Do you know where your thyroid is located and how to “keep it healthy”? Today, I want to focus on your thyroid health and what kind of role you can play in it’s health!
All About the Thyroid
Your thyroid gland is about two inches long and located in the front of the throat. It is shaped almost like a little butterfly with two wings on either side and some thyroid tissue connecting the two wings in the middle.
The main function of your thyroid is to produce hormones that help to regulate the metabolism of your body. Your body’s metabolism is responsible for regulating vital body functions like breathing, heart rate, body weight, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, body temperature and cholesterol levels. Simply put, it is the system that helps your body use fuel from food after it is broken down into energy for all different types of bodily functions.
Now that you know what the thyroid is, what happens when it isn’t functioning properly?
- Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid is working too hard, producing too much hormones. It can accelerate your body’s metabolism causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
- Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid is not working hard enough, producing too little hormones. This can slow down your body’s metabolism causing weight gain or making it difficult to lose weight.
Improving Thryoid Health
Both hyper- and hypothyroidism can be treated with medications or surgery. However, there are also a few nutrients that play a big role in your thyroid health!
- Iodine is extremely important for your thyroid gland function, but in the appropriate amount. I wouldn’t recommend an iodine supplement. Instead, choose to eat foods rich in iodine like seaweed, fish, shrimp, dairy products, grains, fruits, vegetables, and iodized salt.
- Vitamin D has been linked to your thyroid health in studies, specifically Hashimoto’s Disease – an autoimmune disorder similar to hypothyroidism. You can ensure that you’re getting enough vitamin D by adding salmon, cod liver oil, egg yolks, mushrooms and other fortified foods to your diet.
- Selenium is mostly stored in the thyroid gland, thus inferring that selenium is an important nutrient for thyroid function. Selenium-rich foods include Brazil nuts, tuna, crab, and lobster.
There are also nutrients that can cause harm to your thyroid health. Goitrogens are foods that release a compound called goitrin when broken down in the body. Goitrin interferes with the synthesis of thyroid hormones. These vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Heating these cruciferous vegetables decreases a lot of the goitrin in them.
It is important to remember that individuals with a thyroid disorder can live extremely normal and fulfilling lives, just so long as they make sure to take care of their thyroid.
If you don’t have any sort of thyroid issue, it’s still important to ensure you are eating a balanced diet with lots of different nutrients!
Your Turn to Take Action: How will you work to keep your thyroid healthy? Let me know in the comments below!