By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Can I lose weight with a sluggish thyroid? The answer in short is YES you can!
An underactive thyroid condition occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism. Symptoms can include weight gain, tiredness, depression, poor concentration, dry skin and constipation. Hypothyroidism, if untreated, will cause difficulty in losing weight but once treated adequately this should improve.
When a person takes thyroid medication it is still important to include the nutritional guidelines to improve the medication’s effect and improve any hypothyroid symptoms. I often see people in clinic who are taking the medication but are still experiencing many of the symptoms, although their blood tests are normal. With combined treatment, dietary & lifestyle changes these symptoms can be a thing of the past!
In most cases hypothyroidism is caused from an auto-immune disease called hashimotos’ disease. This has a strong genetic component where the immune system is attacking the thyroid gland so this is where vegetables and fruits can pack a punch in improving your immune system.
Tips for Healthy Thyroid Function:
All fruits and vegetables contain powerful phyto-nutrients that support a healthy immune system. Due to the inflammation seen in an auto-immune disease it is important to reduce the inflammation with anti-oxidants by eating a rainbow to provide valuable phyto-nutrients.
Eating selenium rich foods such as brazil nuts, shellfish, eggs, sunflower seeds and garlic will help to support a healthy metabolism. Selenium content varies in foods depending on the soil content, some geographical regions are very low.Selenium deficiency can be determined with a red blood cell selenium blood test otherwise hair and nail analysis.
Healthy thyroid function also requires adequate levels of Iodine, a trace mineral, required by the body for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Eating Iodine rich foods such as seaweeds, marine fish, pineapple, iodized sea salt, (avoid the free-flowing agent), spinach and lettuce.
Avoid the over consumption of raw goitrogens and unfermented soy products. Here is more on goitrogens and hypothyroidism.
Stress can be a big factor that can have a big negative impact on your thyroid hormones and can fire up auto-immune activity. Committing yourself to stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, warm baths, exercise, reading and other relaxing activities.
Excess fluoride and bromide exposure can interfere with the health of the thyroid. Fluoride and bromide can be taken into the thyroid gland in place of iodine.
Avoid gluten if you are intolerant. There are a number of studies that indicate auto-immune diseases, particularly hashimotos’ disease, can be related to a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Here is more information on gluten intolerances and celiac disease.
Avoid sugar, caffeine, refined processed foods, preservatives, additives and synthetic colors as much as possible.
Coconut oil has shown particular promise in some studies to help stimulate a sluggish thyroid.
So go ahead and feel empowered with a sluggish thyroid gland. You can succeed in excellent energy, health and weight loss goals!
For more recipes and meal plans, download our Thyroid Diet App for iOS. And for support with your weight loss goals, register for our 60 Day Guided Reboot for Thyroid and work with a licensed nutritionist in a group setting.