In the United States alone, close to 20 million people are suffering from some form of thyroid disease. 12% of the entire population would develop some form of a thyroid issue in their lifetimes. There are many factors that determine the chances of contracting an imbalance of the thyroid, but what is surprising is that much can be done if you can switch to a plant-based diet…
Who Are At Risk Of Thyroid Issues?
The thyroid disease manifests itself in those that have either an excess or a lack of thyroid hormones, called hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively. The female population is 5-8 times more likely to contract thyroid issues in their lifetimes compared to men. This could be because of the unique hormonal changes that they experience during the stages of pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Both men and women are at a higher risk if they do any of the following:
- Have a family history of thyroid diseases
- They have other forms of autoimmune disease
- The lack of nutrients such as vitamin D, zinc, selenium and iodine in their diet.
- Chronic smoking
- They suffer from disorders of the pituitary glands, which help to regulate the release of thyroid hormones.
All or any of these factors can throw the delicate balance of thyroid hormones in the system, off its center and that can lead to symptoms like mood disorders, weight gain or loss, changes in temperature sensitivity, tiredness and hair loss.
How A Plant-Based Diet Can Help Your Thyroid?
The thyroid gland plays the role of regulating many of the major bodily function, such as:
- Bone density
- Hormonal balance
- Hair and skin health
Diet plays a key role in supporting the above processes, with several researchers and studies agreeing to the fact that there was a 50% less prevalence of hypothyroidism for those following a vegan diet compared to those who enjoyed an omnivorous diet. Pescatarians and Lacto-ovo vegetarians have some form of protection.
Zinc and selenium are key players when it comes to thyroid health. Eat whole grains, mushrooms, nuts and seeds as they are all rich in zinc and selenium.
Vitamin D can be obtained by getting sunlight. If you live in a place that doesn’t have much sunlight, then you can have vitamin D supplements/capsules.
Have plant-based foods such as sea vegetables like dulse, wakame, arame and nori that are iodine-rich. Bananas, peanuts, avocado, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole soy foods and wild rice all help to get your nutrients levels up to the mark.