Photo Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyroid_hormone
I learned all about the thyroid on my journey of infertility (slight sarcasm on the journey bit). Fertility/Infertility is such a touchy subject. So many people feel ashamed and embarrassed to talk about it. If that’s you…just make this window small and continue reading quietly. We won’t say anything to bring attention or embarrass you. Promise. Personally, I am pretty open about it. There are only a few days of the month where I am completely offended by other peoples questions and comments. But those are off days… hormonal days… it-shall-pass days.
We have been TTC, trying to conceive, for a couple years now. I think we are on year three. Does that matter? Naaa…who cares. More Saturdays’ to sleep in and Friday’s to stay up late. (depending on the day of the month, I would find my own statement offensive)
After one year of no conception, my husband and I both went to fertility specialists. My blood work revealed I had a hypothyroid. Turns out, most Americans do! Doc prescribed some lab created thyroid medicine, but I chose not to get that filled. I changed my diet instead. I don’t claim to know it all or to have professional advise. This is just the information I have combined for myself. If it helps you, super duper.
Here is what I have learned and what I did:
Certain veggies contain higher levels of oxalic acid which blocks iron and calcium absorption. Hello future Osteoporosis! Overuse of foods with oxalic acid has shown to damage the thyroid. This is to be considered, but it is not the main issue. The main issues are Cruciferous veggies which are more detrimental to a sluggish thyroid. Goitrogenic veggies also suppress the function of the thyroid by interfere with iron and iodine uptake.
Most of the Cruciferous vegetables, Goitrogenic veggies and those containing oxalic acid include spinach, chard, parsley, chives, purslane, beet greens, arugula, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip, collard greens, bok choy, brussels sprouts, radish, rutabaga, and watercress . So do you think all those raw veggie smoothies are the best thing for you? Nope, they are not.
These veggies should not be eaten raw. Prepare these vegetables by steaming them or fermenting them like you would ferment cabbage into sauerkraut. If you steam them, just be sure to discard the water used to steam the veggies. The best way for you to know what you should do is to get your blood tested to identify your iron levels. Eat spinach and veggies raw. Then do a second blood test to see if the levels changed.
If you need more iron, fennel is a good source. Grass fed animal organ meet is also a great source. Don’t be afraid of beef heart, kidneys or chicken livers. They actually taste wonderful. This is how traditional cultures got much of their minerals and essential nutrients. They did not take a teaspoon of spirulina each day. Eat your organ meat!
Back to those veggies…If you are going to eat the fibrous portion of the vegetable, it is best to cook them in butter as advised by Dr. Weston A. Price to enhance the availability of the minerals. The fat in the butter permits greater absorption of the minerals. Dr. Price’s research found that the bulkiness (fiber) of raw vegetables interfered with the human body’s ability to extract minerals from them via the digestive process.
Dietary factors that contribute to healthy thyroid function include adequate protein and iodine (thyroid hormone is composed of iodine and tyrosine, a protein found in animal foods); trace elements such as iron, zinc and selenium (needed to prevent anemia and for key enzymes to make hormonal conversions); B vitamins, including B12; vitamin C; and, above all, adequate vitamin A from animal sources. Many substances in the modern diet depress thyroid function, including soy foods, fluoride and possibly even aspartame, the artificial sweetener found in nutrasweet. Pesticides and other pollutants may also depress thyroid function.
Ok. So cook your veggies. What else can you do? Make fish stock!
Click her for a post on Fish Stock. It is good for your thyroid.
3 quarts of filtered water
2 lbs of fish heads and bones (fish heads alone will suffice)*
1/4 cup raw, organic apple cider vinegar
Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to taste
*Do not use oily fish such as salmon for fish stock or you will stink up the whole house! Only use non-oily fish such as sole, turbot, rock fish or, my favorite, snapper.
Use chia seeds instead of flax which is a slightly goitrogenic food. You can find chia seeds at the health food store. I typically add them to my breakfast smoothie. More about that in a later post.
Also, Soy is a potent goitrogen (thyroid suppressor). Soy should only be consumed in fermented forms. The products you find here in the US are not good choices. Soy is loaded with extra estrogen, and has never been consumed by traditional cultures like we do today. Even soy milk, people! Do you drink that stuff because you can’t drink regular milk? That regular milk is over processed, and may be the reason for lactose intolerance. I switched to raw milk, and it has cured my husbands lactose-intolerance. Oops, I got sidetracked again…
Coconut Oil is an awesome oil for your body and thyroid. Avoid polyunsaturated oils like vegetable oil, canola oil and soy oil in the products you purchase. I cook with coconut oil, use it in salads and smoothies.
Raw potatoes contain hemagglutinins that disrupt red blood cell function. Raw, edible mushrooms such as the common white mushroom contain toxic substances such as agaritine, a suspected carcinogen. These substances are heat sensitive and are neutralized by cooking. So cook your potatoes an mushrooms.
Iodine is also a needed mineral to include in your diet. It forms the basis of thyroid hormones and plays many other roles in human biochemistry. While the thyroid gland contains the body’s highest concentration of iodine, the salivary glands, brain, cerebrospinal fluid, gastric mucosea, breasts, ovaries and a part of the eye also concentrate iodine. It is such an important part to human life that the government decided to add it to table salt, iodized salt. I don’t follow the ‘salt is bad’ philosophy. Go here for truth on blood pressure and salt. Enter your search in the search box.
For any of the minerals and vitamins needed to boost your thyroid, I don’t suggest taking them in supplement form. Your body needs certain combinations of food for proper assimilation. Eat real food, feel real good!
Be sure to eat at least one Brazil nut per day to get your needed selenium. Read this article all about Brazil nuts.
Additional bathroom reading about Hypothyroid reaching epidemic proportions: http://superiorcleansing.com/hypothyroidism-reaches-epidemic-proportions-causing-fatigue-and-weight-gain/
And lastly, coffee or caffeine and sodas. Cut back on your caffeine intake. This toxic stimulant is wearing out your thyroid and adrenal glands. Certain sodas like Mountain Dew uses brominated vegetable oil as an emulsifier. Not only that, it contains high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, more than 55 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce can, and Yellow Dye #5 (tartrazine, which has been banned in Norway, Austria and Germany.) These glands are so super important and so super sensitive. Be kind to them!
After changing the way I ate concerning the foods discussed here, I had an improvement on my thyroid function. The doctor was very pleased that his “prescription was working.” Little did he know that I never filled that prescription! Muah Ha Ha Ha Haaaa!
I will be following this post with one about other fertility specific foods I have added to my diet. So far, no pregnancy, but my boobs got bigger! No joke!
Do you take thryoid medication? Have you tried dietary changes to improve its function? Let me know your thought; leave a comment!
This post has been linked up with Frugal Days Sustainable Ways Blog Hop.