Eat a balanced diet that is rich in antioxidants. Pack in vit. C from citrus fruits, zinc from pumpkin seeds, omega 3 fats from nuts, and iodine from seaweed or kelp. Remedy sluggish metabolism by adding coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and ginger to your diet. Work out in the sun for vit. D and beat stress with yoga, meditation, and relaxation therapy. You can also try Ayurvedic remedies like ashwagandha, guggul, and brahmi.
Did you know that 12 percent of all Americans are likely to have a thyroid problem in their lifetime? If you’re already seeing signs of hypothyroidism like sluggish metabolism, fatigue, or weight gain, you should try and gain control of the problem right away. Unfortunately, mainstream medical treatment can often be quite aggressive, and it isn’t for everyone.1
Natural Alternatives To Treat Hypothyroidism
You can help your cause by supplementing any pharmacological treatment you might need with some natural therapy and lifestyle changes. These can also address the root causes of thyroid malfunction, such as inflammation, and avoid aggravating them.
1. Consume More Antioxidants
Eat citrus fruits and dark green veggies for vit. C, pumpkin seeds for zinc, and nuts for omega 3 fats to fight exhaustion that accompanies hypothyroidism.
If you have hypothyroidism, it isn’t so much about eating a lot of one kind of food but about having a balanced diet that is rich in all nutrients – especially antioxidants. Focus on getting in antioxidants through your diet to help your body process stress better and ward off the exhaustion that often accompanies hypothyroidism. Pack in the vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant, from citrus fruits and dark green vegetables.
Hypothyroidism is associated with the deficiency of trace minerals like zinc,2, selenium,3 and iodine. Nibble on some pumpkin seeds for zinc, have Brazil nuts for the selenium, and sea vegetables like kelp for the iodine – stay off iodine-rich foods if your hypothyroidism is due to Hashimoto’s. Also pop a handful of nuts for your omega 3 fix.4
2. Go For Coconut Oil
Cook with coconut oil or mix it in a cup of milk to increase your body’s metabolism as well as antioxidant levels.
Coconut oil is a favorite among many alternative therapists, and with good reason too. The oil is made of medium-chain fatty acids that can help with weight loss and boost your metabolism – something everyone with hypothyroidism struggles with. Your sluggish metabolism will get the revving up it needs, and you should see an increase in basal body temperature as well5 – this refers to your body temperature after you wake up. A higher basal body temperature indicates a faster metabolic rate.
Just switch to cooking with coconut oil or have some with a cup of milk at breakfast. It also offers you an abundant supply of nutrients – studies have shown that levels of antioxidant vitamins are higher in test subjects who consume virgin coconut oil.6
3. Have Some Apple Cider Vinegar
If hypothyroidism is making it difficult to lose weight, drink 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar mixed in warm water every day.
Apple cider vinegar can help your body detox7 and restore alkaline balance in your system. It is said to even help with regulating hormone levels.8
What’s more, you should see your metabolism improve after taking a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in some warm water every day. That’s why studies have found regular consumption of this home remedy can actually bring weight loss and a decline in serum triglyceride levels – all good news when weight loss is a struggle due to hypothyroidism.9
4. Avoid Gluten
Avoid gluten-rich grains if you have autoimmune thyroid disorder.
Try and lower inflammation in your body by avoiding foods that you could be allergic to, something called food hypersensitivity. Gluten in grains like wheat is a well-known cause of inflammatory stress in those with celiac disease. Studies show that celiac disease is more common among those with autoimmune thyroid disease.10 So go gluten-free to tackle this potential trigger.
5. Eat Whole Grains
Eat whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, or quinoa for B vitamins, whose deficiency is linked to hypothyroidism.
Get your recommended daily levels of all the B vitamins to keep your thyroid plied with the nutrition it needs to function. Whole grain foods like wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat are packed with these nutrients, as are fortified cereals. Researchers also say that people with hypothyroidism have a vitamin B12 deficiency, so it is probably a good idea to switch to healthier foods like fish or egg that are rich in the vitamin.11
6. Increase Iodine In Your Diet
Have kelp or seaweed or if you can’t get these, have iodized salt to fight iodine deficiency, but keep a strict watch on the quantity.
Your body needs iodine to produce thyroid hormone and, consequently, a deficiency can cause your thyroid to malfunction. You may see enlargement of the thyroid, a condition you’ll know as “goiter,” or could even develop hypothyroidism. If this is the underlying cause of your thyroid problem, you will need to ensure adequate dietary intake of the element.
Get your levels of iodine up by eating sea vegetables (they’re naturally rich in iodine) or by switching to iodized salt. Other sources include seafood, eggs, dairy, and meat. Just remember, if you are not deficient in iodine, you will need to ensure you don’t have too much – which is possible if you binge on foods like kelp, seaweed, spinach, or kale.12
7. Let Ginger Warm You Up
Have ginger tea or add it to your meal as a condiment to normalize thyroid function.
Ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory, is a wise inclusion to your diet. Rich in nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and zinc, it can help improve and normalize thyroid function. Add it to your cooking, make a gingery broth, or brew up some hot ginger tea with honey.13
8. Exercise In The Sunshine
Work out in the sun to up your vitamin D levels as a deficiency leads to autoimmune conditions.
A daily dose of sunshine should be worked into your schedule whenever possible – especially if you have Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the thyroid glands. Autoimmune problems have been found to be linked to vitamin D deficiency, so a walk in the park or a workout in the sun is never a bad idea. You’ll get your metabolism going and help your body generate some vitamin D to improve immune function.14
9. Try Relaxation Therapy
Practice yoga, meditation, relaxation therapy, or ujjayi pranayama, a special breathing technique to keep your stress low and help your thyroid.
Your hypothyroid problem could be a result of high cortisol levels in the body, resulting from excessive stress. Yoga, meditation, and relaxation therapy can help you find a way to ease anxiety and nervous tension that keeps you constantly stressed and can aggravate your thyroid problem. By gaining control over how you manage your stress, you should be able to better regulate cortisol levels too. In addition, special breathing techniques like ujjayi pranayama can help ease a hypothyroid problem.15
10. Try Ayurvedic Remedies
Massage eranda oil onto your head and take ashwagandha, guggul, and brahmi after consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner.
Ayurveda has a few easy-to-use remedies that can be taken as supplements or massaged into your body for beneficial effects. Eranda (Ricinus communis Linn) can treat gout, a common complaint for those with hypothyroidism. The oil made from eranda, called amrutadi taila, when massaged onto the head is supposed to help ease the problem.16
Another remedy is ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Studies on animal subjects have shown that it helps stimulate thyroid activity and can ease hypothyroidism.17 Guggul (Commiphora mukul) and brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) are other Ayurvedic remedies that can help. The former boosts concentration of T3 hormone,18 while the latter improves T4 levels.19
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease, American Thyroid Association.|
|2.||↑||Betsy, Ambooken, M. P. Binitha, and S. Sarita. “Zinc deficiency associated with hypothyroidism: an overlooked cause of severe alopecia.” International journal of trichology 5, no. 1 (2013): 40.|
|3.||↑||Drutel, Anne, Françoise Archambeaud, and Philippe Caron. “Selenium and the thyroid gland: more good news for clinicians.” Clinical endocrinology 78, no. 2 (2013): 155-164.|
|4.||↑||Hypothyroidism, University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|5.||↑||Nagao, Koji, and Teruyoshi Yanagita. “Medium-chain fatty acids: functional lipids for the prevention and treatment of the metabolic syndrome.” Pharmacological Research 61, no. 3 (2010): 208-212.|
|6.||↑||Nevin, K. G., and T. Rajamohan. “Influence of virgin coconut oil on blood coagulation factors, lipid levels and LDL oxidation in cholesterol fed Sprague–Dawley rats.” e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism 3, no. 1 (2008): e1-e8.|
|7.||↑||Kljajic, Sara. “Eat smart: Building a detox armoury.” (2014): 62.|
|8.||↑||Johnston, Carol S., Cindy M. Kim, and Amanda J. Buller. “Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care 27, no. 1 (2004): 281-282.|
|9.||↑||Kondo, Tomoo, Mikiya Kishi, Takashi Fushimi, Shinobu Ugajin, and Takayuki Kaga. “Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 73, no. 8 (2009): 1837-1843.|
|10.||↑||Ch’ng, Chin Lye, M. Keston Jones, and Jeremy GC Kingham. “Celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease.” Clinical medicine & research 5, no. 3 (2007): 184-192.|
|11.||↑||Jabbar, Abdul, Aasma Yawar, Sabiha Waseem, Najmul Islam, Naeem Ul Haque, Lubna Zuberi, Ataullah Khan, and Jaweed Akhter. “Vitamin B12 deficiency common in primary hypothyroidism.” Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association 58, no. 5 (2008): 258.|
|12.||↑||Iodine Deficiency, American Thyroid Association.|
|13.||↑||Al-Suhaimi, Ebtesam A., Noorah A. Al-Riziza, and Reham A. Al-Essa. “Physiological and therapeutical roles of ginger and turmeric on endocrine functions.” The American journal of Chinese medicine 39, no. 02 (2011): 215-231.|
|14.||↑||Mackawy, Amal Mohammed Husein, Bushra Mohammed Al-Ayed, and Bashayer Mater Al-Rashidi. “Vitamin D deficiency and its association with thyroid disease.” International journal of health sciences 7, no. 3 (2013): 267.|
|15.||↑||Swami, Gaurav, Savita Singh, K. P. Singh, and Manish Gupta. “Effect of yoga on pulmonary function tests of hypothyroid patients.” (2010).|
|16.||↑||Krunal, Doshi, and Acharya Rabinarayan. “Therapeutic importance of Eranda (Ricinus communis Linn.) in Ayurveda-a Review.” Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci 2, no. 9 (2013): 281-295.|
|17.||↑||Panda, Sunanda, and Anand Kar. “Changes in thyroid hormone concentrations after administration of ashwagandha root extract to adult male mice.” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 50, no. 9 (1998): 1065-1068.|
|18.||↑||Panda, Sunanda, and Anand Kar. “Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) potentially ameliorates hypothyroidism in female mice.” Phytotherapy Research 19, no. 1 (2005): 78-80.|
|19.||↑||Kar, A., S. Panda, and S. Bharti. “Relative efficacy of three medicinal plant extracts in the alteration of thyroid hormone concentrations in male mice.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 81, no. 2 (2002): 281-285.|