How I know it’s time show my thyroid some love:
You may feel sluggish, tired, have gradual yet profound changes in appetite (either increase or decrease), anxiety, irregular periods, skin change and muscle cramps.
What the thyroid does:
- Sweeps up iodine from the blood to combine it with the amino acid tyrosine to create hormones T3 and T4
- Every cell in the body relies on T3 and T4 hormones to regulate metabolism and generate energy
- Is controlled by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus
- Manufactures the hormone that regulates calcium and phosphorus
- The craving: carbs
Make the switch:
If you think your thyroid is off, avoid foods with aspartame (always!), gluten.
Non-fermented soy products contain high amounts of goitrogens, which interfere with thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. Stick to fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh. Personally, I’m a fan of small doses of tofu, but if you have a thyroid or hormone imbalance, keep the tofu intake to small amounts.
Gluten can cause auto immune responses that may trigger thyroid problems. It also contains goitrogens! There are a ton of non-gluten choices out there like rice and spelt bread. Find ones that are organic, minimally processed, and have small ingredient labels.
Many cruciferous—veggies, kale, brussels sprouts, and turnips—contain Isothiocyanates, which can also interrupt thyroid function, so be sure to quickly blanch these to help break down the chemical. You do NOT want to avoid these veggies as they’re high in iodine and if you happen to have them raw, don’t fret—they’ll do more good than harm.
Focus on foods high in iodine, B-vitamins, selenium and zinc: Nori rolls with Hiziki, brown rice, avocado, carrots, cucumbers and Aminoplex protein drink. Nori seaweed and Hiziki are amazing for your thyroid, as they’re super high in iodine, minerals and protein (amino acids).
I’m a big advocate of replacing table salt with Himalayan Salt, which maintains natural trace minerals and contains naturally-occurring iodine. Also, table salt contains additives to prevent clumping. Himalayan Salt adds a nice earthy taste to food!
Organic, fresh strawberries are surprisingly high in iodine. For optimal nutrient value, buy from a local farmers market. Find your favourite organic raw chocolate, melt it down and dip the strawberries for a delicious and nutritious treat (also high in zinc)!
For zinc content, try horseradish, organic/raw dark chocolate (find ones with low sugar content) and pumpkin seeds.
One of my go-to meals is romaine wraps with avocado, Hiziki, radish sprouts and horseradish with a dash of himalayan salt and Hing (or dried garlic). It’s delicious and SO easy.
As always, stay away from processed foods, as most contain hidden soy products (not to mention empty calories and harmful additives). Stick to a whole food, plant based diet. Always looks for local, sustainable and organic foods.