Too little or too much of anything is bad for you. Eating too much food will cause a host of health problems, so will eating too little. Too much exercise can cause muscle strain, too little can cause obesity. Too much sunshine can cause sunburn (at the very least), and too little sunshine can cause sleep problems (at the very least). You see where I’m going with this?
Our body strives for balance. Our metabolic processes are geared towards achieving equilibrium within the body. But while it’s hard to find a happy middle for most things, balance is the key to everything.
With that said, let’s talk about an imbalance problem that has been overlooked for quite some time.
Symptoms of a Thyroid imbalance
Thyroid imbalance has been a commonly ignored cause of a lot of health problems ranging from constant exhaustion to weight problems. It has been said to be a factor in depression, memory loss, muscle and joint aches, and nervous tremors.
What does the thyroid do?
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. Its job is to produce several hormones: Diiodothyronine (T2), Triiodothyronine (T3), and Thyroxine (T4). These hormones help oxygen enter cells and make your thyroid the master gland of metabolism. The hormones secreted by the thyroid help control growth/development during childhood, regulate your metabolism and body temperature, and drive the production of many neurotransmitters in your brain. These hormones also interact with all other hormones like: insulin, cortisol, and sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. When your thyroid is out of balance it can also drive other hormonal imbalances that can cause an array of ill symptoms and disease.
How to improve your thyroid health
Thyroid imbalance can be caused by a number of things: nutritional imbalance, toxins, allergens, infections, and stress, to name a few. There are a few ways that you can improve your thyroid health.
For one, ensuring that you get a healthy does of iodine is probably the best tip you can get to ward against thyroid problems. Iodine provides the building blocks necessary for your thyroid hormones to support other functions. You can increase your iodine levels naturally by eating organic food, drinking natural, filtered water, and eating a diet rich in fish, shellfish, and seaweed.
Other nutrients that support thyroid health are:
- Selenium - contains enzymes to protect the thyroid gland
- Zinc, iron, and Copper - trace metals that are vital to thyroid function
- Antioxidants and b vitamins - help temper oxidative stress.
Here are a few simple steps that you can take to improve your thyroid balance:
- Improve the quality of your diet - the food you eat and the fluids you drink highly impact your thyroid health. Aim to drink 1L of purified water per day for every 50lbs of body weight and stay away from high sugar drinks (soda, fruit juices, powdered drinks, etc.) Also, avoid refined and processed food and sugar.
- Sleep and exercise - aim for 8 hrs of restful sleep and at least 30 minutes of exercise.
- Manage stress - stress cannot be avoided but it would greatly help if you manage your stress levels. Do some form of meditation. Yoga can also help. Have a wind down activity like doing some light stretches. Power down for the day by turning off gadgets and sipping some tea. Sleepy-time tea with chamomile can help. Some supplements like the powerful herb Ashwagandha has shown incredible results for lowering cortisol levels (the hormones released when you are under stress) and balancing thyroid hormones.
If you have suspicions that your thyroid is out of balance, see your healthcare practitioner for a simple diagnostic check.