How does Thyroid Wellness Diet work?

Blog 5The thyroid diet is specifically designed based on the science of the thyroid and how the body uses the thyroid hormones. There are three specific stages that we look at:

Stage one:

The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland in the base of the neck. It is responsible for making thyroid hormones. The specific hormones that it makes is T4, T3, T2 and T1. T4 makes up about 80% of this in a healthy thyroid and T2 and T1 only 2-3% combined.

There are a number of important nutrients that the body requires to make these thyroid hormones. These include iodine and tyrosine. Iodine is something that has traditionally been used to treat underactive thyroid, however I would recommend caution and always have an iodine loading test completed before taking high dose supplements. It is however important to add good sources of iodine from natural foods into your diet on a regular basis. Most Western diets are severely deficient in iodine and a paper release in Australia several years ago showed that 1 in 3 children under the age of seven had a low level of iodine that was impacting on their IQ. Foods rich in iodine include sea vegetables, such as nori and wakamee. Adding these in one to two time per week should be sufficient if your iodine loading results are “normal”.

Tyrosine is another nutrient needed for thyroid hormone production. Tyrosine is found in protein rich foods. This includes meat, chicken, fish, milk, cheese, yoghurt, nuts, seeds, chickpeas, legumes and beans, etc. In the Thyroid Diet and Lifestlye Program we focus on including protein at every meal and snack to ensure adequate amounts of tyrosine for thyroid hormone production.

To have healthy thyroid hormone production it is also important to remove foods from the diet that inhibit thyroid hormone production. These include: Gluten, soy (except temph and miso which has been fermented removing the thyroid inhibiting properties) and excess amounts of cruciferous vegetables.

Stage Two:

Once the body has produced the correct thyroid hormones they are released in to the blood stream. This is unfortunately where a number of issues arise that can cause low thyroid function. The body cannot use the highly available T4. This needs to be converted to T3 to be active. This conversion takes place in the liver. So it is vital to ensure healthy gut and liver health. This includes ensuring healthy, regular bowel movements and waste removal.

The Thyroid Diet includes high amounts of vegetables high in fibre and vital nutrients to ensure optimal elimination and support for the liver and gut. I also recommend using fermented foods to ensure optimal internal environment.

Stage Three:

It is vital to also ensure a good balance of your other hormones. Specifically insulin, cortisol and oestrogen. If any of these are imbalanced it can affect both stage one and two. Healthy hormone balance can be achieved through a combination of reducing sugar, caffeine, packaged and processed foods as well as focusing on lifestyle changes and specific supplementation.