The Thyroid is one of the main metabolic controllers in the body and literally takes the food you eat and converts it into energy. The thyroid is tricky though and certain things can slow it down and other things seem to speed it up. There is a lot of misinformation on thyroid health, but a healthy thyroid is definitely something you want on your side for a healthy metabolism.
The two most important hormones of the thyroid are T3 and T4. T3 is very important to have for a healthy functioning thyroid. What happens is due to various dieting factors, T4 doesn’t get converted to T3 and instead gets converted to rT3. Long story short, NOT GOOD. It basically means, something is off and hypothyroid can result, which leads to cold intolerance, digestion issues, slow metabolism and just feeling overall fatigue all the time.
Some of this information was actually really surprising to me, because it seems as though even some very healthy foods can affect thyroid health.
Here are some things that could NEGATIVELY impact thyroid health:
- Insufficient Calorie Intake – I had to list this one first as it definitely plays the biggest impact. The less you eat, the less food your body has to process as energy and the more it down regulates energy producing enzymes. The result is less energy and a slower metabolism.
- Insufficient Carb Intake – This is important as well, because many people on Very Low Carb Diets could be getting enough calories, but not enough carbs. This over time down regulates the thyroid at T3 is sensitive to low carbs. Keep at least 100 carbs a day in the diet and this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Raw Vegetables – (especially cruciferous vegetables broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale) This was shocked me a little. After digging a little deeper it appears to be related to the amounts of goitrogens, which inhibit iodine to the thyroid. Iodine is obviously very important for thyroid health. Solution – Cook vegetables and don’t eat them raw. Cooking destroys these goitrogens and not too mention makes them taste much better.
- Too many Beans, Nuts, Seeds, and Soy – These are very similar to vegetables in that too much of these foods can inhibit certain vitamins (Zinc and magnesium) from getting absorbed properly. Note – I said too many. You can still eat these foods in moderation without ruining your thyroid. Although in my diet, I stay clear of Soy. It has ton of estrogen (fat storing) properties and thyroid inhibiting factors, I just dont see any benefit in it.
- This is for the above two points – It appears Raw Plant foods have certain “chemical defenses” to prevent predators “people” from eating them. Thats why eating these things raw can have potentially harmful effects. The solution is to cook these foods before eating them as this retains the nutrients, but gets rid of some of these harmful compounds.
- Too many inflammatory fats – these include eating too many vegetable oils from plant sources and also eating too much poultry meat fat has high amounts of omega 6. Basically what happens is that these unnecessary omega 6 fats overpower the omega 3’s causing a deficiency of the healthy, essential fats we really need.
Tips on how to speed up the thyroid and restore its health:
- Iodine – this seems to be the most crucial nutrient the thyroid craves. Because as soon as this nutrient is low or inhibited the thyroid slows down. Good sources include liver, asparagus, seafood – especially shellfish and kelp. Avoid raw cruciferous veggies in great amounts.
- Zinc – Responsible for a variety of metabolic processes. Foods that contains a healthy amount are beef, chicken, oysters, and oatmeal. Beans and Nuts also contain a fair amount, but she be sure not to overdo it on these sources, as too many can inhibit its absorption.
- Selenium – Very important mineral for thyroid health. Brazil nuts are far and away the best source. It only takes about 3 of these nuts to get enough for the entire day. Be careful about getting too much though as that seems to be a negative factor to the thyroid. Other sources also include oatmeal, chicken, seafoods, onions and garlic.
- Tyrosine – (this is a new one to me as I haven’t heard much about this one impacting thyroid health) This is an amino acid and important neurotransmitter. Dairy, beans, chicken, oatmeal, bananas and some nuts are good sources.
- Chromium – another important and underrated mineral essential to health. Meats, liver, onions, eggs and vegetables are good sources.
- Liver Health – The Liver is very underrated and is almost as important as the heart. Make sure to provide this essential organ with tons of nutrients and avoid really low carb diets as they stress the liver to produce glucose.
Most effective foods to enhance the thyroid, these contain many of the nutrients above as well as other helpful properties:
- Oysters and Shellfish – I admit I don’t eat these a lot, but they seem to have many of the vitamins and minerals that positively impact thyroid.
- Lean Meats- beef and chicken
- Cooked Vegetables – lots of vitamins and minerals, just avoid to many raw.
- Fruit – Berries in particular – vitamins, minerals, provide the liver with glycogen to function properly
- Beans and Nuts in moderation.
- Potatoes – These are starchy vegetables with tons of nutrients. If you eat a lot of beans, try switching to potatoes. These are much more filling than almost any other food on the satiety index and don’t inhibit nutrient uptake.
- Liver – not the best tasting food in the world, but very healthy.
- Coconut– Positively effect both the liver and thyroid
Bottom Line: Avoid drastic calorie cutting and carb cutting. Avoid raw vegetables and excessive beans, nuts, seeds and soy. Load up on the nutrients and foods listed above, eat a sufficient of calories and energy levels and metabolism should get back to speed.