Natural treatments for hypothyroidism focus on proper nutrition that will support the immune system and exercise to improve circulation since this is an autoimmune disease. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the cause of hypothyroidism 90% of the time. Some people change back and forth between hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid).
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid, located in the front of the neck, helps to regulate the metabolism and calcium. The hormones made by the thyroid affect how the body uses energy. People feel fatigued, weak, may have memory problems or feel cold. Cholesterol levels can get higher, raising the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Anyone can have hypothyroidism, but women over 60 are most at risk. This thyroid problem tends to run in families.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause. The thyroid gland is unable to produce sufficient thyroid hormone because the immune system attacks thyroid tissue. If a cancerous thyroid is removed or treated with radiation therapy, hypothyroidism is an expected side effect. Iodine deficiency, lithium or a viral infection may also cause hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone treatment is usually successful but will likely be life-long and will need to be monitored or symptoms will reoccur.
Natural Remedies for Hypothyroidism
A natural whole food, gluten-free diet is critical to thyroid management. Some foods will supply iodine while others should never be eaten raw and only eaten once in a while when cooked. Exercise is necessary to maintain general body health and support the struggling immune system.
Foods That Supply Iodine to Help the Thyroid Function Better
Seaweed (kelp, dulce and nori), shellfish and ocean fish are excellent sources of iodine.
Low fat cheese, yogurt and ice cream, eggs and cow’s milk are also good sources.
Many people do not receive enough iodine from their diet. The average iodine intake per person in the U.S. used to be 250 mcg; it is now 157 mcg. While sea salt has traces of many minerals, it does not have as much iodine as iodized table salt. If you prefer sea salt, iodized sea salt is an option.
Regular, daily exercise is important in order to effectively deal with hypothyroidism. Exercise will also help with stress reduction, an important component of a treatment regimen.
Nutrition – Gluten-free and Whole Foods
Proper nutrition is a crucial part of any home treatment for hypothyroidism. A gluten-free diet is necessary, as the molecular structure of gluten and thyroid tissue is almost identical. Eating gluten increases the autoimmune attack on the thyroid. Whole, organic foods will help strengthen the malfunctioning immune system and are indispensable to any home treatment for hypothyroidism. This should not be a low-carb diet. It should include protein in every meal, healthy fat, selenium, B and D vitamins.
Avoid Foods Containing Goitroens
Goitroens, which lower thyroid function, make hypothyroidism worse. This anti-thyroid property of foods containing goitroens may be inactivated by cooking, but anyone with hypothyroidism should eat the following list of foods sparingly, if at all.
- Nuts: almonds, pine nuts, peanuts
- Any vegetable in the broccoli family: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage
- Green leafy vegetables: kale, mustard and spinach
- Fruit: pears and peaches
- Misc.: Turnips, corn, millet, soy (isoflavones block iodine), canola oil, caffeine and sugar
Home remedies for hypothyroidism focus on supplying the thyroid what is needed and avoiding foods that will lower thyroid function on a thyroid that is already struggling. Staying gluten-free will be essential for this autoimmune disease. The treatment regimen also includes daily exercise.