The medical name of underactive thyroid is hypothyroidism. This is a common thyroid problem characterized by production of less amount of thyroid hormones in the body. Thyroid is a small-sized gland located in the middle of the lower part of the neck. This gland is vital for our body as the hormones produced by it are essential to carry out some of the most important metabolic processes of the body. When the production of thyroid hormones is low, then it leads to excessive weight gain, lack of energy, weakening of muscles and body joints, deterioration of skin condition, etc. Underactive thyroid in women may lead to an irregular menstrual cycle and infertility.
Medicinal treatment for an underactive thyroid involves use of synthetic hormone tablets to restore the balance of thyroid levels in the body. There are some excellent natural remedies that have beneficial effects on the symptoms but are not as strong as medicinal doses. If your doctor suggests that such treatments are enough to treat your condition, then you can try them out. Some natural ways are as follows:
Follow an Underactive Thyroid Diet
Thyroid glands need various nutrients to function properly. Therefore, an underactive thyroid diet should include all such foods that can provide you with these nutrients. Iodine is essential for healthy functioning of the thyroid gland. It can be obtained from a number of seafoods like sardines, haddock, tuna, mackerel, seaweed, algae, etc. Fatty acids, but not all, are another highly recommended nutritional component in this condition and its common sources are cod, salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, etc. Selenium intake has to be increased with the help of whole wheat bread, pasta brown bread, Brazil nuts, poultry, liver, pork, etc. High fiber diet like apricots, banana, avocado, asparagus, carrots, etc. are important to get relief from constipation. Along with these foods, drink 6-8 glasses of water as it improves metabolism and also helps in weight loss.
Avoid Foods that Suppress Thyroid Function
Goitrogens is one such component that interferes with the functioning of the thyroid gland and slows down the production of thyroid hormone of the body. It is present in vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc. Soy, millet, peanuts, etc. are the other foods that contain goitrogens. Hence, they should be avoided. However, these foods can be taken in small amounts after cooking as heat destroys goitrogenic compounds. Refined carbohydrates found in white flour, white sugar and processed foods as well as coffee, soda, tea and alcohol should be avoided in this condition.
Take Nutritional Supplements
Vitamin supplements are good as they help the body to utilize food substances and obtain maximum energy. Fish oil supplements supply the much-needed fatty acids. Supplements like zinc, copper and iodine improve the functioning of the thyroid gland. Those who are suffering from underactive thyroid because of selenium deficiency should take supplemental form of this mineral. However, it is advisable that you consult your doctor first, before starting any of these supplements.
Get into the habit of doing some gentle exercises for half an hour five times in a week. There are several benefits of exercising in this condition. It can alleviate many of the symptoms. It improves the rate of metabolism and boosts the energy level. This will also help in controlling the weight gain problem. You can also get rid of other problems like loss of appetite, sleeping problems and depression associated with hypothyroidism.
Keep a Stress Free Mind
Stress has an adverse impact in the functioning of the thyroid gland. High level of stress can also contribute towards further weight gain. For this reason, there is a need to reduce mental stress. Yoga, deep breathing, meditation, etc. are some excellent ways of relaxing your mind.
Undergo Acupuncture Therapy
Acupuncture can be used as an alternative way for treating an underactive thyroid gland. This treatment brings about marked improvement in the functioning of the thyroid gland. It involves insertion of small-sized needles in specific areas of the body to stimulate thyroid function. However, it should be done by an experienced practitioner only.
You have to continue with all these natural remedies for an underactive thyroid lifelong. You have to monitor the thyroid hormone levels in the body from time to time. If the test report suggests that the thyroid hormone levels have increased, then you must consult your doctor who will prescribe you with medicines and suggest some lifestyle and diet related changes for your health benefit.