The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that normally weighs less than one ounce, and is located in the neck under your voice box. The hormones that your thyroid produces help to regulate your metabolism, affecting how smoothly and quickly your body can convert calories into energy. This then has a direct impact on how much fat you store.
Causes of low thyroid function can include your diet, a hereditary condition, hormonal changes or even a food allergy. Some symptoms are weight gain, fluid retention, low body temperature (you're always cold when everyone else is not), dry skin, brittle nails, constant fatigue, depression, difficulty getting pregnant and acne.
If you've noticed any changes in weight, mood, and energy levels ask your doctor to run some thyroid blood tests. Since low thyroid function is not fully understood by medical professionals, getting a diagnosis is not always as straightforward as you would think. It is important to find a doctor with an open mind, who is willing to examine all evidence (including your own thoughts) and who will work with you towards a diagnosis.
Here are a few diet and lifestyle choices that can help boost your thyroid gland naturally:
- Increasing your Iodine intake can help stimulate thyroid gland function. The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating body metabolism and energy expenditure. Kelp extract supplements are a potent source of Iodine, as well as all different types of seaweeds and seafood.
- Spicy food doesn't just taste great, it actually increases your metabolism too. Black Pepper, Ginger, Chili Peppers and Cinnamon all raise your body temperature, increase your circulation and help you burn fat faster!
- Eating more fiber. Constipation is very common symptom of hypothyroidism, so it's important to get enough sources of fiber to keep things moving. Great sources are brown rice, brown rice pasta, oats, beans, apples, oranges, and dried apricots.
- It’s a fact that most of us do not get enough Omega-3 oils in our diet to maintain optimum thyroid health. Deficiencies of this fatty acid have actually been linked to lower thyroid hormone levels. Good sources of this metabolism-boosting acid are flax seed, acai berry, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring. Many people use flax oil and acai berry as a supplement.
- Without adequate protein the thyroid can't function properly, even if the sufferer is taking suitable thyroid medication. Make sure you get enough lean meats, fish, poultry and low fat dairy products or eggs.