Health Tip #68

Health Tip 68

Advertisements

Health Tip #53

health-tip-53

Article to come…

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 #27

health-tip-27

Why Shop The Perimeter Of The Grocery Store?

If you think about your local grocery store, it’s mostly laid out with the fresh foods, seafood, meats, dairy and produces cases around the perimeter of the store.  So why should we shop the perimeter of the grocery store?  This is where the whole foods are.  Always look for the foods that are the least processed, harvested from the wild or come from a farm rather than a factory. The middle aisles tend to be where we find highly processed foods containing dubious ingredients.

Choose High Quality

Even when shopping the perimeter it behooves us to choose the highest quality ingredients that we can afford.  If you can, choose wild local seafood, local grass-fed meats and dairy products and a rainbow of brightly colored, local and organic produce.

Plan Ahead

It does take more time to prepare a whole food meal from scratch but the benefits to our health is well worth the effort.  Planning ahead, making a menu plan and shopping with a list will help with this task.  Using a slow cooker, especially during the cooler months, is another great time saver.  Planning ahead and remembering not to shop when feeling ravenous are good ways to save money and to help make the healthiest choices while shopping.

 

Health Tip #15

health-tip-15

I don’t necessarily mean you have to go raw vegan like I was a couple of years ago.  Just add a few more raw foods into your diet. Some experts say that at least half of your diet should be eaten raw.   Some favorite raw foods  you will already be quite familiar with include fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh salads, fresh salsa, guacamole, raw nuts and seeds,  fresh juices, smoothies, kale chips and energy bites.  By increasing  the amount of raw foods in your diet you are increasing the amount of nutrients you get from these foods as many nutrients are destroyed by cooking.  Not only nutrients are destroyed by cooking but also vital enzymes that are needed for certain reactions in your body.  And finally by eating fresh raw foods you are getting the benefit of their bio-photons or energy units of light which are emitted by all living things. One theory holds that these bio-photons can be assimilated into our cells and the more bio-photons a cell has, the healthier the cell.

If you have a sweet tooth and you want to give raw foods a try, check out the gorgeous recipes by Victoria BC based chef, Heather Pace on her website Sweetly Raw.

Health Tip #3

health-tip-3

Calories in, calories out, right?  Wrong.  The days of counting calories is a thing of the past.  Why?  Because not all calories are created equal.  As we discussed in health tip #2 you will lose weight initially if you just cut calories, but if your body isn’t nourished from what you’re taking in, your cravings will never stop and you will end up either back where you started or several pounds heavier.  What you want to take stalk of instead of calories, is nutrient density.  The question we want to ask when selecting a food to eat is, not how many calories are in the food but how nutrient dense is it?  If you’re eating a diet of primarily nutrient devoid or low nutrient value, prepared and packaged foods, you won’t be getting the nutrients that your body needs for all of your bodily functions.  If you aren’t being well nourished by the calories you take in, you will continue to be hungry as your body continues to seek out those missing nutrients. So what are nutrient dense foods?  Foods that are in their whole, unprocessed state  will tend to be the most nutritious; foods that came from a farm, not a factory.  A wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables will provide the body with needed nutrients.  These are the foods that will nourish your body and reduce cravings because your body is getting what it needs.

Health Tip #2

health-tip-2

If you want to put on weight, go on a calorie restricting diet.  You will inevitably lose weight at first but by the time you’re done, you’ll have added an extra 5, 10, 15…pounds.  Why is it that diets don’t work?  If you’re carrying excess body weight, there’s a reason for it.  Your body isn’t some stupid lug that doesn’t know what it’s doing.  Your body is ALWAYS looking out for your best interest.  The reason that diets don’t work is your body’s perception of stress.  I’ll speak more about stress in a later post but the human body is programmed to respond to stress as a signal for: fight, flight, fright, freeze, or famine.  In the case of dieting, in order to save you from eminent death, your body packs on weight.   When you diet, your body can perceive your decreased caloric intake as starvation and say, “don’t worry buddy, I’ve got your back, I’ll pack a little extra away for later”.

Yo-yo dieting can also lead to highs and lows in blood sugar which can cause insulin and leptin hormone dis-regulation.  Your goal should be to maintain a steady blood sugar level.   This can be achieved by eating a healthy wholefoods diet, and by avoiding refined sugar and carbohydrates,  and processed foods.  More on what a ‘healthy’ diet looks like in posts to come!