Thyroid Health: Eat This, Not That

Thyroid

Thyroid

This is probably the millionth blog you’ve read about your thyroid. By this point you’ve likely heard all about what the thyroid is, how it works, and how easy it can be for it to wreak havoc on your body and thus your life. You’ve also likely heard all the typical ways to heal your thyroid and get your life back.

Instead of repeating what everyone else has said regarding your thyroid, we want to offer some solutions for your thyroid health that you haven’t quite heard of. The best part is that these solutions take a natural and holistic approach to not just your thyroid, but your overall health.

Let’s get started!

Avoid Eating Goitrogenic Foods

Vegetables

Goitrogenic foods are foods that, though they have incredible health benefits, can actually harm your thyroid function. What happens when goitrogenic foods are eaten is they can increase the need for iodine, thus causing damage to the thyroid.

Eating too many goitrogenic foods has been linked to Hashimoto’s Disease and Graves’ Disease.

Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the thyroid. In Hashimoto’s case, the body’s attack on the thyroid will cause hypothyroidism, or the thyroid not making enough of the hormones it needs to function. This can lead to feeling:

  • Fatigued (like you’re having to do everyday functions under the ocean)
  • Forgetful
  • Mentally foggy
  • Constipated

Graves’ Disease is also an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the thyroid. This attack causes the thyroid to produce too much thyroid hormone. When someone is experiencing too much thyroid hormone, they might experience:

  • Weight loss
  • Jitteriness
  • Heat intolerance
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Goiter
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to focus

How can you keep your thyroid healthy and help prevent these attacks? Avoid eating foods high in goitrogens. Some foods that are high in goitrogens are:

  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Radishes
  • Mustard and Mustard Greens
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Rutabagas

While you don’t have to completely cut these delicious foods out of your diet, it’s good to limit them and when you do eat them, cook them thoroughly.

Here are some foods that have lesser, safer amounts of goitrogens:

  • Strawberries
  • Pine Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Spinach

Vitamins and Minerals

Medicine

It’s no secret that taking vitamins can provide helpful benefits for our bodies. However, there are some vitamins that are necessary and crucial for a functioning thyroid.

1. Vitamin B12: This vitamin plays an incredibly important role in metabolic and cellular processes. B12 helps DNA synthesis, protein conversion, red blood cell production, nerve health, and much more.

Symptoms of low vitamin B12 are:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Pins and needles sensations caused from nerve damage
  • Changes in how you move and walk (balance and coordination)
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Mood swings

Don’t forget that these all could be signs of other underlying issues and for the purpose of this blog we are only mentioning them in reference to your thyroid. If you think you could be deficient, give our office a call and we will be happy to meet with you.

To naturally get more vitamin B12, get the vitamin from a food source. Some good food sources for vitamin B12 are:

  • Beef (ground or as a steak etc)
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey, or duck)
  • Pork
  • Ham (various cuts)
  • Salami
  • Sausage (Polish, Italian, chorizo, pepperoni)
  • Fish (clams, oysters, mussels, herring, salmon, tuna, trout)
  • Eggs
  • Almond Milk

2. Thiamine (B1): Thiamine’s job is to turn carbohydrates into energy and help the digestion of fats and protein. Thiamine is a water soluble vitamin that is mostly found in plant and animal derived foods. It’s also been found that those with Hashimoto’s have low stomach acid, which is another vital chemical Thiamine helps release.

Symptoms of low Thiamine:

  • Fatigue
  • Inability to sleep
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle cramps

If you are wanting to increase your Thiamine intake naturally, the best way to do that is by increasing the consumption of foods high in Thiamine. Be careful, however, to not choose foods that are also high goitrogenic foods. We will leave those off this list, but as you do you own research, make sure to bear that in mind.

Foods that are high in Thiamine and low in goitrogens are:

  • Lentils
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Pinto beans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Black beans
  • Beef liver
  • Eggplant
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Rice bran
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Spinach

3. Selenium: Selenium is a mineral which is found in high concentration in your thyroid. The thyroid has the most selenium per gram of tissue compared to other organs in the body. Its purpose in the thyroid is to aid with metabolism.

Since we’ve already mentioned fish and veggies, here are some meat options you may introduce if you need more selenium:

  • Grass-fed beef (organic and so much better for you than regular beef)
  • Beef liver
  • Chicken
  • Boneless turkey

Start Getting More Probiotics in Your System

Probiotics are very popular and when used properly, they can be a terrific source of bacteria that’s good for your body. Most probiotics are found in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and a few other foods. Because a lot of these foods can also be bad for thyroid health, we recommend contacting our office about the supplements we offer.

Say Goodbye to Dairy and Gluten

Almond Milk

Removing any products that are made from cow’s milk and replacing them with other non-dairy products such as raw goat’s milk or almond milk will get your digestive system back on track. This may seem like a pretty drastic change, but  a lot of alternative milk products are even better tasting than cow products, and they are certainly better for you. Removing gluten (wheat) products provides similar outstanding effects.

Add Some Ashwagandha to Your Life

ashwagndha

This herb is an Indian adaptogenic herb. This means that it stabilizes your thyroid hormones and lowers your anxiety levels. There are lots of other herbs, such as licorice root or ginseng, that  can assist in lowering your anxiety levels, however, ashwagandha does the best job in comparison to others. This herb is particularly great for hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, too.

You can find this delightful herb at grocery stores or health food stores. Ashwagandha is a painless supplement to add to your diet.

Make Time to Relax

Health relax

Your diet is highly relevant to curing thyroid ailments. But when you’re struggling during the day, a quick, easy fix could be to just stop and force yourself to relax. Pick something that you know forces you to relax, whether it be yoga, pilates, a walk outside (though not always relaxing in the winter here in the Twin Cities), a massage, or a conversation with a friend over coffee. Make sure you give yourself YOU time.

Another fantastic idea to help with anxiety is experimenting with essential oils. Some of the best oils for getting rid anxiety or stress are chamomile and lavender. You can either take a hot, relaxing bath with the oils mixed with the water or use a diffuser or oil burner to spread the divine smells throughout your house.

If you struggle with feeling constantly weary, you can also make a concoction of citrus oils and peppermint oils to get past those tired feelings.

Combine All These Steps

An unhealthy thyroid can cause a lot of difficult and painful issues. You can support thyroid health with a few new recipes, a trip to the grocery store, and exercises or activities that allow you to relax. If you’re still struggling with implementing these and would like to get checked out, we’d love to help you.

Our goal is to provide you understanding about your body and get you back to feeling like the happy, healthy you. Ready to improve your thyroid health with some medical care and advice? Contact us today!

Our Favorite Local and Healthy Restaurants

Restaurant

You don’t have to drive to Minneapolis to experience some of the best flavors of Minnesota. We would love to introduce you to a few of our favorite restaurants in the Edina and Woodbury areas. We chose these restaurants for their freshness, their local sourcing practices, and their commitment to serving special diets such as ketogenic, vegetarian, gluten-free, and more.

Restaurant

The Good Earth: Edina, MN

We love The Good Earth for their environmentally-conscious sourcing and their passion for connecting guests with fresh, organic, and locally-grown food that you can feel good eating. Located inside the Galleria Edina, this flavor-forward restaurant offers up a colorful variety of nutritious fare in a comfortable, sit-down and enjoy yourself setting.

You’re sure to find offerings to satisfy every eater in your family, from a picky tween (try the Grilled Chicken Quesadilla) to those looking for something a little more exotic (Chicken Chiang Mai Thai Noodles). The Good Earth also serves up many recipes that are compatible with, or can easily be modified to fit a ketogenic diet.

The Good Earth’s scrumptious burgers are piled high with vegetables and come with a side of soup, fresh salad, or crunchy Terra root veggie chips. Opt for the salad and a lettuce wrap “bun” to make it keto. Our favorite is the delicious grass-fed Bison Burger from Northstar Bison. Fun fact: Did you know that grass-fed bison is not only lean and protein-rich, but a good source of Omega-3? True story.

The kicker that puts The Good Earth over the edge for us: They offer a gluten-sensitive menu. With many of our patients facing gluten allergies or Celiac disease, this is invaluable.

Grabbagreen: Edina, MN

Our Edina pick for a fast-food favorite is Grabbagreen. This chain proclaims that everything is prepared and cooked onsite, and judging by the freshness, they’re speaking the truth. Grabbagreen vows to source local foods whenever possible and pledges to use free-range, meats free of hormones and antibiotics. And get this, guys–they use no processed foods or preservatives (and you know how we feel about processed foods and preservatives). None. This is unheard of for fast food and just one more of the many reasons we love this scrumptious quick-bite restaurant.

Try the French Quarter, a favorite ketogenic-compatible and super filling meal. Loaded with avocado goodness, order it as a bowl with spring mix, onions, red peppers, and shrimp. If you’re okay with carbs, roll it up in a wrap. If it’s comfort food you’re after, try the Moroccan Mac and Cheese. It’s heaven in a bowl–creamy and cheesy without any of the guilt.

The smoothie and fresh-pressed juice offerings can’t go without a big mention. Between all the unique and tasty recipes Grabbagreen has to offer, you’re sure to find something you love. We prefer the Power juice: Kale, apples, spinach, and lemon. The apple gives this juice just enough sweetness while the greens lend such a fresh, earthy body. Delicious.

It gets better: At Grabbagreen, you can create your very own concoction from their fabulous menu of choices. Choose a green or grain base, a protein (choose from salmon, edamame, and more), load on the veggies, and top your meal with some tiny flaxseeds for big health benefits.

Cravings Wine Bar and Grill: Woodbury, MN

Cravings is the perfect solution for a fun family outing or a Friday night date. It’s a local favorite, so consider making a reservation if you don’t want to wait. The indoor atmosphere is classy and cozy, or you can dine in fresh air in the garden patio area. And, like our other restaurant picks, freshness abounds with locally sourced fish and meats, and handmade pasta and burger patties.

Steak or salad, duck or pasta–no matter what you crave, Cravings has the most savory and delicious version. We love the Steak and Gorgonzola Salad, with tender flank steak over a bed of greens and covered in a salty sprinkle of crumbly gorgonzola. Try it dry or with their creamy blue cheese dressing. The Sweet and Spicy Chicken Sandwich has just the right amount of spice with a honey sriracha glaze. For a healthy twist, have it wrapped in romaine lettuce!

Cravings is well known for their extensive gluten-free menu and is happy to accommodate patrons with allergies and special dietary needs.

Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill: Woodbury, MN

Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill is a family favorite with cafeteria-style ordering, plenty of seating, and cuisine bursting with authentic Mediterranean flavor. Whether you need a quick and filling lunch or prefer to sit down with family or friends, Naf Naf has you covered. The kids will enjoy the trendy ambiance, and you will appreciate the flavor and price point. While it is technically a chain establishment, this “fast food” sets a new standard in terms of flavor and health-conscious menu choices. There are definitely some delicious, deep-fried, and not-so-healthy items here, but we all need a little falafel splurge now and then.

Choose a sandwich with soft and doughy pita bread or a bowl with crisp romaine lettuce, savory hummus, couscous, or basmati rice. For protein, try perfectly seasoned chicken or steak shawarma, both of which are marinated, grilled, and keto-friendly. If you are a veggie lover like we are, you will adore the extras, including purple cabbage (which is packed vitamin C and K),  refreshing cucumber salad, and tangy, sumac-seasoned onions! Yum!

We appreciate Naf Naf’s allergy guide, which allows patrons with food allergies or health concerns to determine which offerings to avoid.

Happy Dining!

We are Drs. Katie Corazzo and Rachel Alioto, licensed Naturopathic Doctors with offices in Edina and Woodbury, Minnesota. We are enthusiastic about holistic medicine and offer our patients comprehensive naturopathic treatments for a wide variety of conditions, including heart health, diabetes, anxiety and depression, chronic illness, women’s health, weight loss, and so much more. Call today at 612-564-2218 to set up a free 15-minute consultation for new patients.