You may have experienced this common scenario: You’ve been feeling a little sluggish lately, like you can’t really get going all day. You’ve also put on a few pounds. At first, you figured it’s just because you’re a little older. However, you are also noticing mood changes. You’re a little more anxious, and you just don’t feel as happy as you did a few years ago.
You finally decide it’s time to mention it to your doctor. He decides to check your thyroid, and you’re a little relieved to think that all of your symptoms could have at their root one “simple” problem. However, when the tests finally come back, your doctor tells you that everything is normal, and then suggests diet and exercise, and perhaps an antidepressant to help your mood.
If this sounds all-too-familiar (and frustrating), take heart. Your thyroid, even though it tested normal, may still be the culprit behind your symptoms. The good news is that there are some very simple things you can do (and not do) to make your thyroid function optimally and thus improve your quality of life.
The Sabotaging 6
Like a group of gangsters, certain toxins seek to disrupt your thyroid. While it may be functioning within normal limits, your thyroid may not be functioning optimally. Here are six of the worst offenders.
You may already know that the “soy is healthy” craze of several years ago has met with some opposition – and with good reason. Soy prevents your body from using iodine – a mineral that is converted into thyroid hormone. It also disrupts the conversion of T4 to T3 (active thyroid hormone).
In addition, soy products are genetically modified, and therefore toxic to your endocrine system.
2. Commercially-Prepared Baked Goods
As if you need another reason to avoid processed foods, right? Well, commercially-prepared baked goods (and some flours) often contain a substance called potassium bromate, a dough conditioner. This substance belongs to the bromide family. What’s so bad about that?
Bromides compete with your thyroid to capture iodine which, as you know, is essential for thyroid function. So skip the packaged pastries and breads, and opt for whole-grains that are prepared fresh.
3. Non-Organic Fruits and Vegetables
Bromide is once again the culprit. The pesticides used on many fruits and vegetables (in particular California-grown strawberries) contain this thyroid disruptor.
Reach for locally-grown organic produce that does not contain any pesticides and notice the difference – both in taste and in how you feel!
Plastic is pretty much everywhere you look. Phthalates and BPA are common components of plastic, and both reduce thyroid function. While you may not have the option to live in a plastic-free world, you can limit your exposure. Buy liquids in glass jars whenever possible, and never heat your food in plastic containers, since they will leach these harmful substances more rapidly.
5. Antibacterial Products
These soaps, sanitizers, and cleaning products are virtually everywhere. At first glance, “anti-bacterial” seems to be a good thing. After all, bacteria lead to disease and sickness, right?
While that’s true, balance is needed. Not all bacteria are bad, and your immune system needs some exposure to bacteria in order to remain healthy.
When it comes to anti-bacterial products, we have a case of too much of a good thing. In small doses, they are appropriate. However, anti-bacterial soaps and other products contain a substance called triclosan. This is an endocrine disruptor that impairs your thyroid function as well as affects hormones such as estrogen.
Anti-bacterials have their place, but in most instances good ol’ fashioned soap and water will do just fine.
6. Heavy Metals
Because of poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress, your body may not be able to eliminate metals such as aluminum, mercury, and lead. This is not necessarily lethal since they are present in small quantities. However, the buildup of these minerals competes with other minerals that your body needs. This leads to inflammation and, sometimes, autoimmune disorders that lead your body to attack the thyroid.
Drinking only filtered, pure water, avoiding processed foods, eating plenty of green foods, and getting regular exercise will help your body to properly eliminate toxic metals and keep your thyroid healthy.