The thyroid gland is the most important endocrine gland in our body because it plays a major role in the metabolism and growth of our body. It is situated below the Adam’s apple, and the purpose of this gland is to produce thyroid hormones that come from taking the amino acid tyrosine and the iodine from the food we consume. These hormones are important for the overall health of our body, because they help all our organs to work well. If the thyroid gland changes the amount of produced hormones, it means that you have developed some of the thyroid diseases. There are several types of disorders, but we are going to talk about hyperthyroidism, also known as overactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
The primary function of the thyroid gland is to secrete hormones that are responsible for controlling your body’s metabolism. Therefore, when there is excessive amount of thyroid hormone in the blood, the overall functioning of the body is likely to be accelerated and you may experience symptoms such as:
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Rapid fingernail growth
- Eyes that bulge out and double vision
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Unexplained or unexpected weight loss but increased appetite
- Loss of interest in sex
- Muscle weakness
- More frequent bowel movements
Overproduction of thyroid hormones can be caused by a number of conditions such as consuming foods or drinks that contain a high amount of iodine, or taking too much additional iodine supplements, also taking too much thyroid medications can cause hyperthyroidism, but the most common factors are:
Graves’ disease – This disease is an autoimmune disorder, which is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Like every other autoimmune disorder, in Grave’s disease the immune system mistakes your thyroid for a toxic substance and attacks it. This leads to an over production of the thyroid hormone T4. The immune system often attacks the tissue behind your eyes, which results in having double vision, condition known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy, which is also followed by eyes that bulge out. The exact reason for this disease is still not known, although it is likely to run in families, and is most common in young women.
Thyroid nodules – It is possible for lumps, or nodules to grow in the thyroid gland. These nodules contain abnormal thyroid tissue, which changes the normal production of thyroid hormones and increases the thyroid’s activity and the production of the hormone T4. These lumps may cause an enlargement of the thyroid, but most of them are benign and can be treated. That is why they are not so common cause of hyperthyroidism.
Thyroiditis – This term represents inflammation of the thyroid gland which causes the gland to swell, and afterwards all the stored thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland to leak into the bloodstream. There are few types of thyroiditis, some of them are painful, some aren’t, but they can be treated and the thyroid can be returned to normal. The most common type of thyroiditis is the postpartum which is developed after pregnancy, as a result of the change in the immune system, and it is estimated that two out of every ten women are affected by this type of thyroiditis. However, there is the risk of developing hypothyroidism after treating thyroiditis, because the thyroid will be taught to produce fewer hormones.
Hyperthyroidism can be a tricky condition to manage, and even though there is no particular diet that will cure this condition, or will prevent it from happening, what you eat is still of great importance. Some nutrients have a great influence on the function of the thyroid gland, and if you eat some of the foods we will suggest, you may help yourself and feel better despite the condition.
Some of the foods that may help you with the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are the foods so calles goitrogens. The food is called goitrogenic food because it has a substance that affects your thyroid and slows its hormone production, and an abnormal enlargement of the butterfly-shaped gland below the Adam’s apple that may indicate hypothyroidism is called goiter. These goitrogens inhibit the uptake of iodine into the thyroid. Since one of the causes of this condition is an excessive amount of iodine, the goitrogens make it harder for the thyroid gland to absorb iodine and that is how they may help people who are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. You will be surprised by how many common foods contain goitrogenic compounds. Broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips, kale, cauliflower, rutabaga, watercress, radish and millet are foods that are particularly high in goitrogenic activity. Remember that cooking these vegetables may destroy their goitrogenic properties, so it would be best if you consume them raw.
This is a compound that is known for its ability to give you more energy and this compound has been shown to decrease some hyperthyroidism symptoms, such as nervousness, anxiety, fatigue and muscle weakness. Foods that are source of carnitine are the animal products like meat, fish, poultry and milk. In fact, remember that if the meat is red it contains even more carnitine.
Since this condition creates faster metabolism, that leads to many nutrition deficiencies in your body. Therefore, you should eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to overcome the deficiency in vitamins. The vitamins on which you should put special emphasis are vitamin B12, D and C. These vitamins help your body to combat free radicals that have something to do with hyperthyroidism. They increase the levels of antioxidants which eliminate free radicals in the body and regulate the thyroid gland.