The digestive system is an area that has received a lot of attention in recent years. Many functional medicine and holistic health professionals build their programs around restoring proper bowel function. Although digestion is very important, there is another organ that plays an essential role in metabolism: the thyroid gland. The latter controls the rate at which the cells that make up your body create energy. When cells are functioning efficiently, we look good, feel good, sleep well, age slowly, and can easily adapt to whatever stressors we come in contact with.
How do you know if your thyroid is working properly?
Although blood tests are the most common measurement, a simple home test can give you an accurate picture. Dr. Broda Barnes was the first to advocate this approach and his work is largely undisputed due to his effectiveness.
Buy a digital thermometer and keep it on your nightstand. Take your oral temperature before getting out of bed in the morning. Also measure the temperature 20 to 30 minutes after lunch. Record data for several weeks. Your temperature should be around 36.6 ° C when you wake up and reach 37 ° C in the middle of the day. If the results are consistently lower, the thyroid gland is likely not functioning properly.
If you don’t feel like trying this method, ask yourself if your hands and feet are often cold. Do you often feel cold when everyone is fine? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, chances are you need a thyroid check.
What are the causes of thyroid problems?
Unfortunately, many people follow what they believe to be a healthy diet. In most cases, it includes a lot of nuts, seeds, vegetables, a limited amount of animal protein, a lot of vegetable / seed oils, a limited amount of saturated fat, and a vigorous workout. All of this often pushes their body into a state of survival where their metabolism and body temperature slow down. In his book, Dr. Raymond Peat addresses this problem and mentions the main causes of thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism).
- Fasting and calorie restriction
- Excessive stress, especially if you exercise too much
- deficiency of dietary protein
- The high amount of unsaturated oils in the diet, all liquid oils other than coconut oil and olive oil fall into this group
- Plenty of raw vegetables, especially goitogenic vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, mustard)
- Diets that favor nuts, seeds and beans as the main source of protein
Which areas of the body can be affected by thyroid disorders?
If you look at a list of thyroid symptoms, you will find pretty much anything that comes to your mind, because the thyroid is involved in almost every process in the body. Below we list some of the more common and perhaps lesser known correlations.
- “High” Cholesterol – Thyroid hormone helps convert cholesterol into reproductive hormones. In the absence of this hormone, the cholesterol level continues to rise (i.e. it is never converted).
- Low libido – As stated above, thyroid hormones are required to produce reproductive hormones.
- Hair and Skin – Thyroid hormone is responsible for the integrity of all tissues in the body, including the following:
Bags / dark circles – Often a sign of hormone imbalance, food sensitivity and protein deficiency.
Thyroid problems can upset the delicate balance between estrogen and progesterone.
What steps can you take to improve your thyroid health?
If some people need a thyroid supplement or drug, there are many changes you can make to your meal plan. “Eating to warm up” is a popular term related to nutritional therapy for the thyroid. It involves consuming foods that produce heat in the body. Here are some other things you can do.
1) Get enough sunlight. If you live in a cold area with little sunlight for part of the year, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement.
2) Women need at least 75 mg of protein, more if you train with weights (eggs, fish, shellfish, grass-fed beef, broth, dairy). If you’re limiting animal protein, consider white potatoes (contrary to popular belief, they are an adequate protein source).
3) Avoid unsaturated fats. All liquid oils other than coconut oil and olive oil (including flaxseed and fish oil).
4) Prioritize saturated fats like coconut oil, along with the occasional addition of butter and ghee.
5) Eat a balanced meal or snack every 3 hours and eat fruit or juice as soon as you wake up.
6) Eat well-cooked vegetables, avoid raw vegetables and green juices.
7) Pamper your liver. Your liver “activates” your thyroid hormones. To do this, cut down on toxins, eat beets, bitter foods and artichokes. Fruits and juices are also useful as a snack during the day.
8) Bone broth is all the rage, but a broth made from chicken or turkey necks will include thyroid hormones which can be helpful in restoring thyroid function.
9) Eat shellfish once a week for selenium and other trace minerals that support the thyroid.
10) Eat the liver once every two weeks. It’s good for your liver.
11) Ensure adequate salt intake. Salt all foods to give them flavor.
12) Visit the saunas regularly.
13) Ensure adequate magnesium intake: transdermal oils, supplements, epsom salt baths help increase magnesium levels.
14) Avoid gluten and all other foods that don’t make you feel good.
15) Sleeping with socks on.
16) Include some form of dairy in your schedule (milk, cheese, yogurt or ice cream).
17) Don’t limit natural sugar. Eat several pieces of fruit a day and / or incorporate honey.