Your thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which governs an incredibly complex network of hormones and other chemical transmitters. Located under your Adam’s apple, this butterfly-shaped organ sends a constant flood of thyroid hormones throughout your body. Thyroid hormones control metabolism and the overall timing of your body functions, so everything from bone development to mood can fluctuate based on your thyroid health.
Your thyroid needs balanced levels of iodine, selenium, and zinc to function effectively. Antioxidants also help your thyroid system maintain and balance itself, which means that a diet with plenty of essential nutrients and antioxidants supports ideal thyroid health.
Some people resort to full thyroid removal to escape the disharmony an overactive (hyperthyroid) or under-active (hypothyroid) thyroid gland can bring. With the following five foods, however, you can gently give your thyroid what it needs to balance itself and bring your entire body into a state of Wa.
Nori seaweed is commonly used as a wrap for sushi, and it contains lots of naturally-occurring iodine, which can stabilise immune function.
Brazil nuts contain selenium, which helps thyroid hormones operate throughout your body. Selenium is also a powerful antioxidant that helps your entire system function effectively.
You might be surprised to learn that cacao beans contain high concentrations of zinc, an essential nutrient for thyroid function. By skipping the milk, sugar, and other ingredients present in even the darkest “normal” chocolate, 100%-cacao chocolate delivers the most nutrients with the least calories.
Taking antioxidants helps with thyroid function, and goji berries pack more oxidation-fighting power than practically any other berry. All berries are rich in antioxidants, however, so feel free to substitute with blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.
This red seaweed is native to the North Atlantic, and it has plenty of iodine. Some research suggests that dulse is even more beneficial than nori.
Nori contains lots of iodine, which your thyroid gland needs to make hormones. Taking iodine in supplements can damage your thyroid gland, but consuming this mineral in nori is a healthy way to boost your thyroid function naturally. Iodine in nori balances your thyroid whether it’s functioning normally, you’re hyperthyroid or hypothyroid.
In sheets, nori is a delicious snack you can enjoy as an alternative to chips or crackers. You can also make elaborate sushi rolls with nori—packed in a traditional Japanese bento box, you can take your nori rolls with you to work.
People take iodine supplements all the time, but they have no idea that a safer, healthier alternative is at their fingertips. Stimulate your thyroid naturally with nori seaweed, one of the world’s best natural iodine sources.
Go the traditional route by using nori as a wrap for homemade sushi rolls. It’s okay if they don’t taste exactly like the California rolls you buy at the store—the ingredients you choose are probably healthier, anyway.
Brazil nuts contain lots of selenium, which serves as a thyroid hormone activator in the body. Without an adequate ratio of selenium to iodine, your thyroid won’t be able to regulate itself effectively, so it’s a great idea to snack on some Brazil nuts with your sheets of nori.
You can mix Brazil nuts with dried fruit and other nuts to make trail mix, or you can enjoy these tree nuts on their own. Brazil nuts are usually available in raw and dry roasted varieties.
Due to their high fat content, people think that nuts aren’t healthy. Skip the dehydrating sodium, however, and Brazil nuts become great sources of healthy fats and essential nutrients like selenium.
Add a bowl of Brazil nuts to the table the next time you have guests over. Make sure to tell everyone about their high selenium content!
Cacao beans are a great source of zinc, which your thyroid gland needs to function effectively. With everything removed aside from the cacao, chocolate becomes a zinc-delivering powerhouse you can enjoy anytime.
If the strong taste of pure chocolate is overwhelming, consider pairing your cacao with a natural sweetener like raw honey.
When you strip chocolate of all the sugars that make it unhealthy, you’re left with a simple, nutritious substance that delivers plenty of dietary zinc. You shouldn’t be afraid to snack on chocolate if it’s 100%-cacao.
Enjoy a few chunks of chocolate with a handful of antioxidant goji berries to maximise the thyroid benefits cacao offers.
Goji berries are excellent sources of vitamin C and other antioxidants. Since your thyroid system is so delicate, it’s highly susceptible to oxidative stress. Snacking on some delicious, dried goji berries can give your thyroid what it needs to balance your metabolism and keep your body in sync.
These antioxidant fruits pair well with other berries. Goji berries are almost always offered dried, they’re one of the more portable foods you can eat to improve your thyroid health
While all berries contain antioxidants, goji berries pack the most nutritional benefits with the least calories. Since these berries are usually dried, they last longer than strawberries, raspberries, or other fresh berries.
The tangy sweetness of goji berries can accentuate savoury dishes. Don’t be afraid to add a few as garnish the next time you have friends over for dinner.
While dulse is high in iodine like nori, it also contains kainic acid, vitamin K, and a variety of other rare nutrients. This type of seaweed has benefits above and beyond nori, and its taste profile is also quite different. Dulse’s thyroid benefits are mainly provided by its iodine content.
Dulse is usually consumed in flakes that you can add to savoury meals. This type of seaweed tastes somewhat similar to nori, but its reddish colour provides distinctiveness.
Forger under-appreciated—dulse is practically unheard-of. Next to its famous Japanese cousin, this Irish weed is decidedly forlorn when it comes to international attention. Regardless, dulse deserves just as much acclaim as nori when it comes to nutritional benefits and iodine content.
Try sprinkling dulse flakes on top of your next noodle dish. Whether it’s Italian, Chinese, or Thai, adding dulse will provide a much-needed boost of iodine and other beneficial nutrients.