More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4.
Protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes and amino acids are the building blocks of it. A large proportion of our cells, muscles and tissue is made up of amino acids, meaning they carry out many important bodily functions, such as giving cells their structure.
Problems with the thyroid can be caused by: iodine deficiency. autoimmune diseases, in which your immune system attacks your own body, leading either to hyperthyroidism (caused by Graves’ disease) or hypothyroidism (caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis).
Women are two to 10 times more likely than men to develop hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. People older than age 60 have a higher incidence of thyroid disorders. Hyperthyroidism affects one in 500 pregnancies. About four to 10 percent of women have postpartum thyroiditis.
Women with thyroid issues also sometimes have adrenal ones. Addison’s disease, the common term for primary adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged and cannot produce enough of the adrenal hormone cortisol. The adrenal hormone aldosterone may also be lacking. Cortisol can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation. It has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure.
Here’s some diet tips to improve thyroid function:
- Cruciferous vegetables. Eat them raw, cooked or juiced.
- Brazil nuts. These are the richest dietary source of selenium, which is essential in converting thyroxine to its active form, T3.
- Sea vegetables.
- No gluten.
- No soy protein isolate.
It’s a good idea to limit your intake of Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and bok choy, because research suggests digesting these vegetables may block the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function.
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