Your thyroid is butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck. This gland is responsible for several essential bodily functions, including regulating metabolism, mood, energy, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. The thyroid produces Thyroxine which is producing thyroid hormones.
However, when the thyroid is underactive (or produces too little thyroid hormone) regular function can suffer, weight fluctuates, can cause fatigue, and or depression, dry skin and feeling cold all the time.. There are many foods that can both positively and negatively impact the thyroid gland. Here are 7 nutrient dense foods that impact thyroid health:
You may love shrimp and fish of all kinds, but did you know that seafood is high in iodine, a mineral that is vital to a highly functioning thyroid? The thyroid is the gland that manages metabolism and growth, so it has the potential to throw our whole body out of whack!
If you’re deficient in iodine you can become lethargic, fatigued, depressed, and void of energy. However, if you suffer from hyperthyroidism (when the gland makes too much thyroid hormone), a diet high in iodine can exacerbate the symptoms, including accelerated heart rate, heart palpitations, mood swings, and anxiety.
There has been some controversy over soy and whether it has a good or bad affect on the thyroid. According to research from the Mayo Clinic, soy and soy products including soymilk and edamame are believed to interfere with the body’s ability to utilize synthetic thyroid hormone and natural product thyroid hormones (if you are being treated for hypothyroidism). However, studies are still inconclusive.
Unless you’re suffering from an iodine deficiency, soy is typically safe to eat and won’t mess with your thyroid’s ability to make thyroid hormones, but always check with your doctor.
3. Leafy Greens
Magnesium largely impacts several major body processes including how the thyroid functions. In fact, the mineral is necessary for thyroid function (making thyroid hormone) in particular. If you’re not getting adequate magnesium, you may suffer low energy, heartbeat irregularities, and muscle cramps and painful spasms.
Luckily, leafy greens are a powerful source of magnesium and incorporating daily doses of spinach, Swiss Chard, and dark green lettuces into your diet will ensure a well functioning thyroid gland.
You might consider kale among the family of leafy greens but this green superfood is a high source of goitrogen, a substance that interferes with iodine uptake and suppresses thyroid function. This means it may hinder the thyroid’s production of hormones necessary for regulating metabolism.
Goitrogen-rich foods (i.e., kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts) can be perfectly fine if you are getting adequate iodine in your diet, but if you suffer from iodine deficiency (or suffer from hypothyroidism) eating foods like kale can cause metabolism and energy issues.
The thyroid needs iodine to function properly and a well-known source of iodine is salt. Americans get plenty of salt in their daily diets (i.e., iodized table salt), so an iodine deficiency is extremely rare.
Keep in mind that if you suffer from low iodine, then the switch to sea salt may not be adequate. Sea salt, as well as salt, is used in most processed snack foods that don’t normally contain iodine.
6. Gluten and Your Thyroid
Only if you suffer from Celiac disease (which is a auto-immune responsive gluten allergy), your thyroid likely won’t suffer any ill function. However, if you do have Celiac disease, consuming even a small amount of gluten can damage the lining of your small intestines and increase your risk of Hashimoto’s disease (underactive thyroid) and Graves’ disease (overactive thyroid).
Eggs are a great for the thyroid because they contain a healthy dose of iodine and selenium. “One large egg contains about 16% of the iodine and 20% of the selenium you need for the day, making eggs a thyroid superfood! However, these benefits are only available in the nutrient dense yolk, not in the egg whites. Your thyroid will thank you for eating eggs.