Are you constantly tired, even though you get plenty of shuteye? Is your memory feeling a little less keen? Do you always feel cold? Have you noticed a drop in your libido? If so, the culprit may be the small butterfly-shaped gland that sits just below your Adam’s apple: the thyroid.
While small, this gland actually packs quite a punch. The thyroid produces thyroid hormones. These hormones are dispersed through the bloodstream to your entire body and are responsible for helping your body turn food into energy, according to Hormone Health Network.
Body Ecology reports that when your thyroid doesn’t work properly, you may experience symptoms like:
– Low or no energy
– Low body temperature
– Dry skin
– Trouble sleeping
– Bad memory
– High cholesterol
– Swelling around eyes and face
– Tingling in hands and wrists
According to Mind Body Green, “Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is a silent epidemic … People can suffer for years with symptoms that our conventional medical system frequently doesn’t know how to treat because complaints seem scattered or vague and often there is no pill for the ills.”
Eat more protein
The thyroid hormone is transported to your muscles via proteins in your bloodstream. Eat more protein to help normalize your hormone levels. Try foods like nuts, quinoa, eggs, fish and red meats. (Skip soy-based products, according to Mind Body Green, as soy can block cell receptors.)
Body Ecology suggests eating healthy fats to keep your thyroid ready to go. They recommend coconut oil (you can eat it or apply it to your skin) to help lower cholesterol. Replace unhealthy fats in your diet with raw butter, cod liver oil, egg yolks and red palm oil.
Regular exercise helps your body rid toxins from your symptom, according to Body Ecology. In addition to helping your body ditch harmful toxins (which can affect your thyroid), exercise has a host of other benefits including weight loss, better sleep and fewer depression symptoms. (The key: Find something you like doing!)
Get a grip
You can help your thyroid by managing your stress levels. When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This cortisol can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones, according to Endocrine Web. Reduce stress by hitting the sack early in the winter and taking steps to control stress. (Try deep breathing exercises or yoga.)
Take a probiotic
Mind Body Green reports that the proper amount of healthy gut bacteria affects the way your thyroid works. Eating plenty of yogurt can help, but you may also need a probiotic supplement.
Get your vitamins
Make sure you are getting plenty of the micronutrients you need. Vitamins and minerals you should concentrate on include vitamin D, iron, zinc, copper, vitamin A, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
Taking care of your thyroid can significantly improve your quality of life. Changes to your diet and better control over stress levels can help reduce or even eliminate many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
If you suspect you have a thyroid condition, consult your doctor.