If you have a thyroid disease such as parathyroid, hyperthyroid, hypothyroidism, or under active thyroid, you need to make sure your diet and physical activity are beneficial in treating your disease. While most thyroid problems can be treated after they are properly diagnosed, your diet and exercise can also make a difference.
Common Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid gland produces hormones that influence almost all of the metabolic processes in your body. Thyroid disorders can range from mild to extreme health threats. The most common thyroid problems are caused by abnormal production of thyroid hormones. While too much hormone production causes hyperthyroidism, not enough hormone production can cause hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders
You might not even be aware if you have a thyroid problem. Diagnosing thyroid problems early can help with treatment, and determine your diet and exercise needs.
If your thyroid problem is diagnosed early, your health care provider can suggest medical treatments as well as a proper diet and exercise routine to help your thyroid function. If you have any of the following symptoms, ask your health care provider about potential thyroid problems:
- hair loss
- excessively dry or moist skin
- palpitations or tremors
- muscle cramps
- increased appetite without weight gain
- abnormal menstrual cycles
- infertility or miscarriages
- high cholesterol
- protruding eyes
- memory loss
- irritability or restlessness
Diet Tips for Thyroid Disorders
Everyone should try to eat a balanced diet of nutritional foods from the basic food groups: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, beans, and essential fats. However, if you have thyroid problems, certain foods within those groups should be avoided.
Two categories of foods have been associated with irregular thyroid hormone production. The first category is soybean-related foods. The second category is cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and turnips. Some other foods can also interfere with proper function of the thyroid gland. These foods include peaches, strawberries, peanuts, radishes, tofu, and spinach. These foods should not be included in your diet if you have thyroid disease. If you have hypothyroidism, you should also avoid iodine-containing foods including red food dyes, and iodine in dairy products, shellfish, multivitamins, and metabolic boosters.
Exercise for Thyroid Problems
While regular exercise is important for most people, it is especially beneficial for people who have thyroid disorders. Early diagnosis and weight loss programs are also important for hypothyroid patients who are overweight. People who don't realize they have hypothyroid disease could risk gaining more and more weight over time. Lifestyle changes might be necessary to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Health care providers can recommend specific exercise routines for thyroid patients. It is important that people who have thyroid problems maintain a healthy body weight, and this will require regular exercise. Regular physical activity will also help relieve some of the symptoms of thyroid problems, by providing more energy and decreasing stress levels.