupboard staple, along with extra virgin olive oil) Coconut oil provides medium-chain fatty acids support which support a healthy metabolism increase energy and fight fatigue. it is also it also nourishes the digestive system and has antimicrobial, antioxidant and antibacterial properties that helps suppress inflammation.
Tip – 12) – Seaweeds – Seaweed is Generally overlooked as food source and are some of the best natural sources of Iodine, incorporating seaweeds can help to prevent deficiencies which disturb the thyroid function. Dried kelp, Nori and Dulce are your best choices.
Tip – 13 ) – Probiotics – Include Probiotic rich foods, Why? because Probiotics can help to create a healthy gut environment by balancing microflora bacteria (healthy bacteria) they promote better digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals, healthy Flora also protects the body from parasites undigested food and toxins, if the guts flora becomes unbalanced thyroid activity fluctuates becoming unbalanced. I would recommend that you include Kiefer (a fermented dairy product) or go for organic goats milk yoghurt, kimchi, Kombucha, Nato, Sauerkraut and other fermented veggies. Probiotics are important for maintaining healthy levels of good bacteria of Gut flora.
Tip – 14 ) – Sprouted Seeds – Flax, hemp and Chia seeds all provide ALA a type of omega -3 fatty acid that is critical for proper hormonal balance and thyroid function.
Tip – 15) – H20 – Drink plenty of Clean water, water helps with hydration and digestive function whilst preventing fatigue and moodiness, drink at least 8 ounces every two hours, add a slice of lemon or lime if plain waters not your thing.
Tip – 16 – Bone Broth – Really Easy to make Beef and chicken stocks, contain the amino acids I – Proline and I – Glycine which can help repair the digestive lining and help improve hyperthyroidism.
Tip – 17) – Reduce your Stress – Stress affects your body in so many ways, but it’s especially bad for the thyroid. Reactions to stress control by the adrenal glands which are already overworked in an under active thyroid, I practice deep breathing, meditation and yoga to my reduce stress.
Tip – 18) – Avoid all stimulants where possible including alcohol, this ones never popular, now I’m not saying you can’t have a drink now and again, but be mindful alcohol naturally reduces metabolism, leaving you feeling more fatigued and sluggish, it puts more strain on your already overtaxed liver (one of body’s main detoxification organs) and can it often take not hours but days to get back up to full speed after a few! Food for thought!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I hope you find it useful if you would like any help with this you can email me @ [email protected], I’d love to hear from you! I can also be found over on Twitter and Instagram as @Nakednut35 or over on Facebook simply search for Naked Nuts Nutrition.
Have a Happy and Healthy day!
Wishing you Nothing But Love, Health and Happiness – Marie x