Health Tip #39

health-tip-39

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is an endocrine gland.  It helps to regulate metabolism and weight.  Thyroid hormones influence every cell and process in the body including growth and development.

How does it work?

The thyroid produces three types of hormones:  T3, T4, and T2.  These hormones interact with all other hormones in our bodies.  The liver converts T4 into T3 (the active form).  T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair and helps maintain body weight by controlling metabolism.  T3 can be disrupted by stress, infections, nutritional imbalances, toxins and allergens.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is and under-active thyroid, when when our bodies don’t produce enough thyroid hormone.  Many, many people have sub-clinical hypothyroidism with no obvious signs or symptoms.

  • Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

    • Some symptoms of Hypothyroidism include: tiring easily and lack of sustained energy, depression, feeling of a “heavy” head, falling asleep sitting up, weight gain, dry skin and chronic hives, hair loss, always feeling cold, low basal body temperature, stiff and popping joints, tingling and numbness.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is an over-active thyroid, when the thyroid secretes too much T4.

  • Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

    • Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism are: protruding eyes, menstrual cycle irregularities, weight loss, heartbeat irregularities, emotional instability, lack of mental focus, nervousness, restlessness, and frequent bowel movements.

Possible Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction and What to Avoid

Some possible underlying causes of thyroid dysfunction include: radiation exposure, chronic stress, nutrient debt (from eating processed foods, low HCl and malabsorption), heavy metal accumulation, pesticides, halogens (bromides, fluoride, chlorine), dysbiosis, free radical damage (low antioxidants), low iodine levels, low selenium levels, yo-yo dieting, metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) and goitrogens (in soy and cabbage family foods), Food allergies and sensitivities, and gluten sensitivity.

Testing thyroid function

Lab tests may be done to access the function of the thyroid including: TSH test, free T4 and free T3 test, and a thyroid antibody test to test for an autoimmune reaction.  A self test can be performed as an initial indicator of low thyroid by taking our temperature, with a basal body thermometer, each morning, before getting out of bed, for at least three days.  Average body temperature measurements should not be below 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.4 degrees Celsius.

What to Add In

Things to add in to our diets and lifestyles to nourish the thyroid include:

  • Clean”  whole foods (as opposed to processed foods) to help reduce her exposure to toxins in the diet, particularly pesticides as they interfere with iodine uptake.
  • Shop the outside perimeter of the grocery store looking for nutrient dense, unprocessed whole foods.
  • A primarily plant based diet of brightly colored vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, will provide her with plenty of fiber and antioxidants.
  • Meals including protein and healthy fats to help us feel more satisfied and support blood sugar stability.  healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, egg yolks and omega 3 oils (like those found in cold water fish, walnuts and pecans, will not make us fat but instead nourish the thyroid and help to regulate our weight).
  • Slow down, careful chewing, avoiding or limiting convenience foods (which lead to inflammation and thyroid problems), as well as drinking between meals (not with meals) so as to not dilute HCl.
  • Drinking pure or filtered water, which does not contain any fluoride or Chlorine.
  • Sea foods and Sea vegetables, (such as: kelp flakes or mixed seaweed flakes), rich in trace minerals and iodine, have a salty flavor and can be added (undetected) to soups and stews. Note: Iodine containing foods are recommended for non-autoimmune thyroiditis only. For autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s), they should be avoided.
*For more information on Hashimoto’s and molecular mimicry, see my tip on going gluten free.

Health Tip #7

health-tip-7

Back in health tip #1, I asked you to start a  start a wellness journal and write down your why for embarking on a new healthy living regime. In that same journal, if you haven’t started already, it’s time to start recording what you eat and how you feel throughout your day.  No one else need see this journal but yourself, so please be honest and record everything you eat.  No one is going to judge you for it, not even you!  Right?  Information is power.   I have found this to be an invaluable tool to find out where I’m on track and where I’m doing a lot of unconscious and emotional eating and when I’m eating for a pick-me-up, not necessarily out of hunger.  It’s a great way to examine your habits.  If I asked you, most of you would tell me that you eat a pretty healthy diet.  That’s that slippery mind thing again and the power of writing things down.  Most of us know how to eat a healthy diet, but we make little concessions all the time, “oh, just one, I deserve a treat, if I eat it quickly and if no one sees, it doesn’t count”.  Writing it down helps you stay accountable to yourself and on track with your goals.   It also helps you see where you might be sensitive to certain foods and notice dips in energy during the day when you go looking for caffeine or something sweet to bolster you up.  Please also remember to write down how you’re feeling as well, both physically and emotionally.  Are you bloated, gassy, achy?  Do you feel tired, irritable, sad?  The more information you record, the better tool your journal is going to be for you to make the appropriate and necessary changes to reach your goals.  And don’t forget to reward yourself for the things you did for your health and for your accomplishments, no matter how small. I add exclamation marks and happy faces for myself whenever I do something that is in line with my goals.  Remembering to drink my water, making myself a green juice or a smoothie, eating a big salad, working out, going for a hike or mountain biking in the forest are all things that get a smiley face reward in my journal! 🙂

Health Tip #1

health-tip-1cWhy?  Why do you make health and weight loss resolutions every year?  If you don’t have a strong enough why, you are not likely to see your resolutions through.  Your why is as individual as you are but whatever that why is, make it a good one!

Your why could be because:

  • You want to be as healthy as you can, to be there for your family. If you’re not feeling well, it is hard to show up and be your best for those you love.
  • As the years tick by, you realize you don’t want to be a burden to your family and you want to take responsibility for your well being so they don’t have to.
  • You’ve come to the realization that by loving and caring for yourself first, you have so much more to offer and so much more strength to draw from.
  • Your medicine cabinet is beginning to look like a pharmacy and you’re taking one medication to manage the side effects of another and so on and so on. Maybe you’ve decided you want to get to the real root of the problem.
  • Maybe you or a loved one have had a scary diagnosis or a close call that has made you rethink how you care for yourself on a daily basis.

You can even create a why if you can’t find a strong enough motivator.  Sign up for something that’s going to keep you accountable.  Sign up for a fitness program with a set goal date or sign yourself up for an upcoming running race.

Whatever your why, start a wellness journal and write it down.  Keep that why in front of you and remind yourself of it often.  Collect images of what you will look like and feel like when you reach that goal and keep them in your journal.  Daily visualize yourself having reached that goal and feel how it feels now that you’re there.

Health Tip #2