4 tips on supporting your thyroid

Sore throat woman on gray background

Thyroid issues aren’t just complicated, they’re common.

According to the American Thyroid Association, 12 percent of the people in the U.S. will develop a thyroid condition at some point in their lifetime — the vast majority of this 12 percent are women.

If you’re one of that 12 percent, you know how difficult it can be to get help.

Sometimes it can feel like pulling teeth just to get your doctor to test you so that you can get a diagnosis, much less run the right tests to ensure you know exactly what’s going on.

And once you’ve finally gotten a diagnosis, you can still feel on your own because with so many things that can affect your thyroid levels, even the best of doctors often throw up their hands when it comes to treatment.

For these reasons and more, I feel the number of people with thyroid problems is probably a lot higher than what’s being reported.

That means many of us are left suffering symptoms like fatigue, weakness, aches and cramps, constipation, weight gain, cold intolerance and more.

Fortunately, there are ways you can support your thyroid through diet and supplementation so that you can feel better. Here are some pointers…

#1 — The veggie debate

You may have heard that if you have thyroid issues, it’s important to avoid cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower, broccoli and bok choy.

The reason for the recommendation is because these veggies have compounds known as thiocyanates in them. Thiocyanates are a worry because they could deplete the iodine your thyroid needs to function optimally.

However, there’s been a debate as to whether that recommendation is actually necessary.

And we’ve got the answer…

According to Dr. Angela M. Leung, M.D., MSc, these veggies are not truly a worry as long as you don’t eat them raw. That’s because even light steaming is enough to destroy the thiocyanates that could cause a problem.

To top it off, she points out that eating these veggies is actually beneficial to your overall health and therefore the health of your thyroid thanks to the potent levels of fiber and antioxidants they deliver.

Her recommendation?

Eat veggies, including cruciferous ones… simply mix them up, getting plenty of variety in your diet on a daily basis.

#2 — The soy issue

While cruciferous vegetables are back in play, there is a food group that should be avoided: anything soy-based. This would include tofu, soymilk or protein, miso, tempeh and edamame.

The reason for this is that these foods can block your thyroid peroxidase enzyme (TPO), which is vital in the production of thyroid hormones. This can lead to or worsen hypothyroidism.

#3 — Fad diets

It’s also important to remember to simply follow a well-rounded, balanced diet rather than bouncing between whatever is currently popular.

The foods you eat are vital to supporting your thyroid and eliminating entire food groups based on the latest craze could lead to unexpected issues.

#4 — Supplement support

Finally, in addition to supporting your thyroid through diet, there are also supplements proven to enhance thyroid health. These include:

Iodine — Iodine provides your thyroid the fuel it needs to create the critical T3 and T4 hormones.

L-Tyrosine — This powerful amino acid partners with iodine to create T3 and T4 hormones needed to help efficiently
metabolize your calories for to lose or maintain your weight.

Selenium — This naturally occurring trace mineral, selenium helps convert relatively inactive T4s to the active thyroid hormone T3 so your body can use it.

Zinc — Zinc is an essential mineral that also helps convert the T4 hormone to the more active T3, to support a healthy metabolism. And as an added bonus, it also releases the vitamin A stored in your liver to help to improve the health of your thyroid.

Copper — This trace mineral helps stimulate your thyroid and protect your body from too much thyroxine building up in the blood.

Ashwagandha root — A strong antioxidant, ashwagandha helps protect your thyroid, allowing it to function better and produce more T4. Plus, it works as an immune modulator to help regulate autoimmune inflammation (like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) that can cause underactive thyroid.

Now, you’re armed with the information you need to get thyroid healthy at home. Start today to feel better tomorrow, a year from now and for the rest of your life.