Thyroid disorders are wide ranging, but the most common form of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease where the body targets the thyroid. Primary hypothyroidism is less common in the industrialised world since it is due to a lack of iodine in the diet, although nutrient deficiencies often still play a role in many forms of hypothyroidism.
My quick sheet below highlights some pointers for you to take away & help guide you nutritionally to be sure you’re taking care of YOU.
Nutrients to focus on-
- Certain nutrients are important in proper thyroid function including iodine, selenium, zinc, magnesium and vitamin A, which are all responsible for the body's ability to manufacture thyroid hormones. Think brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, oysters, leafy greens, fresh fruit, raw cacao, carrots, sweet potatoes, fatty fish, seaweed.
- Foods high in B vitamins and iron like gluten free whole grains, fresh green vegetables and sea vegetables can support healthy thyroid function. I'd also recommend foods high in antioxidants like organic blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, squash and bell peppers. Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish like salmon and cod can help to reduce inflammation and support immunity, both important for thyroid disorders.
- Vitamin D also plays an important role in regulating the immune system, and a deficiency is specifically linked to autoimmune hypothyroidism.
What are low thyroid symptoms?
Symptoms of hypothyroidism commonly include, but are NOT limited to some of the below- fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, slowed heart rate, movements, and speech, joint and muscle pain, cramps, and weakness, constipation, dry skin, brittle hair or fingernails, decreased sweating, pins and needles, heavy periods, high cholesterol, puffy face, feet, and hands, insomnia, balance and coordination issues, loss of libido, recurrent urinary and respiratory tract infections, anaemia.
What could be causing my thyroid problems?
A variety of things could be at the root cause- Hereditary, stress, environment (pollution, toxins, pesticides) drug abuse, radiation, food allergies (such as gluten) and finally diet. The trace mineral iodine is essential for the thyroid. Without it, your thyroid simply can’t function properly. It can be found in organic good quality dairy, seafood, and seaweed.
SOY - Beneficial or not? Soy contains phytoestrogens (beneficial constituents of plants, also found in flaxseeds). This type of oestrogen “imitator” is not bad, but indeed, beneficial, with its naturally occurring oestrogen activity. Always opt for good quality organic soy, tempeh, and miso.
- Thyroid & SOY: Yes or no? Soy products do not cause hypothyroidism and hypothyroid adults need not avoid soy foods. However, the isoflavones in soy may potentially reduce iodine availability, required for healthy thyroid hormone production. It is therefore suggested that people who consume soy might need slightly more iodine in their diets (which we can get from sea veggies like Dulse and Nori).