What is Hypothyroidism?Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid, is a common endocrine disorder resulting in insufficient production of thyroid hormone. Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland present in the front part of the neck, which plays an important role in metabolism and growth.
Hypothyroidism can occur at any age, but people over 45 years of age are more vulnerable, older women at 60 years and above are at increased risk of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism results in fatigue, low immunity, puffed face, swelling on the body, dry skin, irregular menstrual cycle, muscular cramps and sudden weight gain.
What are the Causes of Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism can be due to a number of reasons, including thyroid surgery, autoimmune disease, medications, iodine deficiency, pregnancy complications, and improper diet. Other causes can be hereditary or congenital anomaly having a dysfunctional thyroid gland at birth.
History of hypothyroidism in the family is a more likely risk factor for developing the disease. Sometimes a tumor in the pituitary gland could stop the production of thyroid hormones. Radiation therapy may also affect thyroid gland function and cause hypothyroidism.
It is important to consult a doctor and go through a hypothyroidism test to confirm the condition and its extent.
Home Remedies for Hypothyroidism
Though medication for hypothyroidism can help eliminate most of the symptoms it is better to find natural treatments for the disease. Along with your daily intake of medication these natural remedies for hypothyroidism can help reduce the symptoms and treat the disease.
- Eat a Balanced Natural Diet: A balanced diet is the prerequisite to help with the symptoms of hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid diet must contain all necessary nutrients that improve total body functions and help combat the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Most importantly, the diet should be natural without processed, canned and preserved foods or ingredients. Hydrogenated oils, white flour and artificial colors and flavors must be eliminated from the diet. Organic food consumption is most advisable. A natural diet with whole grains, vegetables and fruits help boost the immune system and reduce effects of hypothyroidism.
- Avoid Soy: Soy products and soybeans contain goitrogenic compounds that interfere with thyroid hormone levels in the body and make it worse for a person with hypothyroidism. Soy reduces thyroid production and causes hormonal imbalance in the body promoting the formation of goiters. This may aggravate the symptoms of hypothyroidis and cause a higher deficiency in levels of thyroid hormones.
- Essential Oils, Natural Oils and Fatty Acids: Essential oils and fatty acids are important in keeping the thyroid gland healthy. Fish oils are good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help promote thyroid hormone production. They boost body immunity and reduce inflammation, which may be an underlying cause of lowered thyroid activity. Natural fats in avocado, nuts, flaxseeds, fish, walnuts and animal products maintain a hormonal balance in the body. Coconut oil also provides energy and boosts immunity. Taking a regular dose of coconut oil or using it as the cooking medium will add the beneficial fatty acids to the diet that improve thyroid function. One must always prefer extra virgin, cold compressed and organic coconut oil in order to benefit from its health-promoting properties.
- Dump Caffeine and Sugars: Caffeine and carbohydrates can disrupt the malfunctioning thyroid gland. Reduce your coffee intake and eliminate high-calorie starchy foods from your diet. Starchy foods reduce body metabolism and increase the adverse effects of hypothyroidism. Eating fiber-rich foods and including nuts in your diet may help eliminate hypothyroidism symptoms and improve overall health.
- Increase Protein Intake: Proteins help in better distribution of thyroid hormone all over the body. Protein-rich diet helps in improving the reduced production of thyroid hormone by regulating the function of the thyroid gland. Nuts, green vegetables, eggs, meat and legumes are rich in protein that may help combat the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
- Go for Natural Iodine: Iodine is needed for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Adding the right amount of iodine helps maintain the thyroid hormone levels in the body. Reduced thyroid gland activity might be due to low iodine in diet or due to greater than required iodine content. It is best to eat foods that are naturally rich in iodine like seafood and seaweeds. Kelp is a good choice to replenish the lost iodine in the body. Avoid artificial iodine supplementation as they may increase the iodine levels than required and hamper thyroid production.
- Include Probiotics in Diet: Probiotics are gut-friendly bacteria that help better digestion and improve metabolism. Thyroid function highly depends on how healthy is your digestive system. Improper digestion and low level of good bacteria in the stomach may reduce thyroid hormone production.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is good for
hormone regulation and detoxification of the body. It helps lose weight, improve the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and maintain a proper
alkaline acid balance in the body. It is beneficial in controlling other chronic diseases like high cholesterol, blood pressure and
A spoonful of organic apple cider vinegar with honey in luke-warm water will help improve thyroid activity and control the symptoms.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity ensures the proper functioning of vital body organs, regulates endocrine gland functions, uplifts mood, improves metabolism, flushes body toxins and maintains a healthy weight. Few thyroid-related symptoms like fatigue, loss of appetite and osteoporosis can be combated through a regular 30-minute exercise regime.
- Balanced Estrogen Levels in Women: Hypothyroidism in women can be due to raised estrogen levels in the body. Higher meat intake, dairy products and birth control pills may imbalance the hormone levels in the body and deplete the production of thyroid hormones. These must be avoided to maintain a healthy hormonal balance in the body.