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Healthy Ways to Tune Up Your Thyroid without Breaking the Bank

Many of us who experience cold hands, dry skin, fatigue and weight gain, dismiss them as inconsequential. Some of us are even told, “It’s all in your head!” Yet the underlying cause could be your thyroid. In fact thyroid concerns are missed or misdiagnosed much of the time.

Chances are good you’ve heard about thyroid issues before from celebrities, politicians and athletes. In fact twenty seven million Americans have thyroid concerns with women representing the majority of these cases.

Tests are notoriously inaccurate and can’t detect a slight imbalance, which is all it takes to put your system out of whack.

The Small Gland with a Big Job

A butterfly-shaped gland, the thyroid rests at the base of your neck, just below your voice box. It secretes about a teaspoon of hormones per year, including two main hormones: T4 and T3.

The T3 and T4 are synthesized from iodine and the amino acid, tyrosine. Iodine ions from food are absorbed in the digestive tract and are delivered to the thyroid gland via the bloodstream. The molecules of T3 and T4 diffuse from the thyroid gland into the blood and are transported to nearly every cell in your body. Relatively speaking, the thyroid produces large amounts of T4; however, only T3 can be utilized by the body, and it is T3 that has a significant metabolic effect.

More Important Than You Think

Just as the engine of your car produces energy to move your vehicle at various speeds, so too your thyroid sets the pace for your body’s processes. The thyroid regulates:

  • Body temperature to keep your internal thermostat on an even keel
  • Metabolic rates for weight management and energy levels
  • Nutrient absorption for healthy digestion
  • Cardiovascular system for strong circulation and heart health
  • Nerves, tissues and bones for healthy skin, hair, nails and joints

Thyroid Support that Won’t Break the Bank

Here are a few low or no cost ways to support your thyroid naturally.

  1. Eat selenium-rich foods. Selenium helps remove toxins and plays a role in conversion of the two major thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Foods include shellfish, eggs, sunflower seeds, onions and kelp.
  2. Exercise regularly. Working out on a consistent basis improves blood flow, which helps nutrients get to your thyroid better. It also boosts energy.
  3. Reduce stress. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your entire system and can especially tax your thyroid. Consider the stressors in your life: work, relationships, family, financial. Try to simplify by eliminating toxic relationships or situations. If that’s not an option, consider stress busters like biofeedback, yoga or meditation to help you cope.
  4. Add foods containing zinc. This trace mineral supports thyroid metabolism and helps protect cells. Unfortunately, it can decrease with age, making it important to obtain from your diet or supplements. Zinc-rich foods include salmon, shrimp, brown rice, beef, potato and almonds.
  5. Avoid stimulants. This includes caffeine, sugar, soda and anything else that stimulates your body. These can make your thyroid work overtime and exhaust it.
  6. Consider thyroid-supporting supplements. The B vitamins boost metabolism and benefit numerous bodily processes. Iodine, especially in conjunction with L-tyrosine, support the production of thyroid hormones. Trace mineral and antioxidant zinc protects your thyroid gland from destructive free radicals.
  7. Decrease toxins in your diet. Estrogen-like compounds are found in drinking water and foods due to the use of plastics and hormonal injections in animals. These compounds work in the body by blocking the production of thyroid hormones. To decrease exposure, use stainless steel water bottles, install a water filter in your home, buy local food and avoid harmful cleaning agents.

Your thyroid is one of the hardest working, yet often neglected glands in your system. Give it the attention it deserves and feel better tomorrow