As a Holistic Practitioner with a Masters Degree in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (CFMP). I have seen an increase in both hypothyroidism and Hashimotos Thyroiditis. It is my belief that treating these disorders should start with some comprehensive holistic approaches. I think that “food as medicine” should be the foundation of supporting Thyroid health. In our practice, Integrative Acupuncture , we address health from a lifestyle medicine perspective.
Here are some helpful tips that you can help to optimize the health of your Thyroid:
1. Remove Processed Foods.
We strongly recommend that our patients start off by removing all processed foods , sugar and gluten from their diet. We know that processed foods are filled with anti-nutrients such as chemicals and preservatives. These ingredients burden the thyroid , an endocrine gland that is very sensitive to any toxins. As for sugar, balancing our blood sugar becomes a key goal in helping the thyroid function optimally.
The research on gluten has shown us that it can be a major factor in auto-immune diseases , especially Hashimoto’s. The data suggests that the molecular structure of gluten very closely resembles thyroid tissue, and the body starts attacking it in response to gluten exposure.
Sea vegetables are a very good source of food based iodine. This is important for proper Thyroid function. This can be done by adding a piece of Kombu to a pot of beans or soup during cooking. Sprinkle kelp granules over salads or hot dishes as you would use salt. Use nori as a wrap (instead of gluten containing wraps).
3. Eat Butter. Don’t be afraid of using butter.
The endocrine system loves organic grass fed butter. After decades of butter-bashing, it’s high time we look at butter for what it is – the forgotten superfood!
a.) CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, which helps reduce belly fat, protects against cancer and encourages muscle growth
b.) Vitamin A to help maintain thyroid, adrenal and cardiovascular health
c. )Vitamin K2 to support bone density and possibly reverse arterial calcification
d.) Vitamin A, D and E, all key anti-oxidants that are essential to good health
e. )Key health supporting nutrients and minerals including lecithin, selenium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iodine and more
The best butter to buy is raw organic and grass-fed. Not surprisingly, butter produced from pasture or grass-fed animals – those animals who feast on leafy greens every day — will be higher in nutrients than butter from factory-farmed animals raised on cheap, nutrient-free GMO “feedstuffs,” grains and antibiotics. Kerry Gold is an easy to find grass fed butter.
4. Cook your Cruciferous Vegetables.
Raw Cruciferous veggies, such as kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage cauliflower, and broccoli contain goitorgens. Goitrogens are substances (whether in drugs, chemicals, or foods) that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland.
Women with thyroid problems definitely should not avoid them — instead, enjoy them steamed or cooked, as the heat alters the isothiocyanates’ molecular structure and eliminates the goitrogenic effect.
5. Eat Slowly……Chew Your Food Well.
Because your Thyroid is the Master of your metabolism, we want to eat slowly and without stress so that your thyroid can have time to send the correct messages to the rest of your digestive system. It is the Thyroid that sends signals to the stomach , pancreas, and small intestine to start producing hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes and to start the process of peristalsis. Because the Thyroid is located right in the throat area, it literally connects the body and the mind. If you rush while you are eating food, it moves too quickly from your mouth to your stomach. This does not allow enough time for the proper communication to take place. This is a major contributor to the digestive dysfunction that we see in our practice.
the thyroid has a direct correlation to complaints such as bloating, gas, burping, and constipation.
For a long time now research has supported the practice of yoga for improving many aspects of our health. There has been a particular focus on yoga and thyroid health as well. There are many yoga asanas (poses) that support and stimulate thyroid function as well as the entire endocrine system. Shoulderstand and/or Supported shoulderstand are especially beneficial for stimulating the thyroid gland. We recommend to that our patients start to incorporate thyroid specific asanas into their daily routine. As little as 10 minutes a day has been to show to improve thyroid function.
7. Find Your True Voice
As we have pointed out, anatomically the Thyroid gland is located in the throat. This is the epicenter of our ability to communication. Often times we find that we “hold down” our thoughts , feelings and needs. I t can be very healing for us to learn to speak our truth with love, kindness and compassion. Working with a facilitator who teaches Non Violent Communication skills can be a wonderful way to learn this skill of finding our voice. People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deepening connection and conflict resolution.
8. Support Your Adrenals
The Thyroid gland and the Adrenal Glands have a mutually dependent relationship. When one of these glands is overburdened or under functioning it effects the other immediately. It is important for people suffering with any thyroid disorder to find out the status of their adrenal function. There cannot be resolution of thyroid health without supporting and correcting Adrenal dysfunction. In our practice, we often do a saliva test called an ASI ( adrenal stress index ) to determine if we need to support the Adrenal Glands.