By Delia Quigley for Care2.com
Located above your windpipe is a small gland that affects virtually every organ system in your body. This includes your brain, heart, intestines, and the quality of your skin. Your thyroid gland and the hormone it produces, is the energy source that runs your body. When your thyroid gland is compromised your metabolism slows, you feel fatigued and cold, your concentration is off, your hair thins, you gain weight, and your skin becomes dry. It may be a small gland, but when it does not get the nutrients it needs there can be powerful repercussions.
Medical research has confirmed that iodine is responsible for the formation of the thyroid hormones T1, T2, T3, and T4. Without sufficient iodine, the thyroid can produce only limited amounts of these hormones. The best way to support your thyroid is to eat a balanced whole foods diet, one that includes iodine, which can be found in foods harvested from the sea: fish, shell fish and sea salt; but the best source of iodine are the sea vegetables, kelp, dulse, arame, and hijiki to name a few. Earl Mindell recommends using kelp in his book, Vitamin Bible for the Twenty-First Century. He writes that, “Kelp has a normalizing effect on the thyroid gland. In other words, thin people with thyroid trouble can gain weight by using kelp, and obese people can lose weight with it.”
An excess of iodine in ones diet can be as detrimental as not getting enough iodine, cautions Anne Marie Colbin, author of Food and Healing. “Considering that we are already ingesting large qualities of this mineral because of its presence in fertilizers and table salt, the situation (your iodine level) definitely bears watching.”
Your thyroid gland also requires the amino acid, tyrosine, which is found in:
Other nutrients needed by the thyroid include:
Selenium: whole grains, tuna, herring, wheat germ, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts.
Zinc: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, seafood, organ meats, eggs, beans, whole grains, mushrooms, soybeans, wheat germ.
Copper: beets, molasses, beans, whole grains, nuts, seafood, raisins.
Manganese: nuts, seeds, whole grains, seaweed, leafy greens, legumes, egg yolk, pineapples.
B vitamins: shellfish, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese.
Vitamins A: carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, dark leafy greens, eggs, yogurt, kefir, fish oils.
Vitamin C: berries, fruit, green vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes.
Vitamin D: salmon, fatty fish, eggs, sunshine, fish oils.
Vitamin E: nuts, seeds, eggs, organ meats, whole grains, wheat germ, molasses, sweet potatoes, leafy greens.
Be sure to include the Omega-3 essential fatty acids in your diet in the form of flax and/or fish oils. Eating sufficient protein with each meal will help improve and normalize your metabolism, and this can aid in normalizing your thyroid function. It is important to note that protein is needed to transport thyroid hormone through the bloodstream to all your tissues.
- The over abundance of polyunsaturated oils in the standard American diet can interfere with thyroid function.
- Unsaturated oils block thyroid secretion and can inhibit thyroid hormones’ movement through the circulatory system.
- Fluoride found in toothpaste and city water can leech iodine from the body.
- The heavy metal mercury can displace selenium, a nutrient necessary for the critical conversion of thyroid hormone T4 to T3.