Thyroid, the master gland of metabolism, is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the center of the neck. The hormones produced by this gland play a vital role in energy use, regulating metabolism, growth and balancing other hormones. This gland changes with age, life situations, lifestyle, eating habits, exercise, stress levels, etc. We can harm or heal ourselves with simple and easy changes, below are few practices discussed to enhance thyroid health:
1) Thyroid gland needs Iodine
Iodine is a mineral which is found in some foods, our body needs it for making thyroid hormones. This was the main reason why iodized salt was declared mandatory for all to protect them from thyroid and goiters, especially people who live in non-coastal areas. Apart from salt one can include seafood like fish, shrimps, eggs, prunes, dairy products, food products made from grains.
2) Go Nuts!
Selenium is a mineral found in certain foods that acts as an antioxidant for the body. It yields great importance to the thyroid gland as it helps to convert the thyroid hormone T4 to T3. Selenium also protects the gland from oxidative stress. Nuts have great selenium content. Brazil nuts can be taken for this purpose, 1 ounce of them contains 544 mcg of the important element.
3) Say No to Goitrogens
Goitrogens are substances that disturb the functioning and production of thyroid hormones. They interfere with the iodine usage by the thyroid gland. They should not be taken in huge quantities or regularly for the sake of thyroid health, like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts, etc.
4) Avoid exposure to toxic metals
Cadmium, mercury, lead are toxic metals that can alter thyroid hormone metabolism when consumed. Eat home-cooked nutritious food, pay attention to the local fish that you buy as they can have high mercury levels sometimes, stay away from dust and dirt, wear protective clothing and masks around areas of heavy metalwork.
5) Relax, meditate, breathe
As we know thyroid hormones regulate our body’s weight, patients with low levels of them tend to gain weight and high levels of hormones can lead to weight loss. In any case, one should always spend a good time working out in the gym or by self. Few yoga asanas and pranayamas (breathing exercises) assist in the proper functioning of thyroid, like ustrasana (camel pose), halasana (plough pose), bhujangasana (cobra pose), Sarvangasana (shoulder pose), matsyasana (fish pose) along with anulom vilom, brahmari and kapal bhati pranayama.