The topic of Thyroid is hugely interesting and it seems to be cropping up everywhere now. The thyroid is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body and lies in the front of your neck, around the “adam’s apple” that being said it is a tiny gland, but holds huge importance to the bodies function.
The thyroid produces its own thyroid hormones T3, T4 and Calcitonin which help regulate the Metabolism which is so important not only in terms of weight regulation, but also things like Digestion, Skin health and Energy Regulation as well as Calcium absorption.
I wrote this post not for people looking to cure a severe thyroid problems (for this see a doctor or naturopath) but rather as a guide on how to keep your thyroid healthy and functioning well, in other words on regulating your thyroid function. At the end of the day we could all do with a more optimised endocrine system.
1- Keep your adrenals healthy. This is because the adrenals have a direct link to the function of your thyroid glands. When adrenals are burnt out they cannot produce enough of their own hormones and this in turn impairs the thyroids function. The fascinating thing is that all of the endocrine system is linked, leading to a knock on effect. To keep adrenals in good shape, consider –
- Avoiding excess exercise – Especially too much High Intensity work which can be extremely stressful on the body, use it smartly once or twice a week. Also avoid doing too much morning fasted exercise – this seems to have a even harsher effect on the endocrine system than exercise with a bit of fuel in the tank.
- Don’t cut Calories – When we cut calories too low, the body reacts with a stress response. This sends the adrenals firing hormones around the body to deal with what it deems as a threatening situation. Anyone who has been on a low calorie diet will know about the ups and downs you can feel due to the excess adrenaline being pumped around the body. Even having the occasional binge and ramping up the calories can have a thyroid boosting effect.
- Reduce Stress – In this modern day and age many of us spend the majority of our time with a sympathetic nervous system firing, basically in a stress response. This again taxes the bodies endocrine system and promotes the need for some down time everyday. Things like Napping, deep breathing, and just relaxing get the parasympathetic nervous system going and reduce stress levels.
- Supplements – Firstly use sea salt liberally in your cooking, the adrenals thrive on salt and need it to function well. Also consider starting the day with 1tsp of sea salt in warm water. The adrenals also have a very high content of Absorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and therefore taking a good dose can help support the adrenals. I like to take a few grams when feeling run down or after a stressful situation. It is a cheap supplement and something to be kept on hand at all times.
- Limit Caffeine - Caffeine can be a good thing even boosting thyroid function, so if it treats you well don’t ditch your daily brew just yet. Saying that, many of us overdo it in the caffeine department — relying on cup after cup to get through the day. Too much caffeine is certainly not a good thing and again puts excess stress on the body. Try and cut down to 1-2 cups per day.
2 – Cook with the right Oils. One of the main things that can regulate your thyroid function is what fats you use. This is because some fats have been shown to impair the Thyroid’s function whereas others have been shown to give it a significant boost. Firstly you want to avoid excess Omega 6 fatty acids which easily turn rancid and toxic to the human body, this includes all vegetable oils (corn, canola, sunflower, rapeseed, flaxseed etc) that you may be cooking with or using in your food.
The treatment? Dump the vegetable oil, wheat, soy, sugar and processed food in favor of the things the human body is equipped to handle: animal fats, root vegetables, vegetables, fruit, meats, organs, seafood, eggs, nuts and soaked or fermented non-gluten grains and legumes. Throw in some bugs if you’re feeling adventurous. -Stephan Guyenet
In place start using Coconut Oil which is a proven thyroid stimulator. Coconut oil is stable at very high heat as it is a tropical oil, therefore it is great for cooking and frying at high heat.
In the l940s, farmers attempted to use cheap coconut oil for fattening their animals, but they found that it made them lean, active and hungry. – Ray Peat
The benefits of coconut can be attributed to its rich content of Lauric acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid which are very unique and work as anti-bacterials, Antifungals and Antimicrobals. As well as this it contains Medium Chain Fatty Acids which are processed by the liver and used directly as energy, these fatty acids serve to nourish and regulate the thyroid.
Plus food cooked with coconut just tastes better. If you don’t want the coconut flavour to come through in your food then purchase a refined coconut oil which retains the benefits but is taste and scentless.
These Simple Things can help you keep your thyroid and endocrine system in good working order. If you are lucky enough to have good thyroid and adrenal health then make sure you stick to these points to keep your body running well. If you suspect a thyroid problem these tips can certainly help out a great deal as most thyroid issues can be delt with using natural methods.