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Lifestyle Tips for Managing Your Thyroid

Return to thyroid articles

If you have just been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, you might not be sure what to do next. Here are some tips that can help you maintain or promote overall thyroid health. Typically medications are needed in addition to these thyroid management tips. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet or taking any substances, even if they are natural ones like vitamins and herbs.

Choose Thyroid Healthy Foods
Since the thyroid cannot produce iodine itself, it relies on what the body takes in by way of food to produce the thyroid hormone which is needed to properly regulate things like temperature and weight. Here are some foods that have been connected to overall thyroid health and others that should be avoided altogether.

Diets rich in magnesium, iodine, protein, calcium and selenium
When you incorporate foods containing magnesium, iodine, protein and calcium into your diet, you can actually help support healthy thyroid function and help protect the gland. Selenium deficiency is often a factor in low thyroid function. Selenium rich foods help the thyroid to balance hormones more regularly.

Add dietary iodine products if necessary
A minimum of 60 micrograms of iodine is needed in a day to make the thyroid hormone, yet the recommended daily intake for healthy adults is closer to 150 micrograms a day and 90-120 micrograms for children. Pregnant women also require slightly more at 200 micrograms a day. If you stay around these levels, the thyroid can function more regularly.

Avoid goitrogens
Goitrogens are natural substances that are known to have an effect on the thyroid. Normally they do no harm to people who have a healthy thyroid, however if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism (lack of sufficient thyroid hormone), many doctors suggest limiting these foods in your diet. These include peanuts and veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, radishes and spinach and also fruits like peaches and strawberries.

Avoid iodine-blocking foods
Certain food products actually block iodine absorption in the body and those with an underactive thyroid gland should avoid them as much as possible or, in the case of the following veggies, simply cook them and the blocking agent subsides. These include turnips, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, rutabaga, brussel sprouts, bok choy, cress, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi. Other products that block iodine include tofu and other soy products, however, cooking these does not diminish this from happening. Chlorine and fluoride found in tap water often have the same iodine surprising effect.

Incorporate organic and fresh foods
Adding organic and fresh foods and produce is important for avoiding toxins and for maintaining a healthy metabolism, which the natural enzymes found in many of these foods do. Also, hormone injected foods should be avoided as well.

Preventative Practices
Many of the tips mentioned above are ideal for those who have a diagnosed thyroid condition. Here are some preventative measure s that can help keep your thyroid healthy and may help reduce your risk of developing hypothyroidism.

Avoid junk food
Sugary and empty calorie junk foods can deplete you of the nutrients needed to keep optimal metabolism and thyroid function.

Add some coconut oil
Virgin coconut oil has been found to help maintain thyroid health in people affected by hypothyroidism and as a preventative measure.

Drink plenty of water
By remaining properly hydrated, the systems in the body are able to regulate and function more efficiently.

Exercising, even as little as 30 minutes a day, helps elevate mood and cut down on water retention.