Mon, Aug 20th 2012 07:00 am
The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and is located in the front of the neck. The thyroid produces hormones which have wide-ranging effects on body-chemistry including controlling the rate of metabolism, including the maintenance of body weight, rate of energy use (burning of calories), and heart rate.
If you are doing everything right: eating healthy, exercising, and you have difficulty losing weight you may be suffering from an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a common condition. It is estimated that 3% to 5% of the population has some form of hypothyroidism. The condition is more common in women than in men, and its incidence increases with age.
The signs of hypothyroidism vary depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. As the condition worsens your symptoms will become more obvious.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:
-Fatigue, and lethargy
-Slow heart rat
-Dry skin and/or hair
-Muscle weakness and/or cramping
-Unexplained weight gain
-Muscle aches and tenderness
-Pain and stiffness in joints
-Intolerance to cold
-Changes in menstrual periods
-An elevated blood cholesterol level
Hypothyroidism is treated with lifelong hormone replacement therapy. Here are some natural ways that may help your underactive thyroid:
Discard scratched cookware
According to researchers at Scotland’s Sterling University, regularly using scratched or damaged nonstick pans can as much as double your risk of thyroid problems. Their best guess as to why: Two powerful chemicals in nonstick coatings — called perfluoroctane sulphonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) — sabotage the ability of thyroid hormones to bind to the tissues that desperately need them.
Snack on brazil nuts
They’re the richest natural source of selenium — a nutrient that reduces damaging thyroid inflammation, plus helps your body build and use the most powerful thyroid hormone in its arsenal, called triiodothyronine (T3),
Cook your cruciferous vegetables
Certain vegetables produce natural plant compounds (goitrogens) that block your thyroid’s absorption of iodine. Without iodine, your body can’t make energizing thyroid hormones, say researchers at Boca Raton’s Florida Atlantic University. Broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables are loaded with this iodine-blocking compound. The good news: goitrogens are quite sensitive to heat — so cooking cruciferous veggies destroys these troublemakers in as little as two minutes, studies show.
Serve (lean) protein with every meal
Adding only a few ounces of protein to a meal slows the absorption of carbs, which prevents massive insulin spikes — a proven thyroid suppressor — according to studies at Tufts University. Plus, protein is rich in the amino acid tyrosine, an essential building block of thyroid hormones.
Avoid second-hand smoke
Exposure to cigarette smoke more than doubles your risk of thyroid problems, UCLA researchers say. Blame tobacco’s cyanide — this toxin clogs up receptor sites on your thyroid, sabotaging its ability to absorb the nutrients it needs to function at its peak.
Additional information on the thyroid gland and disorders, can be found on the National Institutes of Health website.