Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, is a thyroid disorder in which the thyroid gland produces an insufficient amount of hormones. Statistics show that up to 0.5% of the U.S. population suffers from this condition. While that number may sound small, it still means that millions of Americans are living with hypothyroidism. There are ways to protect yourself from hypothyroidism, however, including the tips listed here.
Get Tested for Celiac Disease
If you haven’t done so already, talk to your doctor about getting tested for celiac disease. Celiac disease is a chronic condition in which the intestines become inflamed due to the presence of the grain-based protein gluten. When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten — either from food or a beverage — it triggers an autoimmune response as their immune system attacks the grain-based protein within their intestines. Celiac disease has been linked to hypothyroidism, so it’s important that you get tested for this chronic condition. If you have celiac disease, you should avoid all sources of gluten in your diet so that it doesn’t hinder or otherwise affect your body’s production of thyroid hormones.
Limit Consumption of Heavily Processed Foods
Try to avoid consuming too many heavily processed foods in your diet. According to Health.com, heavily processed foods contain lots sugar, preservatives and saturated fat, all of which can have a negative impact on your immune system. And when your immune system is in a weakened state, your thyroid gland may produce too much or too little hormones, the latter of which can result in hypothyroidism. Rather than eating heavily processed foods, focus your diet around natural foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean meats.
Evaluate Your Home for Environmental Toxins
Environmental toxins in your home can increase your risk of hypothyroidism. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) says that people who are exposed to endocrine toxins for a prolonged length of time are more likely to develop thyroid disorder, including hypothyroidism, than their counterparts who aren’t exposed to these toxins. Endocrine toxins consist of toxic chemicals and compounds that affect the body’s endocrine system. Evaluate your home for environmental toxins and, if present, take steps to eliminate them.
Add More Iodine to Your Diet
You might be surprised to learn that iodine deficiency is the leading cause of hypothyroidism. The thyroid uses iodine to produce new hormones. Your body doesn’t produce iodine on its own, however, so you need to add iodine-rich foods and beverages to your diet. Otherwise, your thyroid hormone levels will drop, thereby leaving you susceptible to hypothyroidism.
Some of the top thyroid-rich foods and beverages include the following:
Check Your Medication
Certain medications have been associated with an increased risk of hypothyroidism. According to the American Thyroid Association, lithium is a known risk factor of hypothyroidism. People who take this prescription medication are more likely to develop hypothyroidism than their counterparts who don’t take it. The American Thyroid Association notes that other medications can increase the risk of hypothyroidism as well, including amiodarone and interlukin-2. Normally, though, these medications trigger hyperthyroidism in people who have a genetic predisposition to the disorder. If you don’t have a genetic predisposition to hypothyroidism, medication shouldbn’t leave you susceptible to this disorder.
Exercise… But Don’t Overdo It
Exercising regularly will promote a healthy endocrine system by keeping your body’s levels of cortisol in check. When you exercise, levels of the stress hormone cortisol decrease. This is important because chronically high levels of cortisol prevent your body from efficiently converting the thyroid hormone T4 to the hormone T3. Medical jargon aside, this means that your thyroid won’t function properly, which could lead to the development of hyperthyroidism. With that said, exercising too much can also increase cortisol levels in your body. Excessive vigorous exercise, for example, triggers the production of cortisol. You should still exercise, but focus on less-intense workouts that won’t overburden your body or disrupt your endocrine system.
Beware of BPAs
Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical commonly found in plastic products like water bottles and reusable food containers, have been shown to aggravate the thyroid gland and disrupt its ability to produce new hormones. Science Daily cites a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, revealing a direct link between BPA exposure and thyroid disorder. You don’t have to avoid using plastic products to protect against hyperthyroidism. However, you should choose BPA-free products. When shopping for plastic bottles, food containers and other products, look for the “BPA-free” label. This label indicates that the product was manufactured without the use of BPA, making it safer for your endocrine system.
If you suffer from Hypothyroidism, contact us today. Atlanta Chiro and Wellness offers a wide range of services to alleviate the symptoms of hypothyroidism and other thyroid disorders.Share