An alarming percentage of Americans suffer from thyroid issues, estimates range from 10%-50% and most have issues with low thyroid aka hypothyroidism. Iodized salt was a response to this issue in the days of old, before salt became the panacea of all that ails us. Oddly enough, the saving grace of the SAD (standard American diet) is the outrageously high content of refined, iodized salt and refined sugar in the American Diet.
When people decide to stop the high sodium, high sugar life and move to healthy eating styles, their sodium and sugar intake usually drops dramatically. If they were borderline hypothyroidism all along there is a possibility that the previous massive intakes of refined salt and sugar might have been keeping them stable! Now that those are no longer present it’s more than likely thyroid issues will set in. If you’re suffering from hair loss/ thinning, lower temperature, cold hands and /or feet, weakness, excessive tiredness, sudden weight gain, diffulculty losing weight, you are probably tipping toward or have developed hypothyroidism.
The diet of our ancestors was rich in sea food, sea vegetables and sea salt. Now, not so much. very small percentages of people eat kelp and seaweed along with a variety of mussels, clams, cod, shrimp and oysters. In fact if your like the average ‘health’ conscious person, you’re eating lots of lean beef, pork, chicken, vegetables and a little fruit with some heart healthy grains! Right?
And it’s a good guess you’re not dousing your food in salt thanks to the whole “high blood pressure” scare that our society agencies have drummed into us since the 60-70′s. We need Iodine and the best way to get it is through our food, 2nd best choice would be to supplement but there also some potential for toxicity so please have your levels checked before randomly deciding to down massive amounts of this supplement!
Unsaturated oils are believed to be thyroid-suppressing ones like, soybean, canola, corn, cottonseed, peanut, grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, pretty much any vegetable and or seed oil. If you’re having issues with thyroid, you would probably be advised to also skip the mono fat oils such as,olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and hazelnut oil. The best oils to use for cooking with hypothyroidism would be saturated fats like, coconut oil, beef tallow and butter/ghee.
Awhile back I wrote about Goitrogens. Remember these? Basically they are anit-thyroid foods and although in the healthy whole food profile, they can be detrimental for a person who suffers from hypothyroidism. “Goitrogens are naturally occurring substances that may interfere with the function of the thyroid gland. Goitrogens get their name from the term “goiter,” which means an enlargement of the thyroid gland. If the thyroid gland is having difficulty making thyroid hormone, it may enlarge as a way of trying to compensate for this inadequate hormone production. “Goitrogens,” like circumstances that cause goiter, cause difficulty for the thyroid in making its hormone.”
Some common goitrogens:
Cruciferous vegetables (high levels of goitrogens):
* Bok Choy
* Brussel sprouts
* Mustard greens
Lower level foods:
* Bamboo shoots
* Pine nuts
* Sweet potatoes
Popular diets like paleo/Primal and low-carb that concentrate on heavy muscle meats and tons of leafy greens, low fruits and no sugar and salt can be counterproductive to your thyroid function. So how would I go about maintaining a healthy thyroid?
A)Have iodine levels checked and supplement if needed.
B) Use iodized sea salt that is not processed. I have been using Himalayan pink salt for over a year and a half but found it that mine had no iodine! So now I use a celtic gray sea salt with iodine.
C) Eat some fruit! For thyroid function, some believe that fruit is better that OK it is optimal. Fruit causes fewer issues on people with blood sugar problems than starch does.
D) Limit goitrogens. Don’t make them staples in your diet. There are hundreds of vegetables you can enjoy out there.
For more info on thyroid function, both Danny Roddy and Ray Peat say a lot of great things.