When was the last time you gave your thyroid some one-on-one attention?

If you said “too long,” it’s time to show it some love. Your thyroid can wreak havoc on your body when it’s not working correctly, leaving you with fatigue, weight gain, low mood, and other unpleasant symptoms. 

To help you out, we’ve pulled together four steps you can start today to give your thyroid the love and attention it deserves.

1. Thyroid-Friendly Diets

You may have noticed that changing your diet is one of the most common suggestions for improving thyroid health. Unfortunately, that’s all the recommendations we have in common. The number of lists with foods to avoid, diets to follow, and supplements to take can be confusing and overwhelming. 

Interestingly, when you start to dig into diet recommendations, one piece connects even the most opposite diets (like paleo and vegan). And that is iodine. Many of the popular diets cut out highly-processed foods and, by doing so, significantly reduce their iodine intake. 

The Thyroid Reset Diet by Dr. Christianson talks about new research that shows the connection between thyroid disease and consuming large amounts of iodine. By reducing sources of iodine, many people experience a reduction in their thyroid disease symptoms. High levels of iodine can be found in many foods, such as eggs (specifically the yolk), milk, commercial bread, seafood, and hard candy. 

While some people find success with diets, many find them restrictive and even damaging. Cutting out entire food groups can lead to deficiencies in some areas and overconsumption in others. Instead, keep your diet healthy and balanced, with foods from various categories, and switch up the foods within those groups. Then be deliberate about your overall iodine intake.  

Lastly, we’ll get into supplements. It’s no secret that vitamins and nutrients are essential for your body – and your thyroid – to function correctly. Selenium, Iodine, Zinc, Iron, and B Vitamins are just some of the important ones, so adding a few of those to your daily vitamins may seem logical. But there’s more to supplements than just grabbing a few off the shelf. 

The wrong amount of some nutrients can make thyroid issues worse, so determining what you need is a crucial first step. In addition to this, there’s only one brand of supplements on the market that is custom-manufactured to reverse common thyroid problems – Thyroid Specific Formulations or TSF. 

When it comes to finding the healthiest diet for your specific needs, the best option is to talk to your Integrative Health Doctor. They will get you more information about these clinically-proven supplements and help you find the best diet for your thyroid health.

2. Limit Exposure to Harmful Toxins

We all know that toxins aren’t great, but did you know that limiting your exposure to them can improve your thyroid health? Every day you encounter toxins like heavy metals, pesticides, BPA’s, PFC’s, and fluoride. You can find them in food and other household items, so a little awareness goes a long way in reducing your contact with them. 

Let’s start with heavy metals, including:

  • Lead
  • Aluminum
  • Mercury
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium

Exposure to heavy metals can come through our diet or the surface of our skin, and it’s impossible to avoid them entirely. Because of this, millions of people are thought to have heavy metal toxicity, but there are a few simple changes you can make that will help. 

Start by checking your cosmetics and replacing your deodorants, antiperspirants, and cosmetics with aluminum-free versions. Tap water is another to watch out for, and getting a water filter for your faucets can help. Also, be aware of your food and don’t overdo it with any category. Seafood, for example, is a source of heavy metals, so limiting your intake and balancing it with other healthy foods can reduce the risks. Other sources of heavy metal exposure include:

  • Hair Dyes
  • Mushrooms
  • Cigarette Smoke
  • Air Pollution
  • Fertilizers
  • PVC products
  • Spices

Next come herbicides and pesticides. These chemicals are used in industrial farming, making them difficult to avoid. In addition to produce, you can be exposed through other foods such as peanuts, coffee, and animal fats. However, you can drastically reduce your exposure by choosing organic foods when possible, thoroughly washing your fruit and vegetables, and choosing lean meats. 

Plastic compounds, such as BPAs and PFCs, are toxins that probably sound familiar. You can find BPAs in plastic, such as food containers, water bottles, and hygiene products. You can also find it in epoxy resins used to coat the inside of some food cans and bottle tops. PFCs are used to make products that resist heat, stains, and water. Examples include takeout containers, clothing, furniture, and non-stick surfaces. Minimizing your use of plastics is a great way to decrease exposure to these. An easy step you can take is switching to glass food containers, especially for use in the microwave.

By being aware of common toxins such as these, you can intentionally reduce your contact with them in the future. But what about those you’ve already been exposed to? Screening for toxins is an excellent tool for your health. With the guidance of your doctor, you can safely remove toxins and heavy metals from your body. This can improve your mood and energy levels, reduce brain fog, boost your metabolism, and allow your body to heal more effectively.

3. Adjust Your Lifestyle

You’ve been hearing all your life that exercise is essential for your health, and this applies to thyroid health as well. In Dr. Christianson’s article “What is the Best Exercise for Thyroid Disease?” he recommends four types of exercise – endurance, strength, burst, and flexibility. Getting a balanced mix of all four maximizes their health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at how balanced exercise can improve your thyroid health.

First, we’ve got endurance training, also called aerobic or cardio exercise. As the name suggests, the benefits of this type of exercise start in your cardiovascular system. Any activity that increases your heart and breathing rates qualify, but here are a few examples:

  • Power Walking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Bike Riding
  • Jump Rope
  • Organized Sports
  • Hiking

And the list goes on. Just 20 minutes per day can help lower blood pressure, control your blood sugar, and decrease your risk of heart disease. Along with those benefits, cardio exercises help with weight loss and improve your mood.

The second is burst and interval training, also called HIIT. You can use this exercise style with many of the endurance exercises mentioned above. However, instead of picking a steady pace that you can maintain for more extended periods of time, you’ll use short intervals – or bursts. After a brief warm-up, exert yourself as hard as you can for 30-60 seconds, then slow down for 1-3 minutes until your heart rate lowers.

Burst training boosts your metabolism, builds muscle, and burns fat much faster than endurance training. Remember that 20 minutes per day of cardio we mentioned above? You can reach the same fat-burning potential with only four minutes of burst training. This is because the rest intervals allow your cortisol levels to lower, and elevated cortisol levels can prevent fat burning.

Third, we have strength training, also called resistance training or weightlifting. These terms may bring bodybuilding or other intensive programs to mind, but the truth is much less extreme. This form of exercise is all about building muscle using resistance. While lifting weights is one method of strength training, other examples include:

  • Exercise Bands
  • Exercise Machines
  • Medicine Balls
  • Bodyweight Exercises (pushups, squats, situps, etc.)

Strength training builds muscle mass which boosts your metabolism and improves insulin sensitivity. Because insulin resistance and thyroid disease are closely connected, improving insulin sensitivity is a natural way to treat thyroid disease.

Last, we’ll talk about flexibility and balance training, which include exercises like:

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Pilates
  • Stretching

These exercises improve range of motion, lengthen muscles, and reduce stress and anxiety. You can find yoga exercises for any skill level, so don’t be intimidated by visions of extreme flexibility and balance. You can even find yoga exercises specific to thyroid patients, focusing on strengthening the neck, stimulating the throat, and reducing stress. 

A balanced exercise routine can improve your energy levels, ease your joint pain, relieve symptoms of depression, and contribute to weight loss. For best results, take it slow. Start with low-impact, light-intensity exercises, and don’t push yourself too hard or risk injury. And it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor to help you find activities that are a good fit for your individual health needs.

4. Schedule Regular Checkups

Finally, take the time to consult with a trusted doctor about your thyroid health. They will monitor your thyroid function and find the best treatment for your situation. Regular checkups ensure that your current health plan is working to keep you as healthy as possible.

Integrative Healthcare is ready to listen to your experience and answer any questions you may have. Together, you’ll create a personalized approach to your health and well-being and find the best options to improve your thyroid health.

P.S. Whenever you are ready, here is how I can help you now:

1. Schedule a complimentary consultation with one of my team of naturopathic doctors. This is a great starting point for assessing your unique health needs and treatment options.
2. Need A Thyroid Supplement Recommendation? Take My Thyroid Specific Formulations Quiz Now
3. Need a Personalized Supplement? Check out My Thyroid Specific Formulations
4. Download and use my Favorite Recipes Cookbook Here
5. Check out my podcast Medical Myths, Legends, and Fairytales Here

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet, The Metabolism Reset Diet and The Thyroid Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.