There are many reasons why this disease is running rampant and has an affinity for the female persuasion.
I’m going to cover three of these reasons to help you NOT become a statistic.
Many female clients complain of being diagnosed with hypothyroid either during pregnancy or after having a baby. That’s because the baby takes most of the mother’s nutrition as it’s growing in utero.
The baby, dare I say, is a parasite! And, the organism hosting this cute little parasite is your physical body.
If the body is not getting enough nutrients it becomes deficient. Once the mother becomes deficient, the thyroid naturally slows the body down, to protect and sustain life. Your thyroid is very smart!
Nutritional deficiencies don’t just come from pregnancy, many people become deficient if they eschew fat for fear of gaining weight. This is also one of the reasons why more women than men are diagnosed with both thyroid disease and osteoporosis.
You’ll very rarely hear a man say, “I’ll have the steamed chicken with a salad, dressing on the side, please.” Nope! They want, “Steak with gravy, and put some extra butter on top of that potato.”
To create thyroid hormones (and our bones!), we need fat to support our ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, plus protein to develop the amino acids to build hormones.
Don’t be afraid to slather a little grass-fed butter (or gravy) onto your food. Butter from grass-fed animals is rich in vitamins A and D that helps support the endocrine system as a whole. Fat also helps us better absorb proteins due to the release of bile from the gallbladder, plus hydrochloric acid from the stomach that helps us break down our food.
Besides fat and protein, it’s wise to eat a whole foods diet that includes iodine-rich ocean foods like fish and sea vegetables. Iodine is an essential nutrient that nourishes the thyroid and controls metabolism.
Enjoy a piece of iodine-rich Pan-Seared Sole, sautéed in grass-fed butter and herbs, with a side of fresh vegetables and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. That ought to fulfill some of your thyroid’s nutritional needs.
Adrenal fatigue is another contributor to thyroid disease. The adrenals live on the endocrine system and they produce estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, cortisone, adrenaline, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
The adrenals are considered our human batteries. They are responsible for energy levels and endurance, and can help keep the body going and going and going… like that little Energizer Bunny from the television commercials in the 1980’s. Am I dating myself?
Eventually, those batteries will run out, especially if they’re not recharged.
I had a client that was suffering with thyroid disease plus she had a large goiter (an enlarged, swollen thyroid). She was a hard working small business owner and put in long days and nights, every day, including weekends.
She did NOT have a sufficient support team and did almost everything herself.
She told me that two years prior her diagnosis with thyroid disease, she was feeling completely drained, but the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her.
She said, “Even after eight hours of sleep I still feel groggy and wiped out. Like I can’t get my day started.” Her doctor recommended anti-depressants.
Her symptoms spoke volumes! She was suffering from adrenal fatigue that eventually led to being diagnosed with her thyroid condition years later.
If you have consistent days filled with lots of activities, without adequate rest and relaxation, you will become exhausted and the thyroid will naturally slow down (hypothyroid). The body cannot keep up with a “going, and going, and going” schedule. Unless of course, you have super adrenals that keep your body hyped up without slowing down, as is the case with hyperthyroid.
A great way to recharge your batteries would be to go for a massage, take regular breaks, set boundaries around work, and allow yourself chill-out time.
OVER-EXERCISING (yes, there is such a thing!)
A high level marketing executive had a job she loved that didn’t take up too much of her energy, BUT she was running 4-5x per week before getting into the office, plus she did a spin class 2x per week.
You would think with that amount of exercise she would have no problem with her weight, but she did. Suzanne had hypothyroid and could not lose that nagging twelve pounds that had been weighing her down. She was frustrated that she could implement the best marketing strategies to support her clients, but when it came to her own weight-loss strategies she was struggling.
After altering her diet, I encouraged her to consider STOP pushing herself so hard. I suggested that she run only one or two times per week, and incorporate daily walking and gentle Hatha Yoga classes into her routine.
She was extremely hesitant. Her greatest fear was if she stopped pushing herself so hard she would blow up like a balloon!
But, when she finally moved beyond her fears and let her body relax, she lost ten pounds the first month. She was shocked! She thought she had to starve herself and exercise her brains out to lose weight, but that wasn’t the truth. She just needed a more balanced approach to the way she was eating and exercising.
There are many ways to nourish your thyroid.
I understand it may be difficult to slow down because we think we have to keep up with the unnatural pace modern society has created. But, I’m going to suggest that we begin questioning that pace.
We are not superheroes. We are super for sure, but we do have some physical limitations.
Use your super-woman powers to make wise food choices, and to know when it’s time to rest and relax.
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Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.