Graves’ disease, hypothyroidism, and other thyroid disorders can affect every aspect of your life. It is estimated that one in 13 million Americans and 200 million people worldwide have some form of thyroid disease. More than half are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.
The increased incidence of thyroid dysfunction can be linked to poor nutrition, stress, toxicity, and hormonal imbalances. Medications are not always the answer. Some drugs can worsen your condition and even trigger new symptoms.
More and more people with thyroid disorders are seeking alternative treatment options. Holistic medicine focuses on the underlying causes of thyroid disease rather than simply treating its symptoms. Regular exercise, meditation, acupuncture, and dietary changes can improve your health and speed up healing.
Here are some of the best holistic approaches to reduce your symptoms and heal your thyroid:
Change Your Eating Habits
Nutrition plays a major role in thyroid health. Certain nutrients, such as iodine and zinc, are required for the optimal functioning of your thyroid gland. Ideally, your diet should be rich in essential fatty acids, protein, magnesium, selenium, iron, B-complex vitamins, and dietary fiber. Get your daily nutrients from whole, natural foods.
Eliminate soy, sugar, and heavily processed foods from your diet. Soy suppresses thyroid function, raises estrogen levels, and causes hormonal imbalances. At the same, it’s important to minimize dietary goitrogens. These natural compounds have been shown to cause an enlargement of the thyroid gland and act like anti-thyroid drugs. They also reduce the body’s ability to use iodine, which in turn slows down your thyroid. Common goitrogenic foods include cruciferous vegetables, kale, cassava, watercress, turnips, red radish, spinach, peanuts, peaches, mustard, and collard greens. However, eating cooked versions of cruciferous vegetable is fine because it reduces the goitrogenic compounds.
The health benefits of meditation are backed up by science. This ancient practice calms your body and mind, relieves stress, and promotes healing. Stress is a major contributing factor to thyroid disorders; meditation can reduce its impact and boost thyroid health. When combined with yoga and other mind-body therapies, its benefits are even greater. Meditation not only fights stress, but also lifts your mood, increases energy, eases pain, and lowers anxiety levels.
Just like meditation, yoga improves your body’s ability to heal itself. Certain asanas, such as the cat stretch, plow pose, fish pose, inverted pose, and shoulder stand, promote thyroid health. These movements stimulate the thyroid, pineal, and pituitary glands, leading to better overall health. The child pose, bridge pose, and corpse pose are particularly beneficial for people with hyperthyroidism. Yoga also lowers stress levels and improves sleep, which aids in the healing process.
This centuries-old therapy can help you fight depression, weight gain, infertility, exhaustion, fatigue, muscle pain, and other symptoms associated with thyroid disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are perceived as a Yin/Yang imbalance. Acupuncture helps balance an individual’s Yin and Yang, stimulates thyroid function, and decreases stress. The therapist may also recommend natural remedies that boost thyroid function, such as Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan, Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, Cornus, and Dioscorea. Weekly acupuncture treatments can restore your hormonal balance and energy levels. This therapy can be used in conjunction with traditional thyroid treatments to maximize their efficiency.
As you can see, there are many alternative options to help heal your body. Start doing some research and experiment with different approaches that resonate with your lifestyle. But don’t be afraid to try something new – you won’t know if you like until you try it!