The Superfood for an Underactive Thyroid: Coconut

coconutsMaintaining optimal thyroid health is essential for proper functioning of the body and maintaining overall health, the thyroid gland is a large gland located in the neck and releases hormones that are crucial in maintaining the metabolic rates. Any disruption in the levels of these hormones in the blood can cause many symptoms as thyroid hormones do not target a single organ, in fact, they stimulate many cells in the body, an under active thyroid gland activity is known to be linked with weight problems and obesity in both men and women, especially women.

Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy diet that will include all the necessary nutrients required for proper functioning of these hormones. This includes foods that are known to contain higher than average levels of nutrients. Basically giving you more bang for your buck. These are known as super foods. You’ve probably heard of these and may have even been promised that if you use these they will cure all your ills. If you see this my tip is to run! There is no one superfood that will be the complete remedy to all. However these super foods used on a regular basis in your diet will help to provide your body with the range of nutrients required for optimal thyroid function.

There are some super foods that show specific results towards the symptoms of low thyroid function and is worth looking at how you can incorporate them into your diet on a regular basis. One of my favorites is coconuts. Not only do they taste great and make me feel like I’m on a tropical holiday but its also great for your health. Research has shown that simply adding coconut oil instead of other regular vegetables oil can help with both a reduction in waist circumference as well as LDL (otherwise known as the “bad” Cholesterol). http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11745-009-3306-6?no-access=true#page-1

According to many nutritionists, if you include coconut oil into your diet, you could control weight gain and a steady increase in metabolism; this is great news for someone suffering with low thyroid symptoms. However as I mentioned before this is not the complete answer if you suffer from low thyroid symptoms, it is important to also look at foods to remove and also following a balanced highly nutritious diet for optimal thyroid function. I know that we all want to find the magic quick fix but balance is key.

We have been taught time and again that unsaturated fats are unhealthy for your body; such as soybean oil that is an integral part of the processed commercial food. Research is now suggesting it may be a major cause of weight gain, and other health complaints.

Coconut oil is different. It is a saturated fat that is primarily made of medium chain fatty acids. These have had a very bad reputation over the years being linked with saturated fats from animal meats and heart disease. In more recent years however we have learned that saturated fats from coconuts is quite different and is one of the only sources of medium chain fatty acids. These breakdown rapidly in the body to be used quickly for energy. In simple words, these fatty acids increase metabolism and assist in reducing body weight.

When you increase coconut oil in your diet it is essential to remove other hidden forms of unsaturated fats. To ensure that you are reducing the bad fats from your diet do not buy packaged foods that list soybean and vegetable oil as its ingredients. Once you begin to read labels it can be a little overwhelming to see just how much of our so called “healthy” foods are loaded with vegetables oils, trans fats and sugars. All of which are having a negative impact on your thyroid and waist line. It is important to try to eat foods as fresh and unprocessed as possible. While it may take a little more planning, making your own meals from scratch doesn’t need to be hard or time consuming, but is the best way to ensure that you are getting to right balance of nutrients in your diet.

Extra virgin coconut oil can be the healthiest choice for you, you can add coconut oil in your cooking. It tastes delicious in both savory and sweet dishes. I recommend only about 2-3 teaspoons per day for most people. I know some experts are recommending 6 or more Tablespoons per day on top of a regular diet but unless your incredibly active and have a “perfect” diet all you will gain are some extra pounds! Moderation is key to gain the health benefits and get your thyroid back in balance.