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How to Take Care of Your Thyroid on a Plant-Based Diet

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Our thyroid is one of the most important parts of our endocrine system; this glands regulates everything from our mood, our weight, our body temperature, metabolism, and even digestion. The confusing part about understanding if you have a thyroid problem is also realizing that all of these health issues can be both a cause and effect on the thyroid. One of the most “testy” glands in the human body, it’s essential to our overall wellness and is constantly changing to adapt to our current state of health. It acts as a modulator but is also very susceptible to our actions and as a result, it can become out of balance quickly.

What Our Thyroids Do on a Day to Day Basis

Our thyroid is a butterfly-shaped glands that is found in the front of our throats right below our Adam’s apple (the larynx). It’s responsible for regulating our thyroid hormones on a day to day basis. But what do those hormones do? There are three thyroid hormones, two of which are commonly known as T3 and T4. The other is lesser known, yet still important and called calcitonin. These hormones control the body’s metabolic rate as well as contribute to heart function, digestive health, muscle control, bone maintenance, and even brain development and mood. The release of these hormones are completely controlled by the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) that’s produced by the pituitary gland. They are utilized in the body to assist with energy and also affect how other hormones in the body work as well.

Possible Thyroid Problems

It’s estimated that 30 million people have a thyroid disorder of some kind. Many people suffer from underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism, while others suffer from overactive thyroid disorder, or hyperthyroidism. Both can be detrimental to one’s health and cause a host of other health issues to occur as a result. Hypoythyroidism is most common, especially in women. It can lead to weight gain, a slowed metabolism, low energy, depression, digestion upset, mood problems, joint pain, poor memory, muscle stiffness, headaches and more. It often leads to autoimmune disease disorders known as Hashimoto’s and Graves disease due to the way the thyroid affects all major parts of the body. Hypothyroidism can cause anxious-like energy, problem gaining weight, higher body temperatures, trouble sleeping, and overactive digestion.

The reasons for a thyroid disorder are hard to pinpoint since many things can cause an imbalance quickly. A poor diet, too much or too little exercise, consistent stress, trauma, a food allergy, lack of rest, metabolic disorders, other hormone disorders, medication and birth control pills, and so many other things can affect one’s thyroid. Many women in their early 20’s and 30’s begin to show thyroid problems, but it can occur at any age, even babies and young children.

Nutrients Needed for a Healthy Thyroid

One of the main nutrients needed for a well-functioning thyroid is iodine, yet too much can actually pose a problem and lead to hypothyroidism, therefore it’s crucial not to just assume that taking an iodine supplement will fix the issue. Other nutrients necessary for a healthy thyroid (and metabolism) are B vitamins, good clean sources of fat, substantial amino acids (protein), and a variety of fruits and vegetables that supply high-quality vitamins and minerals. Though many animal foods contain B vitamins and some even have good sources of fat, such as fish, eating these foods are not necessary to maintaining a healthy thyroid. In fact, though fish is a natural source of iodine, it’s also dangerously high in mercury, with more and more research being found everyday just how toxic fish is to our bodies. Mercury can cause not only problems to our thyroid, but also permanent neurological damange. And while foods like eggs and lean poultry supply B vitamins and are a better option than red meat, they are overall not the best source of nutrition for long-term health.

How to Take Care of Your Thyroid on a Plant-Based Diet

Eating a diet that supports your thyroid is completely possible to do without animal products. The key thing to remember is to stay away from processed foods as much as possible because remember: Whatever you put in your body is used as either fuel or has to be circulated through the organs to be detoxified because it’s a foreign agent to the body. This slows down all the body’s intended purposes, including producing thyroid hormones. Your body doesn’t recognize chemicals, additives, hormones, pesticides and excessive amounts of processed salts and sugars. It needs real food.

Here are some key nutrients to focus on and the best sources: 

Iodinespirulina snackies

One of the best sources of iodine in a plant-based diet are blue-green algaes and kelp, which is where fish obtain their omega’s and their iodine from. Spirulina is one type of blue-green algae and supplies plentiful amount of iodine with 10 percent of your daily needs. In conjunction with a well-balanced diet, one would be able to get enough iodine without worrying about an overdose in this single nutrient. A teaspoon a day in a smoothie would be a perfect amount to add just enough. Plus, it’s also an incredible source of food-based iron which is needed for optimal metabolism. Raw, unrefined pink sea salt is another excellent source of natural iodine from the earth and also contains other alkaline minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium your metabolism needs to function at its best. Too little quality sodium and too much refined sodium can lead to blood pressure problems, metabolic disorders, and also thyroid disorders. Skip iodized (highly refined) processed salts and use real salt from the earth instead.

B Vitaminssteamed

B vitamins assist with metabolism, energy levels, digestion, mood health, and thyroid health. They are found abundantly in plant-based foods. Some of the best sources are: avocados, greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli, bananas, figs, nuts, seeds, spirulina, coconut, whole grains, sprouted grain (flourless) breads, beans, legumes, and nutritional yeast. Be sure to take a vitamin B12 supplement, preferably a sublingual or liquid form that is absorbed immediately in the bloodstream. Lack of vitamin B12 can also cause thyroid problems, but a supplement ensures everyone gets enough.

Vitamin D

eastriverGlobal Jet/Flickr

Vitamin D acts as a hormone in the body; it plays a part in your mood, digestive, bone, blood, heart, and thyroid health. A shortage of vitamin D can lead to bone loss, digestion problems, depression or just general sadness, and fatigue. It’s also directly linked to Hashimoto’s disease, one of the autoimmune disorders tied to hypothyroidism, but is not yet known to be a direct cause or just a side effect. Either way, everyone should be obtaining optimal vitamin D levels as much as possible. Don’t rely on fortified foods (or even milk) as your go-to source; these foods contain the form of vitamin D known as vitamin D2, not vitamin D3, the optimal form. Vitamin D3 is the easiest for your body to absorb and use efficiently. It comes from the sun, therefore the best way to get enough is to get 15 minutes of sunlight daily. If you live in a cloudy location or can’t get outside daily, do look into a supplement. Be sure to purchase vitamin D3 (not vitamin D2) and double check that it’s plant-based so you’re not taking in lanolin (sheep’s skin) or fish oil found in most vitamin D3 supplements.

 Selenium

shutterstock_195401741Africa Studio/Shutterstock

 

You may have heard of this mineral being good for your skin, hair, or being great for men’s health — and you’d be right! Selenium is great for your skin and hair, along with men’s prostate health, but it’s also crucial to a healthy metabolism and thyroid. It’s primarily found and stored in the thyroid gland where it’s used to assist with the enzymatic breakdown of the thyroid hormones so they can be used by their body. Because when you think about it, even if these hormones are being produced, if your body can’t use them efficiently they aren’t going to do you much good. Selenium also supports the immune system and with fertility in both men and women. The easiest way to get enough? Eat one Brazil nut a day; they have over 100 percent of your daily needs in just one nut. If you’re not a fan of the taste, just toss them in a smoothie; you’ll never taste them! Though seafood offers natural selenium too, no other food rivals that of Brazil nuts. As a bonus, it’s easy to digest and has 2 grams of fiber plus plenty of healthy fats your body also needs for an optimal thyroid function.

Good FatsCacao Protein Bars 2

If you’re all about a fat-free diet for too long it could lead to thyroid problems. One reason being that healthy fats, specifically good saturated fats (found in coconut, cashews, and cacao) are all necessary for a healthy thyroid. They help prevent high blood sugar levels that can lead to insulin swings which can alter metabolic health, increase stress hormones, and lead to hypothyroidism as a result. Try your best to avoid animal products with cholesterol since these have consistently been linked to other health issues like heart disease. You can get plenty of good saturated fats in your diet from raw coconut meat or raw coconut products (butter, shreds, flour), along with nuts like cashews that have a higher amount of saturated fats than some other nuts. Just a few tablespoons of these fats a day is all you need to support your body long-term. Other healthy sources of good fats to include in your diet include: almonds, avocados, dark chocolate (choose at least 85 percent cacao or higher or raw cacao), seeds, walnuts, and pecans. Avoid vegetable oils and try to only use coconut oil or olive oil if you choose to use oil at all.

What to Avoid to Take Care of Your Thyroidsugardonut-1200x750

Excess caffeine, processed food, added and refined sugar, alcohol, and unhealthy fats can all cause problems with the thyroid and prevent optimal absorption of thyroid hormones in the body. There is also a great deal of controversy surrounding soy and cruciferous veggies due to their effects on the thyroid. The reason for this is because these foods contain natural goitrogenic properties. Goitrogens are a substance that prevents the use of thyroid hormones in the body. Know that though these foods do contain goitrogens, their effects on thyroid health only pose a negative problem if a great deal of them are eaten consistently on a day to day basis. It’s always best not to consume too much of any food, including these.

Eat Plenty of GreensGreen-Smoothie-Stacy-Spensley-1200x800

Rotate your greens in your green smoothies, eat different sources of protein without only relying on soy, and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and a variety of beans and legumes if you tolerate them well. A well-varied diet is a key part in taking care of your thyroid long-term. There is also not enough research out yet that proves soy and cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) are substantially harmful in small to moderate amounts. Use your discretion with these foods; if they make you feel great, keep eating them but if you notice problems, be sure to eat other healthy plant-based options instead. 

Hopefully now you know what you need to thrive on a plant-based diet, not just for your thyroid but for long-term health too. Be sure you explore our Plant-Based Nutrition Guide which can answer more health questions you may have. All in all, eat more plants, real food, and get enough movement, sunlight and try to manage your stress daily. These are the best things you can do for your thyroid and overall health.

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

 

Lead Image Source: Jackie Sobon/Flickr

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26 comments on “How to Take Care of Your Thyroid on a Plant-Based Diet”

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Tannis
12 Days ago

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Tannis
12 Days ago


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Tannis
12 Days ago


I really happy that i and my husband are cured of (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) with the herbal medicine of Dr Tebe , i have been suffering from this disease for the past 6 years without solution until i came across the email of this doctors who have cure so many people with his herbal medicine, i also choose to give him a chance to help me and my husband, he told me what to do and i kindly did it, and he gave us his herbal medicine and direct me on how to use it, i also follows his instruction for use and he ask us to go for a check up after 3 weeks and which i did, to my greatest surprise our result came out as negative, we are really happy that there is someone like this DR who is ready to help anytime any day. to all the readers and viewers that is doubting this testimony stop doubting it and contact this Dr and see if he will not actually help you. i am not a stupid woman that i will come out to the public and start saying what someone have not done for me. His contact on: [email protected] or Whatsapp on +2348140544262


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Lisa Vedal
1 Months Ago

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Lisa Vedal
1 Months Ago

Good day everyone my name is Lisa Vedal from UK I have this great opportunity to shell this testimony about how I get cure for my HIV,two yeas ago I was HIV positive so I was suffering from it I was doing one thing or the order to get a cure there was know way for it so I was on my way search on the internet I see a testimony of a young man,speaking about how Dr JOHN Help him get a cured for HIV with his herbal medicine I was surprise and I do not believe I said okay let me try him I contact him on his email address and he gave me intrusion and I follow it he told me what to do and I do it after a 5 days he send me the medicine true DHL and i receive it fast he told me how to use it and I do it after two weeks he told me that I should go for test I do it and I was afraid then later on the test came out i was so surprise that am HIV negative I was so very happy i could not believe it we work and i we be HIV Negative, now am happy with my wife and two kids I want to use this opportunity to say this if you have this kind of disease called HIV I want you to contact him on is email([email protected]) OR whats-app +2347064365391 And he can also help you get a cure for HPV disease or any kind of disease with his herbal medicine. all you have to do is to believe him. thank you my Dr may god bless you.


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Kortne Altinga
4 Months Ago

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melissa cole
7 Months Ago



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Shelly Duke
8 Months Ago

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Vicky Bruce
8 Months Ago

Am Vicky Bruce by name,Am from USA Am here to share my experience..Happiness all over my heart, i never believed that i could ever be happy like this with

the love of my life, All thanks to God almighty for making this great man Dr.Ogude for helping me. i have been married to Johnson for 2 years until a day

came when my husband Johnson traveled to Austria for business, then when he came back his attitude towards me turned to a very bad and rude one,i was

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live the way he wants to, so i was surprised and was short of words, i never new he has a girl friend in Austria, which he has been hiding from me for years,

he relocated to Austria without telling me, that was how Johnson left me and our son in London and never bothered to call me nor text me, i was in pain for

good 1 year and some months i never taught of any man cause i loved him so much with all my life, and i tried just to reach to see if i can be his second

wife if he has already gotten married to another lady, i love him so much that every minutes he is always in my mind, so their was a day i was browsing with

phone and i saw a lady testimony on how she got her lover back with the help of a man named Dr.Ogude who has been helping a lot of people here all over the

globe , i was surprised cause i have never come across such thing before, so that was how i took Dr.Ogude\'s contact immediately i gave him a call and told

him my problem, he told me not to worry about any thing that i shall have my man back to my arms within 24 hours, i was like okay, let me watch and see, so

the next morning i got a call from somebody saying my love, i was like who is this i ended the call and the number called again surprisingly it was Johnson

he was pleading crying on the phone that i should forgive him, i taught i was dreaming until i realized that is not dreams, JoSH was crying, pleading and

begging immediately a tears of joy rolled down from my eyes,is this real? so that was how i accepted him and now we are living happily together here the

London , and now am so happy . all thanks and to Dr.Ogude for helping a lot, if you need his help you can contact him via [email protected] Or

what\'sapp him on this contact +2348032460627


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roney
10 Months Ago

Thyrovanz is a natural desiccated thyroid supplement. Check Out more here:
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