As they say, health is wealth—and nothing beats having a healthy body to get through all your day-to-day activities. Being healthy relies on more than simply trusting that your daily routine is beneficial for your body; it also requires you to be wary of the status of all your internal organs.
The thyroid, in particular, is an essential part of the body. It is responsible for regulating your metabolism and body temperature, among other things! The production of the hormone thyroxine, in particular, can make or break the difference between having hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism—two of the most common thyroid problems. Thyroid disorders can be pretty common; in fact, some experts even believe 30% of women will develop one in their lifetime.
Hyperthyroidism vs. Hypothyroidism
When your thyroid gland produces excess thyroxine, this results in hyperthyroidism. Having an overactive thyroid can cause rapid weight loss, an unusually fast heartbeat, and anxiety. On the other hand, not producing enough thyroxine results in hypothyroidism, which can trigger constipation, weight gain, and extreme fatigue!
An imbalance in the thyroid gland may impact the whole body. One cause of an imbalanced gland is having an autoimmune disorder, but it’s thought that lifestyle factors, such as one’s stress levels and daily diet, can also play a role in such an occurrence.
With that being said, here are three steps to take to prevent having thyroid problems, taken from an interview with Ashita Gupta, MD, an integrative endocrinologist at Mount Sinai West in New York City.
1. Go for a Mediterranean Diet
Dr. Gupta explains that “seventy percent of our autoimmune system is found in our intestines. And when the intestinal lining becomes inflamed, it can trigger an immune response.”
Having inflammation in this area plays a role in the development of thyroid disease. As such, one of the best things you can do to keep inflammation in check is to watch what you eat and maintain a well-balanced diet—particularly, that of a Mediterranean one!
The goal is to have about four to five servings of vegetables and three to four servings of fruit each day. Lean proteins and healthy fat from fish are also crucial for any meal, which can be found in fishes such as salmon, herring, anchovies, and mackerel. These are all easily found in a Mediterranean diet—making it the ideal choice for someone with a goal of protecting the thyroid.
2. Watch out for certain food items
It’s no surprise that certain food items exacerbate intestinal inflammation and trigger autoimmune system flare-ups, which in turn can affect various parts of the body. Dr. Gupta recommends steering clear of processed food, dyes, and fat- and sugar-free substitutes. Doing so involves checking the nutritional label for trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and refined sugar, as these are generally unhealthy for the human body!
While it is common knowledge to avoid processed foods, a less obvious culprit is cruciferous veggies, such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, watercress, Bok choy, and Brussel sprouts. Eating these food items raw and in high doses could mess with your thyroid—which is something surprising coming from well-known vegetables!
As Dr. Gupta explains further, “uncooked cruciferous vegetables contain natural chemicals called goitrogens that can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis.” But for those who love kale, don’t panic just yet, because she adds, “the goitrogens in these foods are inactivated by cooking, or even by light steaming, so you can still consume them for their valuable antioxidant and cancer-protective effects.”
The solution? Make sure to cook your food well!
3. Know which toxins to avoid
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, you should limit your exposure to endocrine disruptors—chemicals that interfere with your body’s endocrine system. Although one may find it complicated to avoid such substances, the goal is to reduce exposure as much as possible.
The chemicals to avoid are the following:
- Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) – these can be present in some carpets, flame-resistant and waterproof clothing, and non-stick cookware, all of which were linked to thyroid disease in a 2010 study.
- Phthalates – found in fragranced products and soft plastics
- Bisphenol-A – found in some hard plastics and canned food linings (although many manufacturers are starting to remove them)
- Triclosan – an ingredient found in antibacterial soaps that, according to the FDA, have altered hormone regulation in studies of animals (human studies are still ongoing)
By following the tips above, you can reduce the risks of having thyroid problems. Although some of these may appear to be difficult to follow, the essential point is to take care of one’s body as much as possible! By partnering with a health center to lock into your condition as much as possible, you can ensure to get ahead of any disease before it turns into something serious.
Are you looking for reliable health centers that offer wellness programs in Surrey? At Health Optimizing Langley, we have programs that help aid in the treatment of people with various autoimmune diseases, from those who have Hashimoto disease to those who suffer from chronic pain. Connect with us today to set up an appointment!