Even though Thyroid issues are on the rise, most people rarely stop to think about this important butterfly-shaped gland at the base of their neck. Unless it’s causing trouble, of course!
The thyroid is the largest component of the endocrine system. It produces two hormones, T4 and T3, and plays a key role in metabolism, moods, digestion, and energy.
Your clients may not realize the symptoms they list on their intake forms are common indicators of a sluggish thyroid.
- low energy
- weight gain
- brain fog
- dry skin
- low libido
These can all be indicative of a poorly functioning thyroid, especially when they occur together.
A good strategy is to confirm low thyroid function by having your client complete blood work through their medical or naturopathic doctor. There are many tests, and thyroid hormones are complex. Looking at TSH is most common.
The reference range for TSH is 0.3 - 5.0 U/mL. However, every body is different, so don’t dismiss anyone above 2.0 U/mL experiencing the above symptoms. Subclinical hypothyroidism is common, and usually benefits from nutritional support.
When you’re putting together a meal plan for a sluggish thyroid, be sure to include the following 5 foods to nourish and support healthy thyroid function:
1. Brazil Nuts
Selenium is a trace mineral critical for thyroid function as it is a component of the enzymes that convert T4 into T3.
Since food sources seem to be safer than supplements when it comes to selenium, be sure to include Brazil nuts, which are the best food source of selenium. Including even just a few per day will provide a boost to a person's selenium status.
If nut allergies are an issue, other food sources of selenium include: shrimp, lamb, turkey, cod, salmon, eggs, and mushrooms.
2. Sea Veggies
Iodine is another trace mineral, which works with selenium to promote a healthy thyroid. Just like selenium, supplementation with iodine is not as safe as consuming foods that contain iodine.
Sea veggies contain high levels of iodine compared to other foods. Not to mention, other super valuable sea-based nutrients. They are also delicious!
Commonly available sea vegetables include: kelp, dulse, nori, and wakame.
That Clean Life members can add this Slow Cooker Cod & Sea Veggie Soup to meal plans for a boost of iodine and selenium.
3. Coconut Fat
Saturated fats from coconut are in their raw state and provide essential fatty acids that nourish the thyroid. The medium chain fatty acids are also more likely to be used as energy than stored as fat, so they help with fatigue and weight management (common concerns with low thyroid).
Coconut oil, milk, butter, and meat all contain fats that are thyroid-friendly.
4. Bone Broth
Rich in minerals and amino acids, bone broth should be a part of any healing diet. The amino acid glycine, found in collagen, is supportive for gut health, which is an important factor in thyroid health.
Bone broth can also boost energy and improve immunity, which benefit those with a sluggish thyroid.
5. Chia, Hemp & Flax
Seeds like chia, hemp and flax are known for being rich in omega-3 fats, specifically ALA, which the body requires for balanced hormones – including thyroid hormones. These fats are also anti-inflammatory, and supportive of good brain health and cognitive function.
Keep in mind that both chia and hemp can be consumed whole, while flax seeds must be ground to get the full benefit.
Thyroid Meal Planning
To make life easier for health professionals, we have added a done-for-you Thyroid Health Program including:
- 7 days of meal and snacks
- all 5 of these thyroid-supportive foods (plus even more!)
- an itemized shopping list
- a simple-to-follow prep guide
Our Thyroid Health Diet provides an easy, highly valuable resource for you to provide to hypothyroid clients, while saving you the time it takes to curate thyroid-friendly recipes.
For autoimmune thyroid issues like Hashimoto’s or Grave’s we also have an Autoimmune Paleo Diet plan to address the inflammation and gut-healing aspects of autoimmunity.