Did you ever suspect that the way you live your life could have a huge effect on your thyroid? It seems like almost everyone has a thyroid problem in their family these days, but there are some habits that can make you more likely to have a problem or worsen your health if you are already suffering from a thyroid issue.
If you are already on thyroid medication, it’s important to make sure you are aware of the following points:
- When you take your medication
- Signs and symptoms of too much or too little medication
- When to go to see your doctor for check-ups and blood tests, and when to check for nodules.
- The interactions between drugs you might be prescribed or take when you are sick and your thyroid tablets.
- The many ways you can protect your health further by eating a balanced, healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising a little a couple of times a week and making sure your stress levels aren’t too high. Getting out in the fresh air is also very beneficial for general health, of course.
Once you have these things in check, you’ll also benefit from understanding what might have led up to your problems. Whether you’re a smoker or coffee fan or not, it’s well worth keeping the following things in mind.
What are these habits?
You already know how good exercise can make you feel, but are you doing enough of it? It’s easy to think doing the housework gives us enough exercise, because it can be tiring. However, doing something you really like can actually boost your energy levels, while of course decreasing stress and helping you maintain your ideal weight (whatever that might be). If you feel you may be too sedentary, try going on a little walk once a day or join a friend at the gym or dance class for some great, thyroid improving benefits.
Caffeine increases the amount of cortisol produced in the body, which in turn slows down thyroid function. So be careful of this one. Drinking coffee within 60 minutes of taking your medication can also reduce absorption!
A good alternative might be hiding down at your local health food shop. Have a look at some different options, and then mix them with coffee, 50/50. Use this method to reduce your caffeine intake, then look at why you might be leaning on coffee. Do all your friends or co-workers thrive on it? Quitting coffee or heavily reducing your intake is a process that’s difficult for most people. Love yourself through it and remember how happy your thyroid will be when you reduce it.
Alcohol has multiple effects on the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid axis and the functioning of the thyroid gland. What does that mean? Drinking is very bad for your hormone system, the endocrine system. It alters your mood, and can be devastating for your general health. If you want to get healthy, reducing alcohol consumption is the best way to go. You’ll feel better for it!
Smoking also has a significant impact on your little thyroid. Thiocynate, found in smoke at high levels, increases the excretion of iodine, but inhibits iodine uptake by the thyroid. Some of the other toxic substances found in tobacco smoke also ruin your chances of maintaining a health thyroid in the long term. And the short term.
Iodine, the thyroid’s best friend. However, it’s important to get some advice before you start adding it into your health food supplement entourage, as it can really affect your thyroid powerfully. If you are on thyroid medication or are a sensitive person, please consult your health care practitioner first.
You may be deficient in iodine, you see. Vegan diets low in seaweed and high in brocolli may simply leave you lacking in iodine. Most people are actually deficient, so they will benefit from gently, gradually adding in some iodine rich foods.
What kind of foods contain it?
- Sea vegetables, including kelp, dulse, wakame and nori. Go eat some sushi!
- Organic yogurt
- Raw, organic cheese
- Organic potatoes, navy beans and strawberries.
The above foods are great for nourishing your thyroid, but the key is to find foods from iodine-rich soils. Unfortunately, they are harder to find, and test. Sea vegetable and seafoods are therefore your best bet!