Did You Know?
Small goiters that do not cause any symptoms, usually do not need any medical intervention.
In simple terms, goiters are neck bumps that often occur due to thyroid dysfunction. The thyroid gland that sits in the frontal portion of the neck produces two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). People who develop goiters have a thyroid gland that is abnormally large in size. In other words, the thyroid gland is swollen in this condition. The amount of swelling will depend upon the severity of the condition. A noticeable swollen area of the thyroid gland, followed by coughing, hoarseness, and troubled breathing and swallowing, are some of the symptoms of goiter.
While iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiter development, it can also occur due to other factors. In the United States, goiter that causes poor working of the thyroid gland has been associated with Hashimoto's disease (inadequate production of thyroid hormones) and Graves' disease (excessive production of thyroid hormones). Natural remedies for treating goiter will vary, depending upon the underlying cause.
Treating Goiter Naturally
Add Garlic to Your Diet
Including garlic in the diet can work wonders for thyroid problems like goiter. As goiter primarily occurs due to iodine deficiency, one should eat garlic, as it contains a substantial amount of iodine. Increasing intake of iodine by having garlic regularly, can also help in reversing symptoms of goiter. You can grate garlic cloves and sprinkle over your salads. Mixing finely chopped garlic cloves to your soups is another way of including garlic in your diet. If you don't like to add garlic to your regular meals, taking it in the form of supplements (garlic pills) is recommended.
Eat Kelp Regularly
Seaweeds like kelp can also be helpful in treating goiter effectively. Kelp is also an excellent source of iodine, as found out through various studies. So, regular intake of kelp can provide you considerable amount of iodine, which may work to get rid of goiter, in case the condition has occurred from iodine deficiency. Taking supplemental form of kelp may also help to improve intake of iodine, and clear goiter.
Minimize Intake of Green Tea
Green tea, although a rich source of antioxidants, contains too much of fluoride that can hinder absorption of iodine from ingested food. Adequate intake of iodine is essential for alleviating thyroid problems such as goiter. Excessive fluoride in the body can aggravate symptoms of iodine deficiency. Also, fluoride is toxic in nature, hence, too much of green tea can actually be harmful to your health. Green tea contains twice as much fluoride as a cup of black tea. So, thyroid patients should avoid or reduce consumption of green tea considerably.
Goiter resulting from Hashimoto's or Graves' disease requires a change in diet. More specifically, your diet should contain gluten-free products. So, foods made from grain, corn, and flour have no place in your diet. Thus, rye, barley, and whole grain products, such as baked goods, breads, pasta, and cereals need to be discarded from the diet as they contain gluten. People with Hashimoto's disease should also avoid dairy and soy products. A diet that focuses on vegetables, fruits, fish, and nuts can go a long way in managing this condition effectively.
Reducing intake of salt is also important for people affected with Hashimoto's or Graves' disease. Too much salt intake can cause and worsen these thyroid conditions. So, restricting consumption of iodized salt to not more than 150 mcg daily, is recommended for people with these thyroid problems.
Reduce Goitrogenic Foods
People who have goiter cannot afford to consume too much of goitrogenic foods. These foods interfere with the normal thyroid functions, and lower production of thyroid hormones. Goitrogenic foods prevent the thyroid gland from adequately absorbing iodine, which eventually leads to thyroid dysfunction. So, restricting intake of goitrogenic foods such as green vegetables and fruits, like strawberries and peaches, is very important to keep the condition under control.
Take Herbal Medicines
For people affected with Graves' disease, herbal medications can contribute to improving thyroid function. Taking herbs such as skullcap, Motherwort, lemon balm, and bugleweed in the form of tincture or tonic can help to treat Graves' disease. Herbs like Echinacea, taken in the form of tea, can also help to regulate and boost the immune system. On the other hand, herbs like bladderwrack and ashwagandha are found to be very effective in the treatment of Hashimoto's disease.
Although Hashimoto's disease and Graves' disease are thyroid problems, they are considered to be autoimmune disorders. This means, the immune system that invades the thyroid tissue is responsible for causing thyroid disorders. So, regulating the immune system may actually help to treat thyroid dysfunction, in turn controlling the symptoms of goiter. Taking supplements containing plant sterols and sterolins that balance the immune system may work, as they help to correct a hyperactive immune system. These supplements display immune-modulating activity, which may work to normalize the functioning of the immune system.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.