As the most powerful gland in the body, it is important to keep the thyroid happy. The prevalence of thyroid related health issues are on the increase. Whether you have been diagnosed with a thyroid problem or simply suspect something isn’t “right” about the way you are feeling, perhaps you would consider following these easy suggestions to improve your overall health and support your thyroid at the same time.
1. Filter your drinking water. The vast majority of municipal drinking water systems are treated with chlorine to disinfect the water. Chlorine is a harmful halogen that is damaging to the body and to the thyroid in particular. At a minimum, use a carbon filter on your drinking and ice maker water to remove chlorine. A two-stage filter is even better, although reverse osmosis and water softeners are not recommended. Use the filtered water for cooking as well. You can test your water for chlorine levels using a simple pool chemical test kit. I was amazed at the before and after results on my water. Remember to change the filters regularly or you could be doing more harm than good.
2. Rinse your skin after swimming. Chlorine is also used in high concentrations in most swimming pools. Chlorine is passed through the skin and into the body, so be sure to rinse off after getting out of the pool. Ideally, your shower water is also chlorine free, which can be accomplished by installing a filter on the showerhead.
3. Avoid fluoride in water, toothpaste and vitamins. Fluoride is another toxic halogen. Contrary to popular belief, it is not helpful to teeth and is harmful to the thyroid. Filtering your drinking water is a good start. Choose toothpaste that is “Fluoride Free” and be sure your vitamins do not contain fluoride, especially vitamins for children.
4. Avoid breads and baked goods that contain bromide. The third toxic halogen is bromide. Many commercial bread manufacturers use bromide as a dough conditioner. Carefully check the labels on all of the baked items you purchase to ensure bromide is not listed. Look carefully, sometimes the word is disguised as a long chemical name, but your will recognize the word bromide or bromine in the label.
5. Avoid beverages with bromide. Some sodas and sports drinks also contain bromide – especially those with a citrus flavor. I recommend avoiding all soft drinks.
6. Limit soy in your diet. Soy is not the wonder food some people would like us to believe. Many doctors including, Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Earl Mindell, suggest eating large amounts of soy is harmful to the thyroid and can exacerbate hypothyroidism symptoms.
7. Choose your salt wisely. The best source of iodine in salt is from unrefined sea salt. Iodized table salt is a poor substitute as it undergoes several chemical processes and the iodine evaporates from the salt when exposed to air in a few weeks. Kelp flakes are another option to use to flavor your food and supply a good source of iodine.
8. Eat more sea vegetables and products from the sea. Kelp, seaweed and many types of ocean fish are an excellent source of iodine.
9. Avoid eating too many cruciferous vegetables. Finally a reason why you don’t have to eat those Brussels sprouts. Too many cruciferous vegetables can inhibit the production of thyroid hormones, however cooking them for at least 30 minutes reduces the potential harmful effects to the thyroid.
10. Consider taking iodine and other thyroid supporting supplements. The benefits of iodine are tremendous and severely lacking in our diets. This topic will be discussed in much greater length in future articles.
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