I’m sure you’ve heard by now that giving up gluten, and maybe dairy and caffeine, are crucial for restoring thyroid health. Do these dietary changes seem like big steps that you’re just not ready to take? While I champion giving up gluten as a major weapon against hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disease, you can take other steps to lower the negative impacts everyday life has on your thyroid. So what other things can you do to improve your thyroid health? Here are 11 quick, easy and effective steps you can take right away.
11 Easy and Effective Things to do for Thyroid Health
1 Use Cast Iron Pans, Ditch the Teflon
Those non stick pans that we have become so accustomed to using are really harming your endocrine system, particularly the thyroid. Teflon should be phased out of your life completely. I recommend cast iron pans, ceramic or stainless steel. Using a little extra good fat to grease that pan is not going to make you gain weight. In fact, removing teflon will only help your thyroid to manage your metabolism more effectively.
2 Get rid of all the plastic
Same with the above. For years we thought plastic was harmless. Well, it’s not. It’s been labeled as another endocrine disruptor. Have you heard of xenoestrogen? It’s thought to cause early puberty in girls, affect fertility, leech harmful chemicals into your system and much more. Glass containers for food storage are the way to go. And please please please do not use plastic storage containers to heat up food in the microwave. Also, forget about drinking water from plastic bottles!
3 Stop Using Aluminum Foil
Heavy metal toxicity is listed as a root cause for autoimmune thyroid disease. How do we get loaded with heavy metals? Old mercury tooth fillings, breathing toxic air and drinking polluted water, cookware, foods, medicines and the ingestion of lead based paints. The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged that grilling/cooking food in aluminum foil significantly raises the amount of aluminum leeched into that food.
It is also a good idea to eliminate canned goods from your diet, and not just tomatoes or acidic foods. Some research has even found high aluminum exposure correlates with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. A good alternative to aluminum foil is unbleached parchment paper.
4 Take a Methylated B complex Vitamin, Vitamin D3 and Magnesium
Methylated vitamins are bioavailable forms of the vitamin which many people with Hashimoto’s have a better time absorbing and processing. A good quality B complex vitamin can help with energy and mood and will most likely contain the following:
- Thiamin (vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
- Pantothenic acid
- Vitamin B6
- Biotin (vitamin B7)
- Folate (B9)… not folic acid
- Vitamin B12
Vitamin D3 is especially critical for your immunity and thyroid health. There have been enough studies showing a linkage between Vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune disease. Before supplementing, make sure to test your levels because over supplementing can be toxic.
Magnesium can also do wonders for thyroid health. It helps you to produce more T4, thyroxine… a type of thyroid hormone) in the thyroid gland. Magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate are both good choices.
5 Detoxify your Liver
A highly easy and effective thing to do for thyroid health is to help your body detoxify the liver. It’s easier than it sounds. When your liver detox pathways are clear and functioning properly, toxins are removed from the body and the liver is able to aid in the production and conversion of thyroid hormone. A natural way to detoxify your liver is with milk thistle, an herb that protects the liver against toxins and which can successfully treat chronic liver disease. I also recommend adding dandelion greens to your diet.
You are more susceptible to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease if you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s. Obviously drinking alcohol can worsen the problem, so does a high sugar diet. Take this one seriously.
6 Switch to Pink Himalayan Salt
There is a lot of debate about the role of iodine in people with hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disease. While iodine is critical in the production of thyroid hormone, it is thought that people with autoimmune thyroid disease actually have excess iodine in their systems. While some docs will prescribe iodine supplements and others will say to stay far away from it, I’m in the camp that staying away from iodine is better. So I advocate for switching to pink himalayan salt versus iodized table salt is a great idea. Plus, pink salt is natural and tastes way better!
7 Take a Probiotic
So much is now being understood about the gut microbiome and its relation to physical and mental wellbeing. Probiotics can help repopulate your gut with good bacteria. Working your way up to a high quality, multi-strain 50 billion CFU probiotic can be very beneficial.
8 Belly Breathing
Have you heard of Belly Breathing or Deep Breathing? It’s a wonderful technique that only takes minutes a day. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to relax, which in turn allows you to rest and digest properly. When constantly stressed and in the sympathetic nervous system, your body is in fight or flight mode. That’s why you crave sugar because the body thinks it needs quick fuel to outrun that so called tiger in the woods. Your body also holds on to fat, rather than burning it. How stress affects hormones, your adrenals and other parts of the endocrine system is a whole other post (or five) but you can combat a lot of this process by breathing deeply. Inhale and expand your belly, then release. Count of 8 for each on the inhale and exhale. Repeat. ❤
9 Go phthalate and paraben free
I personally know many people who think this step is not that important. But let me tell you, it is. The skin is the largest organ in your body and whatever gets put on it is absorbed into your system. Phthalates are huge endocrine and hormone disruptors affecting the thyroid, fertility, estrogen, etc. Parabens are carcinogenic. Both are found in cosmetics, shampoo, lotions, perfumes and household cleaning products. Really, who needs this? Removing yourself from exposure to these harmful chemicals is one less thing you’ll have to worry about. And there are plenty of products on the market that are free from both phthalates and parabens, making this one of the easiest things to do for your thyroid health.
10 Cooking oils
Stay away from vegetable oils. These genetically modified, oxidized, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) cause inflammation in the body and in your thyroid. They also can block the production, transport and usage of thyroid hormone in the body. The oils I’m talking about are soybean, corn, canola, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and peanut oil. There has been no decrease in heart disease even though the consumption of these oils has skyrocketed. Stick to extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, ghee, butter and even lard.
11 Eat Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are high in selenium, an essential mineral paramount for metabolism and thyroid function.
So, what did you think? Are these steps easy or difficult to implement? Drop me a comment below.
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