Hypothyroidism is a disease which has targeted a massive population in the last decade like a wildfire. It’s a condition in which the body lacks sufficient hormone function and can’t make enough thyroid hormones for normal metabolism in the body. When the thyroid hormone levels are too low and the body’s cells can’t get enough of them, the body’s processes start slowing down, leading to fatigue, dry skin, constipation and even forgetfulness and depression.
There is no cure for hypothyroidism, and most patients have it throughout their life, but it can be managed with a healthy diet and exercise. The condition may become more or less severe and your dose of thyroxin may need to change over time as per your physician. Most of the common causes of hypothyroidism are autoimmune disease, surgical removal of the thyroid, radiation treatment, congenital defect, thyroiditis, damage to the pituitary gland and even certain medicines.
Common Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism:
● Weight gain or increased difficulty in losing weight
● Coarse, dry hair
● Dry, rough, pale skin
● Hair loss
● Cold intolerance (you can’t tolerate cold temperatures like those around you)
● Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
● Memory loss
● Abnormal menstrual cycles
Symptoms may vary by the individual and they will vary with the severity of the thyroid hormone deficiency and the length of time the body has been deprived of the proper amount of hormones.
Some Dos and Don’ts For Hypothyroidism:
Avoid excessive intake of goitrogens. Goitrogens are foods that can induce iodine deficiency by combining with iodine and making it unavailable for use by the thyroid gland. Foods such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, walnuts, almonds and soy are considered goitrogenic. Cooking usually neutralises the goitrogens in these foods and eating nuts and soy in limited amounts while ensuring adequate intake of iodine and selenium should eliminate any problem. Limiting your intake to 1‐2 servings a day appears to have no adverse effect on thyroid function.
● Soya bean: Overall soya bean consumption is healthy for the body, especially for women, as the isoflavones in soya bean have an oestrogen-mimicking effect. Studies are still showing negative as well as positive results for soya bean, so it’s better even if consumed, to make sure you don’t overuse or abuse it.
● Gluten: You need to minimise the intake of gluten, a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley, rye and other grains. Gluten can irritate the small intestine and may hamper the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication. However, even if you consume gluten-containing foods, choose whole‐grain bread, pasta and brown rice, which are high in fibre and other nutrients and can help improve bowel irregularity, a common symptom of hypothyroidism.
● Fatty foods: Fats have been found to disrupt the body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medicines and may also interfere with the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones as well. Therefore, restrict the consumption of fried foods, deep-fried and ready-to-eat foods, chips and packaged foods and also reduce the intake of fats from sources such as butter, mayonnaise, margarine and fatty cuts of meat.
● Sodium intake: People with thyroid issues should restrict the consumption of sodium-rich foods like processed foods. You should limit salt consumption to at least 4 grams a day. Avoid foods containing soda as well as baking soda and baked goods.
●Excess fibre: Getting enough fibre is good for health but too much can complicate your hypothyroidism treatment. It has been recommended that one should consume at least 20 to 35 grams of fibre daily. Some good sources of optimum dietary fibre are whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes. They help to achieve weight loss along with aiding bowel movement.
● Coffee: Caffeine has been found to block absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medicine.
● Boost your metabolism: Metabolism can be boosted as per the levels of maintenance of your thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland plays an important role in the metabolism of the body, so regular consumption of a specific dose of medicine, along with a healthy diet and an exercise routine helps you to achieve and maintain a healthy physique.
● Exercise: The right exercise routine like cardiovascular workouts and strength training can help boost your metabolism. Cardio can include walking, jogging, biking, swimming and aerobics. Strength training like weight lifting and building muscle will help to burn more calories. Exercise stimulates thyroid hormone synthesis, tissue sensitivity and decreases stress, which can interfere with the conversion to active T3.
● Skipping of meals: Skipping of meals leads to munching on unhealthy foods and in excess quantity, thereby further decreasing the appetite and bringing about a change in weight, along with other health issues like acidity, constipation and indigestion.
● Balanced diet: A balanced diet should include complex carbs (whole grains), quality first-class protein from meat (fish, chicken, lean meats), along with curds, low-fat paneer, sprouts and dals, a bowl of salad, veggies and healthy fats (rice bran oil, canola oil, olive oil). Try and ensure that you consume plenty of fluids so you are well hydrated and also fruits as they provide various antioxidants and nutrients which are not available through other food groups.
Last but not the least: Don’t skip meals and always eat on time.