The thyroid, that small pear-shaped gland located just below the neck, can be a source of lot of pain if it does not function properly. The gland is supposed to produce thyroid hormones that are used by nearly every cell in the body which must be produced and secreted in determined amounts for the normal functioning of body organs. The problem arises when the gland becomes either overactive or under-active and produces higher or lower amounts of hormones than what are required by the body. Both conditions produce numerous symptoms of thyroid problems that include increased sensitivity to cold, joint pains, uncontrollable weight gain, fatigue, dizziness, ringing in the ears, memory problems, hair loss, constipation, dry skin and brittle nails.
Herbs can provide natural thyroid support. A wide range of treatment modalities like medication, surgery and radioiodine therapy exist in conventional medicine. Irrespective of the treatment option that you may chose, it should be kept in mind that there are foods that promote thyroid health and those that aggravate the condition. While foods that provide extra iodine and omega 3 fatty acids are good for thyroid health, there are also certain foods that induce the formation of goiter (abnormally enlarged thyroid).
Iodine is crucial to the production of thyroid hormones. Very little iodine is required for normal production of thyroid hormones, and iodized salt is usually enough for providing the amount required. However, there are foods that block iodine uptake (goitrogens) and can bring to naught the benefits of consuming iodized salt.
Dietary vegetable oils, hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated oils were introduced only in the last century in America. It is most likely that these are the cause behind the increased incidence of thyroid disease in the country. The overdependence on peanuts, peanut butter and soy products in the normal American diet seems to be taking its toll.
Soy and soy products are emerging as ‘villain number one’. Studies that relate to the transmission and control of thyroid diseases reveal that nearly one third of teenagers with autoimmune thyroid problem were more likely to have been fed on soy formula as infants. The most common source of hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated oils are soybeans.
Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli are also considered to contain gootrogens and inhibit production of thyroid hormones.
Abnormal weight gain that defies explanation is one of the major symptoms of a thyroid problem. Recent studies now point that an under-active thyroid might be the number one cause of weight problems. A thyroid-friendly diet is actually about consuming limited amounts of foods that contain goitrogens and totally avoiding oils that block iodine.