Dealing With It The Natural and Gentle Way
As we get older, we are no strangers to exhaustion, fatigue and often a blue mood here and there. And we are also no strangers to weight gain!
However, if you are eating a good diet for the most part, and if you are following a regular exercise program, yet you are still struggling profoundly with losing excess body fat, your thyroid gland may be the culprit not your actions, nor the amount of willpower and self-control you have!
Hypothyroidism … What is it?
Hypothyroidism is a disorder caused by an under-active thyroid, where the thyroid gland does not make sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine.
The thyroid gland is in the front lower part of the neck. This gland releases thyroxine, which travels through the bloodstream and affects almost every part of the body, such as the heart, brain, muscles and skin. The thyroxine hormone is also particularly important for fat loss, as it regulates metabolism, in other words, the way our bodies use energy. Without enough thyroxine, our body’s metabolism plummets dramatically, making the battle to lose unwanted pounds/kilograms of fat almost an impossible task. No matter what you do, it seems like those stubborn pounds of body fat on your belly, arms and legs simply won’t budge!
Are You Suffering From Hypothyroidism?
Here Are Common Symptoms:
Abnormal weight gain
Stubborn fat on your body that won’t budge
Unexplainable fatigue and irritability
High blood cholesterol level
Pain and swelling in joints
Depression and anxiety
Irregular or heavier menstrual periods
Slow heart rate
Leading Causes Of Hypothyroidism
››› Hashimoto’s disease: Hashimoto’s disease is a disorder in which the antibodies produced by the body attack and damage the thyroid gland. Another cause of Hashimoto’s disease is a viral infection.
››› Iodine Deficiency in the diet:
Iodine is a vital nutrient in the body and essential to our thyroid health. Iodine rich foods are eggs, dairy products, shellfish, saltwater fish, and table salt and kosher (sea salt does not contain iodine). While iodine deficiency is rare in the United States and other Western countries due to processed and fast foods, iodine deficiency is common worldwide.
››› Vitamin D deficiency, the “sunshine vitamin”: We are not getting enough sunlight these days due to the demands of our technologically driven world, which keeps us glued to our computers! Further, with increased concern over skin cancer, we tend to slather our bodies with sunscreen, reducing the ability of our skin to vitamin D from sunlight.
Sadly, a deficiency of vitamin D is not only linked to depression and lethargy, but also Hashimoto’s disease. One study showed that more than 90% of patients suffering Hashimoto’s disease were severely deficient in vitamin D. (1)
Foods that contain some vitamin D include fatty fish, milk, dairy, egg yolks, and mushrooms, milk and juices fortified with vitamin D, cheese, and fortified cereal. It is also advised to take a quality D3 supplement each day.
››› Low Intake of selenium rich foods in the diet: A deficiency of selenium can affect the thyroid antibody in patients with Hashimoto’s (2). However, an excessive intake of selenium can cause gastrointestinal distress or even raise the risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer. So it is advisable to have your selenium levels tested and eat a diet rich in selenium foods, such as Brazil nuts, halibut, tuna, crab, and lobster, grass-fed lean beef, chicken, eggs and spinach.
››› Vitamin B12 deficiency, which is common in people who have high stress levels! A vitamin B12 deficiency and high stress levels have been linked to hypothyroidism. To avoid this, eat foods rich in vitamin B12, which includes
sardines, salmon, clams, mussels, squid, and octopus, organ meats such as liver, lean meat, and dairy. Vegan sources include fortified cereals and nutritional yeast.
››› Foods high in goitrogens. Yes, this is Raw Kale! The raw superfoods like the cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, naturally release a compound called goitrin. Goitrin can interfere with the synthesis of the thyroid hormones, particularly when coupled with an iodine deficiency. (3) However, when these cruciferous vegetables are cooked, the Goitrins are broken down and thus are significantly reduced. (4) So do not avoid these nutritionally rich super foods, but instead, sauté them lightly in olive oil, kosher or table salt (which are high in iodine) and a touch of garlic for flavor and additional antioxidants. Delicious!
››› Soy is another potential goitrogen: The isoflavones in soy may lower thyroid hormone synthesis, but, interestingly, numerous studies have found that consuming soy doesn’t cause hypothyroidism in people with adequate iodine stores. (5) Nonetheless, eat soy in moderation.
FYI: Sea salt, soy sauce, and Bragg’s liquid amino acids are all salty condiments that do NOT contain iodine
A FINAL MESSAGE
A healthy thyroid gland means a healthy body. So take control of your health and live a balanced life focusing on the M.V.B. motto: Your Most Valuable Body = Moderation, Variety and Balance:
1. Eat moderately. Your body simply cannot cope with oversized portions. Remember, your stomach is only the size of your fist, so eat accordingly. (I will help you do this in my courses and teach you to become a mindful and intuitive eater.)
2. Eat a variety of foods from nature, not man: Focus on lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and heart-healthy omega-3 fats. To do this, eat more:
- Fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits, adding them to your plate at each meal. For instance, add blueberries, sliced peaches or banana to your breakfast cereal, oatmeal or natural muesli. Add lightly sautéed spinach and cherry tomatoes to your omelet or scrambled eggs. (my Cookbook has ample recipes to guide you)
- Lean, grass-fed, hormone-free meats. Remove any visible fat before cooking.
- Lean chicken, both the breast and the thigh meat, but without the skin.
- Small portions of ocean fish and seafood, choosing non-endangered species.
- Plant based foods high in omega-3s, like flaxseeds, and collard greens, broccoli and spinach.
- Nutritious, high fiber legumes with no added oils, like black, pinto and white beans and lentils.
- Raw and baked nuts and seeds, like almonds, walnuts, cashews, and sesame, pumpkin and chia seeds.
- Natural, whole carbohydrates, like whole oats, brown rice, sorghum, and wheat berries.
- Lastly, reduce your sugar intake (you’ll learn more about the harms of excessive sugar intake in my blogs), and avoid fast food, and take-away meals, out for the most part.
3. Balance: A life of “all work and no play” with no relaxation time is the ingredient for high stress, leading to stomach inflammation and binge eating on comfort and salty foods. It is important to lower the stress levels in your life, and live a life of balance and joy. For my assistance on controlling stress and binge eating in your life, read my book on Stress and Weight Loss.
You can do this and I’m here to support you all the way.
Wishing you much happiness and health,
(Nutritionist, Life Coach and Director of MVB-Health)
Your Most Valuable Body
1. Tamer G, Arik S, Tamer I, Coksert D. Relative vitamin D insufficiency in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Thyroid. 2011;21(8):891-896.
2. 15. Toulis KA, Anastasilakis AD, Tzellos TG, Goulis DG, Kouvelas D. Selenium supplementation in the treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: a systematic review and a meta-analysis. Thyroid. 2010;2010:1163-1173.
3. Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2001.
4. Rungapamestry V, Duncan AJ, Fuller Z, Ratcliffe B. Effect of cooking brassica vegetables on the subsequent hydrolysis and metabolic fate of glucosinolates. Proc Nutr Soc. 2007;66(1):69-81.
5. Messina M, Redmond G. Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature. Thyroid. 2006;16(3):249-258.
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