Home remedies for thyroid address the root cause of the disorder
The simplest remedies include eating selenium-rich foods and probiotics
Meditate and exercise manage stress and other symptoms such as fatigue
Data from 2017 reveals that every third Indian’s life is affected by some kind of thyroid disorder. This means that one in three Indians’ thyroid gland either over-produces or under-produces hormones. In our country, the latter—known as hypothyroidism—is most common.
When hypothyroidism goes untreated, over time it gives rise to problems such as fatigue, swelling in joints and muscles, menstrual irregularities, poor kidney function, digestive issues, nerve injuries, heart problems, infertility, pregnancy complications and in dire circumstances, even death. This is why it is important to consult with a doctor and follow the treatment prescribed to you to keep thyroid problems under control.
Typically, a doctor will order blood tests to determine the nature of your thyroid problem. Through the blood work, he/she will be able to determine whether or not your thyroid gland is functioning optimally, and the level of thyroid hormone in your body. Once the doctor determines whether you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, he/she will prescribe medication that stops your thyroid gland from over-producing hormones or medication that acts as a thyroid hormone top-up. Only in rare circumstances, such as when a patient is pregnant and can’t take oral medication, but poses the risk of serious complications, surgery may be advised.
In addition to medication, you can also try home remedies for thyroid. This approach allows you to sidestep the side effects that may come with thyroid medication. Also, in many cases home remedies address poor nutrition and stress, both of which can augment thyroid problems.
Also Read: A complete guide to Thyroid
As per research, selenium impacts thyroid hormone metabolism to a great degree. Therefore, adding foods that are rich in selenium to your diet is a wonderful natural thyroid remedy. This is especially important if you suffer from Hashimoto’s disease, wherein your immune system attacks the thyroid gland, and impacts your body’s selenium levels. Eating eggs is the simplest way to add selenium to your diet, but you can also incorporate chicken, shellfish, brown rice, mushrooms, oatmeal, cashews and spinach.
Studies indicate that probiotics play a key role in improving thyroid function, especially if you suffer from hypothyroidism. Your gut contains large amounts of thyroid hormone, and good gut bacteria help convert the T3 thyroid hormone into T4. How is this beneficial? It is because a lack of T4 hormone is associated with hypothyroidism. Therefore, adding probiotics to your diet is an excellent natural thyroid remedy. You can add probiotics to your diet by eating yogurt or kefir (a fermented milk drink), or by consuming bottled probiotic drinks. However, beware of the sugar that packaged drinks add to your diet.
Also known as Indian ginseng, ashwagandha is a natural thyroid remedy worth considering as it is an adaptogen that helps your body manage stress. A study showed that consuming ashwagandha root benefitted patients suffering from hypothyroidism, when they consumed it in doses of 600mg/day for 8 weeks. Other research indicates that ashwagandha reduces cortisol, and in turn boosts thyroid hormone levels in your body. While hyperthyroidism patients should most certainly stay away from ashwagandha, as a hypothyroidism patient you can consider taking this off-the-counter supplement. But, it’s best to do so only after you consult with a doctor who will recommend the right dosage for you.
Stress alone doesn’t cause the onset of thyroid, but it certainly is one of the triggers that can worsen it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try to manage stress yourself. You can consider meditating or diffusing essential oils to relax. Additionally, incorporate exercise into your routine, more specifically, low-impact exercises. This is because thyroid can cause swelling in your joints and muscles, and low-impact exercises won’t aggravate your pain.
Experts are of the opinion that regular exercise can not only help you counter weight gain, a common thyroid by-product, but also keep other symptoms such as sluggishness and body pain at bay. In fact, exercise will also help you address stress, so consider walking or practicing yoga for 20 minutes, a few times a week.
While home remedies can certainly help you manage your thyroid and alleviate associated symptoms that cause discomfort, don’t rely on home remedies to cure thyroid. Home remedies are best implemented in conjunction with advice and treatment from a qualified doctor.
Also, when trying home remedies, pace yourself. Start slow and add a remedy to your routine every few weeks. This will not only help you understand if a particular remedy is showing results or not, but it will also ensure that you’re not overwhelmed. This is key because if you take on too much at once, you may find it difficult to sustain your efforts in the long run.
A study in 2014 found that inland cities in India have more hypothyroidism cases than coastal cities. Therefore, if you reside in any city that isn’t along the coast, or have an immediate family member who suffers from thyroid problems, consult with a doctor regularly. This will help catch the disorder on time, and ensure that your condition isn’t worsening.
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