Have you ever heard “You are what you eat?” I’m sure you have.
When I gave up on western medicine to solve my Graves’ and later Hashimoto’s disease, I turned to diet. This was not an easy process. I struggled for a long time experimenting with foods and discovered that diet can indeed influence the thyroid.
I discovered what foods to remove from my diet and what foods were needed to cure and maintain a healthy thyroid. Now I want to cover:
Foods to ADD to my life to boost my immune system and detox the body and help the thyroid.
NUTRITIONALLY DENSE FOODS
FOOD that is nutritionally dense and provides all the key macro- and micro-nutrients in good ratio.
Some tips here:
- Always organic, they are more nutrition-packed and free of hormones that are known to interrupting our endocrine system.
- Meat must be at least organic but pasture-raised is best. We want to eliminate antibiotics and growth hormones from our diet.
- Food that is FERMENTED the traditional way, so things like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, homemade yoghurt, kombucha tea are all rich in probiotics.
PROTEINS and FATS
They are the building blocks of your digestive track and our hormones. We are fat-o-phobic in America and low-fat diets are one of the worse things that we invented. Europeans and Asians have fat-rich diets (traditionally) and enjoy much better health than we do. Good fat tips: avocados, walnuts, coconut oil, coconut butter. Animal fats are the best in restoring a troubled digestion; ghee (clarified butter), butter, chicken and beef fat are essential but need to be rendered and not in fried/processed form.
Probiotics are key in restoring your digestive track.
Everyone has bacteria in their digestive tract, or gut, that is essential to the function of the human body. A healthy adult has about 1.5 – 2 kg of bacteria in their gut, both good and bad. Normal levels of bacteria, or flora, in the gut protects against invaders, undigested food, toxins, and parasites. When the good and bad bacteria in the gut get out of whack (i.e., worse than good), a whole host of negative reactions can occur in the body. Undigested foods can leak through into the bloodstream causing food allergies and intolerances, vitamins, and minerals to not be absorbed, leading to deficiency, the bad bacteria to produce a whole host of toxins, and the immune system to not function properly.
Here are examples of traditionally fermented food you could incorporate to your diet:
- Sauerkraut (pick properly fermented, not in vinegar)
- Kim chee (Korean fermented veggies)
- Kefir (has different bacteria than yoghurt, also super beneficial)
- Kombucha tea
- Vegetable medley (fermented)
- Coconut water kefir
HERBS, SUPPLEMENTS and VITAMINS that benefit the thyroid.
Although I’m a fan of getting these from real food whenever possible. It’s hard to give tips here as many people over-medicate and feel worse later. Hopefully these tips help; they apply to most auto-immune conditions (this was given by my naturopath who focuses on hormonal and thyroid health):
- most people are Vit D deficient, taking Vit D in 2,000 units is safe and good to do as Vit D is a hormone, connected to the thyroid.
- calcium is key but needs to be taken with magnesium for full absorption.
- for hypothyroidism: selenium, turmeric/curcumin, phytosterols and for GI support; probiotics and L-Glutamine are key.
- for hyperthyroidism: copper and magnesium are a common deficiency in people with hyper.
SIMPLE MEDITATION, BREATHING and VISUALIZATION techniques that manage stress and emotions.
I cannot emphasis how important this is, especially for people with hyperthyroidism. We underestimate what stress and emotions do to us; each flare-up of anger, feelings of guilt, fear, hostility, jealousy, etc. fire up the adrenals which release cortisol, and this hormone has a detrimental impact on the thyroid.
Whether it is sports, dancing, yoga that gets you moving that does not drain your adrenals and your thyroid, yet gives you a sense of accomplishment and joy.
Balance based on your bio-individuality.
No one diet/plan works for everybody as each person has a unique way of healing. There is a saying: “One person’s food is another’s poison.” It’s always worth remembering that just because one diet worked for one person it does not mean it will work for you too. The same way one person could have healed their thyroid by just changing the water filters (by getting rid of fluoride) alone and another needs to implement five major diet and lifestyle changes to start feeling just a little better. Let’s respect our differences.