The Endocrine system is made up of some pretty important glands – The pea-shaped Governing Pituitary, the Hypothalamus, and the thyroid, as well as the parathyroid, adrenals, pineal body, ovaries and testes.
This network of glands works together to trigger off hormone production to enable cells to complete their tasks in our bodies.
In regards to the thyroid, the hypothalamus secretes thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) which in turn triggers off the pituitary to secrete thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
As the name suggests, these hormones are designed to regulate the production of thyroid hormones. This process is essential for proper thyroid production. When even just one aspect on this track does not function correctly, everything is pushed out of whack.
Thyroid hormones are essential for energy production and metabolism, neuronal development, and growth.
Around 5% of the population has hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid, with some cases still going undiagnosed. Your body isn’t producing enough thyroid hormones, resulting in a slower metabolism, temperature sensitivity, digestion issues, and weight gain.
Let’s look at 4 Foods that regulates thyroid hormone production, improves metabolism, participates in the conversion of T4 to T3, and aids in symptom management.
This may not be the first food you think of to consume. However, this green sea goddess is FULL of nutrients for the thyroid.
Seaweed is rather remarkable as it carries the ability to absorb iodine from the ocean (keep in mind it can absorb other things as well, so be aware of where you get it from). Seaweed is considered the best source of iodine you can eat.
It is a good source of B Vitamins and copper, and Spirulina contains all 9 essential amino acids, and is a good source of Omega-3. In particular, seaweed contains high amounts of iodine and tyrosine – crucial nutrients for hormone production. Along with good levels of iron, vitamins, folate and zinc. Seaweed and other algae like spirulina packs a pretty powerful nutritional punch.
Seaweed contains the antioxidant Fucoxanthin, which when consumed with fat carries more protective properties than vitamin E! This antioxidant goes even further by aiding in the metabolism of fat.
When cooked, it can lose a lot of its iodine content, up to 90%. However, this isn’t a bad thing, as raw seaweed contains extremely high amounts of iodine which isn’t good for thyroid conditions. The RDI of iodine is 150 micrograms, and seaweed can contain up to 232 micrograms. Therefore, it is recommended to cook seaweed and other algae before consuming.
Add spirulina to a smoothie, toss some kelp in stews, sprinkle powdered seaweed in salad dressings, or occasionally enjoy a sushi lunch.
Eggs could be one of the most underestimated foods, especially free-range eggs. Packed full of nutrients, eggs are a great way to boost nutrient levels.
Eggs are a good source of three of the most significant nutrients that the thyroid thirsts for – tyrosine, iodine, and selenium. Eggs provide 8% of RDI of iodine, and 29% RDI of selenium. Selenium is an incredibly important nutrient for the conversion of T4 or thyroxine into the active hormone T3 or Triiodothyronine. This process relies on selenium-dependent enzymes to activate T4, or inactivate T3, and turn it back into T4. Thereby, regulating the production of the two most important hormones for the thyroid.
Eggs are also a good source of Vitamin D and B, Omega-3, 9 essential amino acids, and antioxidants.
Even though eggs are high in cholesterol, contrary to myth, research has now shown that the cholesterol in eggs does not raise cholesterol in the blood, and in fact can actually reduce it!
Enjoy them in Frittatas, omelettes, scrambled, or fried – How do you like yours?
Fruit? Vegetable? Nope. Avocados are actually considered to be a berry! And part of the same plant family as the cinnamon tree.
Avocados are loaded with thyroid-loving goodies – monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
For healthy hormone production, the thyroid needs plenty of fatty acids – in particular Omega-3. Avocados are packed full of Omega-3 and fiber to aid in reducing inflammation. They are also a good source of Vitamin C, E, K and B, along with potassium and magnesium. This synergistic combo provides a perfect environment for healthy hormone production.
Eggs are high in pantothenic acid. This vitamin is used to turn food into energy! A rather useful vitamin for those struggling with weight issues and slow metabolism. It also contains 41% of RDI of folate for healthy cell growth.
Use avocados in place of mayo, dip crackers in guacamole, toss in a salad, add to tacos, or my fav – smeared on Vogel’s toast with marmite!
Food High in Zinc.
Zinc is important in the process of activating the thyroid, and for over 300 enzyme functions. Zinc and selenium work in synergy for the conversion of T4 into T3, and regulates the release of thyrotropin-releasing hormone and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. Zinc can become depleted in those that overproduce TSH, like in cases of hypothyroidism.
Zinc also has a major impact on the reproductive and nervous system, crucial for not only hormone production, also to assist in symptom management like depression, cold sensitivity, and memory problems.
Women need around 8 milligrams of zinc, where men need around 11 milligrams per day.
Beef, legumes, nuts, and seeds like hemp seeds contain around 31-43% RDI. Dairy, EGGS, whole grains, potatoes and even dark chocolate are great sources of zinc. Dark chocolate contains 3.3 milligrams of zinc per 100g.
The Brazil nut is one of the richest sources of selenium, with one Brazil nut containing around 60 – 90 micrograms of selenium. The RDI for selenium is around 55 micrograms, so consuming 1-2 Brazil nuts a day is highly recommended.
Keep in mind that using these foods in high amounts to rectify the problem is not recommended! However, including them in moderate amounts a couple of times a week could aid in improving symptoms.
What Foods Have You Tried?
Comment below if increasing the above nutrients in your diet has helped.