The thyroid is a critical gland in our bodies which produces iodine containing hormones which regulate your metabolism (see HERE). If you thyroid is not functioning properly and it is making too little hormone, you are suffering from a condition known as hypothyroidism. This conditions results in wide range of symptoms which, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, can include:
- sensitivity to cold
- heavy menstrual periods
- joint pain
- brittle hair
- dry skin which thickens
- weight gain
And none of these is a good thing. Soy is particularly troubling since it is not only suppresses the thyroid's ability to manufacture natural hormones but since it also inhibits the body's ability to absorb thyroid medication, increasing your need for it (see HERE). Reducing the soy in your diet is critical to having a healthy body. While I am not a medical professional, nor do I have an advanced degree in nutrition science, Dr. Kaylaa Daniel, PhD does. She has a brilliant article on the Weston A. Price Foundation website titled "Wise Thyroid" detailing how your thyroid works and what you can do to support it, find it HERE.
The number one thing you can do is to take charge of your diet. It is true that most doctors will recommend that you simply take the medication provided by your doctor and not worry much about diet, but the truth is that there are some foods which increase your need for iodine and which will suppress the activity of your thyroid. These foods are known as goitrogens. In order to have an optimally functioning thyroid, it makes sense to avoid foods which suppress its function. So what foods are goitrogenic? (source1, source2)
- brussel sprouts
- cassava root (the source for tapioca)
- sweet potatoes
- lima beans
To decrease your risks and improve your thyroid function, do not eat large quantities of goitrogenic foods raw. Small amounts of properly fermented sauerkraut as a condiment is appropriate but using raw cabbage leaves as a low-carb sandwich wrap is definitely not. An important thing to note is that while cooking your goitrogenic vegetables does decrease the amount of goitrogenic compounds, it does not eliminate them entirely. The effect this has on susceptible people is very difficult to understand. Chris Masterjohn, a brilliant researcher, has contributed a tremendous amount of helpful (though complicated) material for the Weston A. Price Foundation while working on his PhD. He has an excellent article discussing this and the role of goitrogenic foods, cooked and uncooked, in various thyroid conditions. It is definitely a must read for those with thyroid conditions; it can be read HERE.
Understanding the complicated role that soy, specifically, and diet, generally, play in thyroid disease can be critical for those who suffer from conditions considered beyond their control such as Hashimoto's Disease, an autoimmune disease which attacks the thyroid, read more about it HERE. For those battling thyroid conditions, consider visiting the Holistic Health blog run by Liz Schau, found HERE. Schau was able to cure her supposedly incurable Hashimoto's Disease with diet. Because it is a fun peak, you might also want to check out her kitchen tour on Cheeseslave's site, HERE. There are also links there to specific articles of Schau's concerning her healing.
Linking up to Fat Tuesday!