Your thyroid is one of the most important glands in your body. A properly functioning thyroid is essential to many bodily processes and, to say it simply, if your thyroid isn’t working quite right, it will let you know. Diet is a great way to ensure that your thyroid is able to hum along like normal, so this article lists five foods that are great for your thyroid.
Within your body, your thyroid is like the director of a movie. Just as a director tells the actors and crew where to stand and what to do, the thyroid tells other parts of your body when and how much to function. The thyroid, however, doesn’t communicate by yelling “action” or “cut,” it communicates through the use of hormones.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits toward the bottom of your neck. It is primarily responsible for the production of two hormones, called T3 and T4, which the thyroid uses to send messages all over your body. These hormones affect your metabolism, mood, heart functions, body temperature and more.
The thyroid makes many important bodily functions possible, and a thyroid that isn’t operating properly can be quite the headache (among other symptoms).
A healthy thyroid produces the hormones your body needs in exact amounts. Problems occur when your thyroid overproduces or underproduces. An overactive thyroid (called hyperthyroidism) produces too many hormones which can cause an irregular heartbeat, nervousness, trouble sleeping, fatigue and more. An underactive thyroid (called hypothyroidism) doesn’t produce enough hormones which can cause high cholesterol, depression, muscle weakness, weight gain, and more. Clearly, your thyroid is worth protecting, and diet is a simple way to protect one of your most important glands.
Your thyroid needs iodine to work properly, and seaweed is full of it. Sushi with seaweed and fresh seaweed salads are the best way to get the iodine your thyroid needs from this food. However, it is important to remember to not eat too much seaweed, as too much iodine can be as harmful for your thyroid as too little. Limit yourself to one seaweed salad a week, in addition to sushi and smaller amounts of other iodine-rich foods.
Plain, low-fat and Greek yogurts are all good sources of iodine. In fact, most dairy products are rich in iodine, but relying on dairy alone won’t give you all that you need. Working some dairy into your diet can be good for your thyroid, but be sure not to consume it in excess — especially if you’re eating seaweed too.
Food #3: Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are full of selenium, which is another nutrient your thyroid needs to regulate your hormones. In fact, Brazil nuts are practically bursting with selenium, so eating only one or two a day is enough to see a healthy boost in your selenium levels. Meats like chicken, beef, pork and fish (especially tuna) are also high in selenium, so remember not to overdo your selenium intake.
Again, these meats contain a good dose of selenium, but that is not their only means of benefitting your thyroid. Chicken and beef are also rich in zinc, which is another nutrient your thyroid needs to function properly. If you prefer to avoid meat, then look to other foods that are high in zinc, such as breakfast cereals, black beans and wheat germ for an alternative source. Most Americans are not deficient in zinc, so you probably don’t need a dramatic increase in your zinc intake; just make sure you’re getting enough.
Specifically, fruits that are high in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants, besides being praised for their disease-preventing qualities, are great for keeping your thyroid running smoothly. Some fresh fruits to include in your diet are blueberries, strawberries, grapes, kiwi and cranberries. If you prefer dried fruits, then prunes, raisins and others are also rich in anti-oxidants.
Incorporating some of these foods into your diet can help sustain long-term thyroid health and keep your thyroid running smoothly.