Take Care of Your Thyroid Health
The thyroid gland is located in the throat, around the larynx and trachea, and shouldn’t be visible from the outside unless there is a problem. We should mind our thyroid health since it is the largest organ in the endocrine (hormone-secreting) system, and it plays a central role in how efficiently you burn energy (calories). It is important for metabolism as well as for weight management. Looking at the big picture, it plays a role in many functions of the body.
The thyroid produces the hormones T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). It produces T4 in much greater abundance than T3, but this is the inactive form and less bioavailable.
Our body converts T4 into the biologically available T3 but the process is complex and delicate. While hypothyroidism is associated with low T4 and T3 levels, T3 – the active hormone that we really use and need – is the one that usually dips the lowest.
The thyroid also secretes Calcitonin which regulates calcium levels and bone metabolism.
Thyroid problems affect millions of people around the world, including those in industrialized countries. The conditions resulting from thyroid problems can be extremely serious. As a regulator of hormone production and metabolism, the thyroid needs to function properly to maintain good health. The good news is, there are nutritional steps you can take to help support your thyroid health.
Nutrients that Help your Thyroid Health
The thyroid needs very specific nutrients to maintain proper function. First and foremost is iodine. Selenium has also been recognized recently as a necessary component of thyroid health. Iron and zinc have also been recognized as important elements for thyroid function.
The following foods provide quality dietary sources of these necessary elements. They also include complete nutritional content including quality protein, high quantities of necessary vitamins (such as B vitamins needed in hormone production) and more.
Fish is a great source of dietary iodine and will take good care of your thyroid health, plus the amazing benefits of omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to contribute to a healthy heart. Deep-sea fish such as cod and haddock contain the highest densities of dietary iodine.
2. Dulse Seaweed
Sea vegetables are a great source of iodine and dulse seaweed has been found to offer the most consistent and highest concentrations of iodine. This purple-brown sea vegetable is full of potassium and is an excellent source of protein. (In addition to dulse seaweed, arame, kombu, nori, sea palm and wakame are also quality iodine and nutrient sources.)
3. Coconut Oil
Coconuts are an excellent food all around, and the oil from coconut has been used as a healing food for a long time. Coconut oil contains essential fatty acids needed for proper metabolic function. These fatty acids are easily assimilated by the body and contribute to thyroid function, thyroid hormone production and regulating the metabolism.
With its plentiful supply of vitamin A and iodine, butter remains a thyroid food that nourishes the whole body.
Similar to butter, eggs are a rich source of vitamin A and iodine. Plus, they are an excellent source of protein. Getting plenty of natural amino acids through protein is good for your thyroid.
6. Liver and Kidney Meat
Although not appropriate for vegans or vegetarians, these organ meats, especially beef liver, provide iron, zinc, and selenium as well as high-quality proteins. They also provide a more complete, nutrient-dense source of calcium, potassium, Vitamins A, C and D, and the B vitamins than most fruits and vegetables. Again, if you go this route, select products from organic, vegetarian-fed animals.
While most nuts are an excellent source of proteins, minerals, vitamins, and fiber, almonds provide a potent source of nutrients needed by the thyroid. Almonds combine quality values of iron, selenium, and zinc with essential B vitamins and high protein content.