The more dietary stress you put on yourself, the more likely you are to experience inflammation that can worsen your autoimmune reactions or interfere with your thyroid function. But that doesn't necessarily mean you need to eliminate everything from your diet! We recommend you remove the triggers and replace them with nutrients.
Add more goodness to your life!
Ahead, three ingredients that you can add to meals that you're already making. These ingredients are not hard to find, are not too expensive, and will supercharge your journey toward well-being.
Hemp seeds - sometimes called hemp hearts - are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Yes, this is the same species as cannabis (marijuana), but a different variety. No psychotropic effects here.
These small seeds do not contain THC, the active drug found in hemp leaf, just healthy fats, complete protein, and various minerals phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc.
Hemp seeds are rich in two essential fatty acids - omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid). Omega-3 fats provide cellular membrane integrity, which protects them from becoming damaged and enables your cells to communicate well with each other. This communication is crucial for healthy thyroid function.
Hemp seeds are also a complete protein source, meaning that they provide all the essential amino acids necessary in the human diet. Your body does not naturally produce these amino acids; you must get them from your diet. You get 10 grams of protein in just three tablespoons of hemp seeds. Protein-rich foods help you feel fuller longer and boost your immune system.
With a pleasant nutty flavor and soft texture, hemp seeds can be eaten raw, cooked, or roasted. Buy hulled or shelled hemp seeds for easier digestion and milder flavor. Conventionally grown hemp seeds are low in pesticides, so while organic is often better for you and the planet, conventionally grown hemp is still a highly nutritious option.
To use hemps seeds, you might add 1-2 tablespoons to your smoothie bowl or salads, add 1/4 cup to muffin or bread recipes, or blend with water for a protein-rich non-dairy milk.
Store your hemp seeds in the fridge or freezer to prevent essential fatty acids from going bad.
Kale is a hearty vegetable with a slightly earthy taste. It contains fiber, antioxidants, calcium (more than dairy, without all the mucous and inflammation!), vitamins C and K, iron, and more.
Your digestive system relates closely to your immune system. Research suggests that 70% of our immune system resides in the gut. We can strengthen our immune system with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, like kale. With loads of fiber and antioxidants, kale helps the body remove unwanted toxins from the digestive system. Kale is also a more absorbable source of calcium than dairy milk and has more iron per ounce than red meat!
Maybe you heard that you should avoid kale because it's a cruciferous vegetable. Yes, cruciferous vegetables are high in goitrogens, which many believe to block the intake of iodine in the thyroid gland. However, those whose diets contain adequate iodine can safely consume these vegetables in reasonable amounts, especially when cooked.
Buy organic greens whenever possible. Organic is especially important with kale's sister, spinach, which is on Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen.
To enjoy kale, you might add to smoothies, salads, or pasta sauce, bake at a low temperature for 15-30 minutes to make kale chips, or chop into fine strips and let wilt on top of soup or stew.
Surprise - chocolate made the list! Well, kind of.
Cacao is the raw form of cocoa. It is a bean that, when processed, becomes cocoa or chocolate. Processed chocolate can be full of refined sugars, artificial colors, and flavors that can negatively impact thyroid function. Cacao, in its raw form, however, is loaded with minerals like magnesium, copper, potassium, and calcium.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps our bodies by keeping our bones healthy, regulating blood pressure, calming the nervous system, and increasing energy. Magnesium is also critical for thyroid hormone T4 to convert to hormone T3.
Make sure your cacao is unsweetened and non-GMO.
To add cacao to your diet, you might add 2 teaspoons to any smoothie or pudding recipe, use unsweetened cacao powder in place of cocoa powder, or use cacao nibs in place of chocolate chips.
Add more dairy-free milk to thin. Add more cocoa powder for a richer chocolate flavor. Add more sweetener to increase sweetness. Top with fresh raspberries, or sliced banana and salted peanut butter.
Keep these ingredients in your kitchen to add lots of healthful goodness to the meals you already make and love.
When determining nutritional status for optimal thyroid health, we recommend that you work with a qualified professional to get personalized and appropriate care based on your symptoms and history.
Find inspiration for a healthy way to support your thyroid