Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce sufficient thyroxine hormone. Women especially older than 60 years of age are more likely to have hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, constipation, dry skin, weight gain. Hypothyroidism might be due to a number of factors including autoimmune diseases, thyroid surgery, radiation therapy. Measuring the level of thyroxine stimulating hormone (TSH) in the blood may help in the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism treatment involves daily use of synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine.
Congenital hypothyroidism is common in India. Congenital hypothyroidism is partial or complete loss of thyroid function that affects infants from birth. Approximately 1 in 4000 newborn infants has a thyroid function deficiency. Hypothyroidism increases the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women.
Along with the medication intake, a healthy and balanced diet can boost thyroid function. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna, sardines contain omega 3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are essential for hormone balance and thyroid function. Include selenium rich foods like Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds in your diet.
There are certain foods to limit or avoid to manage hypothyroidism. Avoid soy products; soy contains phytoestrogens that inhibit the activity of thyroid hormones. Calcium and vitamin supplements affect blood thyroxine levels/interfere with levothyroxine absorption, avoid the use of calcium and vitamin supplements while on levothyroxine medication. Gluten hinders the production of thyroid hormone, people with hypothyroidism should stay away from wheat, barley, rye and other grains. Cruciferous vegetables block the thyroid gland ability to absorb iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function; limit the intake of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels, kale and broccoli.
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