One of the most common forms of thyroid problem is hypothyroidism or an under active thyroid gland. The most prevalent form of hypothyroidism is Thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s Disease, an auto immune disease affecting the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism can also be caused by a thyroid gland that is inflamed or sluggish. Thyroid problems can be due to iodine deficiency, an after effect of surgery or medication, or dysfunction of the pituitary gland. There are various herbs and natural remedies available that are believed to actively treat a thyroid problem.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Weight gain, especially if the pounds pile on quickly and are almost impossible to remove.
- Dry and rough skin.
- Dry and coarse hair.
- Constant fatigue.
- There could also be memory loss, cramps and constipation.
All of these symptoms or just a few can be present, which means diagnosis of a thyroid problem by your physician is highly recommended.
A blood test for levels of thyroid hormones TSH and T4 is the most precise (but not necessarily VERY precise) way to diagnose a health problem. What may be a “normal” thyroid level for one person may not be normal for another. Thyroid problems can appear in someone who has the same levels as someone else who seems perfectly fine. The range of thyroid levels considered normal is quite wide, and can also depend on a particular lab report. Nevertheless, a blood test remains the best way to diagnose a thyroid health problem, such as hypothyroidism.
Conventional treatments for thyroid conditions included synthetic thyroid hormones. These treatments can often very from person to person, making it a hit or miss situation with constant monitoring needed as to how drug levels are affecting the condition. Ideally, the goal is to change thyroid hormone levels in order to treat causes of the thyroid problem, rather than just temporarily relieve the symptoms.
The best way to maintain your thyroid for optimum health is by taking a holistic approach to nutrition.
- Eliminate white flour (don’t be fooled by “wheat flour” as the first ingredient listed on the label; Wheat flour is really white flour), sugar, processed foods, and stimulants like alcohol, tea and coffee.
- Food with additives and preservatives should be avoided.
- Increase your intake of nutrient-dense foods such as dark leafy/green vegetables. Plants contain three classes of micronutrients that are critical for optimal health: vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are not “optional,” they are Essential in immune system defenses.
Strive for a plant-based diet that is rich in colorful vegetables and fruits. If at all possible, try not to buy ANY food product that has a label on it.