Any doctor can tell you that to handle thyroid disease, you need a suitable dose of thyroid hormone to replace what your body isn’t currently making on its own, or that you may need other forms of medications to control the excess. However, it may also be worthwhile to consider that making lifestyle changes can be just as significant as these.
How can lifestyle changes help with thyroid disease?
‘If you’re not feeling well, there is much to be gained from focusing on a wholesome diet, regular exercise, stress control, and more to help you feel your best with thyroid disease”, states David Borenstein, MD, an integrative medicine physician in New York City. “It is extremely important to have a lifestyle which controls stress and provides appropriate nutrition and fitness,” he added.
You might start by analyzing your daily diet to see whether any changes or swaps could be made. More exercise is just another lifestyle change that could make a large difference in the way you feel. As with a change in your diet, ask your doctor and start exercise routines. Yoga classes, along with tai committed or chi meditation, can decrease tension or anxiety, which can be important when you live with hypothyroidism.
If you’re not feeling well despite following your thyroid disease treatment regimen as recommended by a healthcare professional, try these lifestyle hints from experts and people living with thyroid disease.
Be Vigilant About Eating Vegetables
Vegetables are a necessary part of a healthy diet, but people with hypothyroidism, or any other thyroid disease at that, might want to avoid cruciferous vegetables, like turnips and cabbage, as they can block thyroid hormone generation.
However, Benjamin Snider, ND, a naturopathic doctor at Authentic Wellness Integrative Health Centre at Kitchener, Ontario, says that cruciferous vegetables offer you many health benefits, and you should just limit them in case you’ve got a serious iodine deficiency, as that is when they are most likely to influence thyroid function. Dr. Snider recommends steaming cruciferous vegetables, which may limit their harmful tendencies.
Eat a Clean, Balanced Diet Daily
Lorraine Williams, a volunteer for the British Thyroid Foundation and a blogger in Thyroid Hope, demands people to avoid eating any highly processed foods. “Learn to listen to your body and eat for good health,” she says. Janelle Flores, a hypothyroidism blogger in Adventures of a Thyroidless Girl, is also an advocate for “clean” eating (she’s also gluten-free). “I’ve discovered that eating healthy provides me the most energy and the best outcome,” she states.
Exercise Often but With Certain Limits
Flores emphasizes the value of daily exercise while also listening to your own body. “If I’m having a bad day, I give myself a rest,” she states. “However, I feel that I don’t have as many bad times when I focus on eating correctly.” With the appropriate dose of medication and routine exercise, my energy level is a lot higher, ” she says.
“Moderate exercise is quite good for you. Just don’t overdo it,” Borenstein illustrated. Overexertion can affect the body’s ability to convert inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to the active form (T3) by eliminating an iodine molecule,” he explains, and “when that procedure does not happen properly, it can cause thyroid disease symptoms.”
Be Careful With Supplements
“Use caution when considering nutritional supplements that claim to boost thyroid function. These nutritional supplements aren’t proven effective”, says Anne R. Cappola, MD, an associate professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. Some contain unregulated amounts of thyroid hormones, leading to unregulated levels of the thyroid hormones.
In addition, a few alternative medicine practitioners may recommend iodine nutritional supplements for thyroid disease, but the majority of people in the United States actually have adequate iodine levels (although pregnant women can be an exception). “Substantial amounts of iodine in nutritional supplements can cause a faster drop in thyroid function in people predisposed to thyroid insufficiency,” Dr. Cappola states. “These supplements should be avoided.”
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Carrying too many pounds may lead to insulin resistance, which affects hormone levels, according to Borenstein. Plus, people that are overweight need more thyroid gland hormones. Individuals with borderline thyroid function might observe improvements in thyroid function when they maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.
Another weight reduction benefit includes the reduced risk of thyroid cancer. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the most common form of hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, raises the danger of a sort of thyroid cancer called thyroid lymphoma. And a study published online at Medical Science Monitor in January 2015 found that the risk for thyroid cancer also increases among overweight and obese individuals.
Manage Stress With Yoga or Meditation
“Introducing stress management and mindfulness techniques ought to be a component of any hypothyroid application,” Snider says. “That’s because stress weakens the immune system and also can raise the resistance of thyroid gland cells”, he says. Flores exercises to be physically fit, but also to lower stress. “I especially find jogging or running curative,” she states. However, when she is not feeling good, she allows herself to relax and indulge in a day. Borenstein recommends yoga, tai chi, and meditation to help alleviate stress.
Practice Restorative Sleep Habits Every Night
“Good sleep is a no-brainer,” Borenstein says. To repair tissues you will need sleep to help your body heal. “Sleep is critical in optimizing thyroid function because it helps to modulate the stress hormone cortisol,” Snider says. Stress management and exercise can enhance sleep quality, as can a normal sleep schedule and avoiding late-day caffeine, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Additionally, it is important to achieve a wholesome sleep environment.
Learn to Listen to Signals From Your Body
Thyroid disease is different for everybody, and everyone responds differently to treatment. “I have discovered my own body well enough to understand when I am feeling like when I need a drug dose shift,” Flores says. “Overall, medication is helpful because I need it to work effectively, but for me personally, I don’t think medication alone is the answer.”
Lee Parks, MD, an endocrinologist and also the clinical director of the Vanderbilt Thyroid Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, says suitably treated hypothyroidism and other thyroid diseases shouldn’t result in weight gain, fatigue, or other common thyroid dysfunction symptoms. But lifestyle changes are just for fundamental good health, not a replacement for treatment, Dr. Parks concludes.
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By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Wellness
Overall health and wellness are essential towards maintaining the proper mental and physical balance in the body. From eating a balanced nutrition as well as exercising and participating in physical activities, to sleeping a healthy amount of time on a regular basis, following the best health and wellness tips can ultimately help maintain overall well-being. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can go a long way towards helping people become healthy.