Thyroid problems include hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism amongst others and can cause symptoms such as increased allergies, skin problems, fatigue, nervousness, gastrointestinal problems, sleeping too much or too little, gaining or losing weight, swelling, and various types of pain. However, there are alternative therapies available for thyroid problems.
Nutrition for the Thyroid
Nutrition is one of the primary ways of managing thyroid problems. Some foods that depress thyroid activity include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, turnips, soy beans, and mustard greens. If you have an overactive thyroid, you should eat these foods but if it is underactive, they should be avoided. Also be sure to avoid refined foods, sugar, dairy products, wheat, caffeine, and alcohol.
Essential fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and they are also necessary for the production of hormones. Eating more foods rich in these acids such as oily fish or eating flaxseed oil is beneficial. Calcium and magnesium working together help metabolic processes to function correctly. The optimal ratio of calcium to magnesium is three parts calcium to one part magnesium.
Iodine is necessary but it is important not to get too much of it. Iodine can be obtained from iodised salt, sea vegetables, and fish. Selenium is also important for thyroid function as it helps to produce the T-4 hormone as well as helping to convert T-4 in to T-3 hormone, the active form. Zinc is needed before and after the production and conversion processes.
Herbal Medicine for the Thyroid
There are several herbs that are useful for managing thyroid problems. For hyperthyroidism, try the following:
- bugleweed and lemon balm – help to normalise an overactive thyroid
- motherwort – relieves heart palpitations
- passionflower – reduces anxiety
- quercetin – is anti-inflammatory
- gingko biloba
For hypothyroidism, try the following herbs:
- gotu kola
Physical Medicine for the Thyroid
If you suffer from a hyperthyroid condition, use icepacks to the throat in order to decrease inflammation. If you suffer from a hypothyroid condition, use contrast hydrotherapy. This is where you alternate hot and cold to the throat and neck. The correct ratio is three minutes of hot to one minute of cold, repeated three times and always finishing on cold. Exercise also helps to improve thyroid function.
Yoga for the Thyroid
Yoga is very suitable for people that are suffering from thyroid problems. The gentle stretching and breathing can be done by almost anyone, and the benefits include increased energy, reduction in stress, greater flexibility, reduction of muscle and joint stiffness, and much more. There is a specific pose that is thought to be very beneficial to the thyroid and it’s called the shoulder stand. To perform this pose, lie flat on your back, keep your legs together, and raise your legs so that they are at a right angle to your shoulders/neck and perpendicular to the floor. Tuck your chin into the chest, and rest the weight of the body on the shoulders and elbows, using your arms to support your hips. Practice this pose until you can hold it for two minutes.