It is estimated that 12% of the United States’ population is suffering from some kind of thyroid disorder. That is about 30 million people, and around half of them are not diagnosed. This is just a portion of the estimated 430 million people worldwide that are said to have a thyroid disorder. There is very little information regarding the conditions and many times it is mistaken for another ailment.
Some symptoms that point to a thyroid malfunction are:
- Mood swings
- Poor sleep quality
- Brain fog
- Appetite changes
- Temperature sensitivity
- Bowel irregularity
- Chronic pain
- Menstrual changes
- Reproductive issues
The thyroid is a gland in your throat shaped like a butterfly. It is responsible for managing blood pressure, body temperature, and metabolism. Every cell in the body uses thyroid hormones, and even though this portion of the endocrine system is physically small, it plays a huge part in the function of the body.
An unhealthy thyroid can lead to:
Hyperthyroidism is less common and is when the thyroid produces too much hormone, also known as an overactive thyroid. Weight loss, jitters, lack of relaxation, lack of focus, fatigue, heat intolerance, sleep irregularity, irritability, heart disease, nail, skin, and hair deterioration, increase of appetite and rapid heart rate are all results of this condition.
Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid condition and is when too little hormone is produced. The underactive thyroid will lead to cold intolerance, poor focus and memory, heart disease, nail, skin, and hair deterioration, muscle weakness, joint pain, obesity, depression, and fatigue. These symptoms usually develop over time and worsen as time goes on.
- Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system malfunctions. It sends out antibodies that attack the tissue of the thyroid. Over time this beats the thyroid down and makes it unable to function. A strong immune system will keep the antibodies from spreading and destroying the thyroid.
How the Thyroid Functions
The thyroid gets stimulated from signals sent from the brain and the pituitary gland, and it tells the thyroid gland either to produce the hormones or hold them back. Sometimes the signals are blocked or false and this results in repercussions through the system. Thyroid malfunctions can be caused by things such as deficiency and iodine or other nutrition, Graves’ disease, Plummer’s disease, pregnancy, thyroiditis, emotional, mental, physical stress, and environmental toxins.
Thyroid malfunctions are present in adults, children, and even infants. Newborns are tested and treated if necessary. Synthetic hormones are available and these can get the thyroid back on track. Sometimes, though patients have a thyroid that does not function anymore meaning that the replacement thyroid hormones cannot work.
Superfoods for Healthy Thyroid Function
These superfoods can help to not only improve thyroid function but also overall health.
- Seaweed and seafood: Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, iodine, and zinc.
- Yogurt and farm-raised-eggs: Promotes immune system health as well as supports good digestive health.
- Coconut oil: Properties are antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and generally nourishing.
- Cranberries and cranberry juice: Contain disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber.
- Skin-on baked potatoes: Contains lots of fiber, potassium, and quercetin which is an immune system boosting antioxidant.
By following the tips above and eating these foods organically and in their correct proportions, you can improve your thyroid function and your overall health.