Hypothyroidism also called an underactive thyroid, is a condition where the body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is insufficient iodine intake. Other causes are due to autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It has been noted globally one billion people have an iodine deficiency. This condition is most common in women than in men.
The pituitary gland in the brain sends a signal to the thyroid gland to release TSH( (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and thyroid hormones are released in the bloodstream. Thyroid hormones are imperative for certain body functions such as metabolism, growth, and repair. Insufficient thyroid hormones hamper certain functions of the body causing fatigue, weight gain, and other symptoms. Hence, people with hypothyroidism have a very slow metabolism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
When the body doesn’t receive enough thyroid hormones, the body functions slow down. Sometimes people with this condition do not show any symptoms at all. However here are the symptoms noticed in people with thyroid and these symptoms can be associated with underlying diseases:
- Feeling cold
- unable to concentrate
- Weight gain
- Poor appetite
- Heavy menstrual periods in females
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Muscles aches and tenderness
- Prematurely graying hair
The symptoms vary and are non-specific. It is recommended to have a blood test measuring thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine levels to diagnose hypothyroidism.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
There can be many reasons for the insufficient production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid glands. However, the major causes are given here:
- Autoimmune disease
- Surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland.
- Radiation treatment
- Congenital hypothyroidism(by birth)
- Thyroiditis( inflammation of the thyroid gland)
- Damage to the pituitary gland
Diet guide for Hypothyroidism
Diet is very important for people suffering from any conditions. some foods have a good impact on hypothyroidism and few foods can make it worse. Although foods can not cure this condition, it majorly interferes with the body functions. Foods that contain iodine, selenium, and zinc can improve thyroid function. Therefore dietary changes are necessary to improve the quality of life for people with hypothyroidism. This article will outline the important nutrients needed for people with hypothyroidism and the choices of food to eat and avoid.
Foods to eat:
Egg– Egg contains iodine and selenium- the essential nutrients that help regulate thyroid hormones.
Yogurt- It is a good source of iodine.
Brazil nuts- Brazil nuts are power-packed selenium the main nutrient for thyroid function.
Milk- One cup of low-fat milk contains one-third of your daily iodine needs.
Chicken and beef– Meats are a good source of zinc. The TH hormones secrete well with Zinc- a key nutrient for hypothyroidism.
Fish- Fish is best for hypothyroidism as it is a good source of iodine.
Berries- People with hypothyroidism have an increased level of harmful free radicals. Berries are a good food to eat, as it is high in antioxidants which fights against harmful free radicals.
Gluten-free grains and seeds- Amaranth, corn, rice, and buckwheat.
Foods to avoid:
Foods containing goitrogens should be avoided as it may prevent iodine from entering the thyroid gland. High intake of goitrogens may eventually lead to goiter. Raddish, cabbage, Brussels sprouts are a few examples of goitrogenic foods.
Processed and junk foods– you should avoid these types of food as it contains too much sodium which negatively impacts hypothyroidism.
Cruciferous vegetables- It is advised to limit the intake of cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, turnips and kale as it may interfere with thyroid production.
Important nutrients for Hypothyroidism
These nutrients are essential for good thyroid health:
It is the vital nutrient essential for people with hypothyroidism as iodine deficiency is the major cause of this condition. People in the US and developed countries are not iodine deficient s they add iodine to salt- Iodized salt.
Selenium is a mineral which contains anti-oxidant and protects the thyroid gland from free radicals. Adding an optimal amount of selenium in your eating regime is important for preventing thyroid. As your body doesn’t make selenium, you can have supplements and foods rich in selenium.
Zinc is another vital element needed for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Therefore it is advised to add more zinc-rich foods to your diet.
Foods rich in Goitrogens and gluten are harmful to hypothyroidism.
- Get screened for hypothyroidism every 5 years.
- Quit smoking.
- Be stress-free
- Maintain your weight
- Drink plenty of filtered water
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Do physical exercise
The Takeaway Hypothyroidism if left untreated may cause Goiter (enlarged thyroid glands), heart problems, and infertility. Therefore it is essential to take preventive measures and keep checking your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine levels. The normal TSH levels are 0.4 to 4.0 milli-international units per liter. Thyroid levels changes during pregnancy, it is essential to have thyroid function tests during your gestation period. Medications and supplements can help treat hypothyroidism. Taking a thyroid-friendly diet and making changes to your lifestyle help tackle this condition.
Author Bio:Gifty Narkani is a Content Writer at Pulse Pharmacy, the most trusted online medicine sellers in India. She specializes in guest blogging, loves to publish blogs and a winner in social media campaigns. Gifty is well-versed in niches like health benefits, medical issues in conjunction with medical news. She is an inspiration who prompts the readers to have a healthy lifestyle.