It's known as the butterfly-shaped gland; the thyroid is your main hormone-producing gland connecting your external environment to your internal needs. As the hypothalamus and pituitary glands monitor our surroundings, it signals our thyroid to create the hormones needed for the body to respond appropriately. As the world of stress fluctuates and becomes polluted with heavy metals and toxic chemicals, it can affect how our thyroid gland works. Overworking the gland or not providing it with the correct nutrients it needs will affect its functions of energy production, sleep/wake cycles, metabolism, and cardiac issues. All components are necessary to allow for a balanced life, and if not obtained, it can throw it into a hypo or hyper state, which can be difficult to correct if left for too long.
Luckily, if caught early on by monitoring symptoms, pathology, and getting the diagnostic tests (Thyroid Panel), it can be corrected without going to the extremes of medication to regulate it synthetically. With a specific change in diet for hormone production and a blend of herbs to support the central nervous system, connecting the thyroid and adrenal glands can be obtained.
Algaes: Most commonly found in our favorite sushi rolls and udon bowls, these sea vegetables may be one of the best foods to eat for the thyroid. Dense in nutrients, such as iron, iodine, and magnesium, to support the production of T4. The abundant amino acid profile includes tyrosine, which is needed to convert T4 to the active T3 to produce thyroid function. Compared to other protein sources, algae is easy to absorb and helps with gentle liver detoxification to help eliminate toxins that interfere with the thyroid. So go ahead and grab some dulse, nori, or kelp powder into your soups to boost the nutrient profile and add some extra flavor!
Leafy Greens: Like algae, leafy greens are abundant in nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, and iron, which aid in hormone production. Greens aid in liver detoxification due to the chlorophyll content and have a good portion of protein. Alternating between consumption of Algae and greens is a fantastic way to keep the nutrient balance for the Thyroid gland. Remember, the darker the leaves, the higher the nutrients!
Oats and plant proteins: The amino acid Tyrosine is abundant in oats, plant-based proteins, and meats. Although meats may be the best resource for a complete amino acid profile, many people have difficulties digesting these heavy meats. So a great alternative for those with digestive disorders that affect the absorption would be replacing meats with nuts, seeds, and legumes. In addition to their amino acid profiles, oats and plant proteins contain b vitamins that support the digestive system and support the nervous system so our body systems can communicate with one another.
Avocados: Good quality fats, like avocados and coconut oil in moderation, contain magnesium and potassium to support thyroid function. These natural fatty acids also form amino acids, such as tyrosine, for converting T4 to T3.
Chamomile*, Valerian, and Passionflower: These beautiful and fragrant flowers also have potent nervine properties. Chamomile, Valerian, and Passionflower all have properties to help calm our nervous system to support communication with our other body systems through the central nervous system contained in our spine. Individually Chamomile helps soothe the digestive system, Valerian induces a longer REM cycle for regenerative purposes, and Passionflower helps with anxiety and mood balancing. Best absorbed in tincture or tea form and found at your natural health foods store.
Along with adding these supportive foods and supplements, one must also eliminate harmful foods and toxic products in their lifestyle to relieve the added pressure on the thyroid gland. The ability to reduce the intake of caffeine and stimulants and the elimination of artificial ingredients, rancid oils from the diet will reduce the burden on the digestive system. Avoiding exposures to chemical cleaning agents, pesticides, chlorine, fluoride, and heavy metals will stop the competition for mineral absorption. Establishing some personal stress reduction practice, regular exercise, and proper sleep hygiene are appropriate ways to get back on track!
Of course, if you are on any thyroid medication or have an autoimmune condition, please consult with your healthcare practitioner if adding these foods and herbs to your diet is appropriate for you.
*Do not consume Chamomile if you are allergic to the daisy family. May cause hypertension.