This seems to be my modus operandi when it comes to choosing what to write about in my blog:
I either find some noteworthy article, which leads me to another related article, which shows me an interesting fact that I feel I must write on, or I surf the net for information on my own symptoms or symptoms of someone I know, and then the topic falls into my lap(top)!
For the past few years I’ve had in the back of my mind the question of whether or not my thyroid function is healthy. No, I haven’t had it checked, but I have done the little self-tests that one can easily find online. The results are varied, of course.
So, what exactly does the thyroid do?
“The thyroid gland controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and controls how sensitive the body is to other hormones. It participates in these processes by producing thyroid hormones, the principal ones being triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine which can sometimes be referred to as tetraiodothyronine (T4). These hormones regulate the rate of metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body. T3 and T4 are synthesized from both iodine and tyrosine. The thyroid also produces calcitonin, which plays a role in calcium homeostasis.” (wikipedia)
Thyroid hormones are needed for brain development, growth, reproduction, and metabolism (which also may be a reason for some people to have difficulty losing weight, or alternatively, GAINING needed weight).
Hypothyroidism is the result of an underactive thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is actually considered an autoimmune disease. Other factors contributing to thyroid disease include poor nutrition, age, radiation, prescribed medications (Lithium, for one), heredity, and environmental toxins (fluoride, bromine, and petrochemicals, to name a few).
Let’s discuss one of the ways we can naturally increase thyroid health ~ proper nutrition.
We all (or most of us) know that proper nutrition ~ sufficient intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, micronutrients, and macronutrients ~ is nature’s best medicine (along with sufficient water intake and motion ~ AKA exercise).
Now, if you look at the list I just wrote in the above paragraph, you will see the words vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, micronutrients, and macronutrients. Did you know that these are all found in Hemp? Hempseed is a complete protein and very nutritionally dense. I’m not saying that you should ingest huge amounts of hemp just to get your proper nutrients, but it is an excellent daily food source, along with fruits and vegetables and herbs that are high in nutritional value.
Before I go any further, I want to mention soy. Yes, I know there are many who will read this who are pro-soy, and many who are anti-soy. I happen to be part of the latter. I do not eat or drink anything that contains soy. I do not drink milk any more, but I do not replace dairy with soy milk, I drink hemp milk or almond milk. I do not eat soy protein in solid form, I eat hempseeds instead.
Also, the majority of soy is now genetically engineered (GMO):
“Twenty years ago, no genetically engineered food crops had been planted in the United States. Then, beginning in 1987, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began to receive what has turned out to be 11,600 applications for the testing of genetically engineered food crops. By the year 2000, over 50% of all soybeans planted in the U.S. were genetically engineered. As of 2007, that number increased to 91%. Soybeans currently surpass both corn and cotton as the genetically engineered crop with the greatest planted acreage. (For a more detailed look at genetically engineered soybeans and the history of crop planting, you can visit the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) review published by its Economic Research Service, at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/biotechcrops/ExtentofAdoptionTable3.htm).”
Let’s get back to soy for a moment. Soy contains isoflavones and phytic acid. Isoflavones and phytic acid can POTENTIALLY disrupt thyroid function, because they block the assimilation of the needed nutrients by the thyroid.
“Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.” (tetrahedron.org)
One more item to note about soy: In patients with diabetes, there may be a correlation between celiac disease and/or gluten sensitivity and thyroid dysfunction.
“Patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) are at a great risk for developing autoimmune diseases. It is well recognized that T1D can be associated with celiac disease (CD) and autoimmune thyroid disorders (ATD). Recent studies regarding CD and T1D have indicated that the frequency of this association can vary from 1.7% to 16%.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc)
I know this is a LOT of information, and it may seem as if I am jumping around with the topics, but if you read closely you will see that most of our body’s functions are interrelated.
If you are looking to supplement your diet to improve or to prolong your thyroid health, it is easy to do. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, eat foods that are high in micro and macronutrients, AND add hemp to your diet – it is non-allergenic, clean, gluten-free, and an excellent non-animal protein source.
*This information is for educational purposes only and is NOT meant to replace the advice of a doctor. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your primary care provider.