The home remedies for hypothyroidism include certain dietary changes like avoiding the intake of goitrogens and including foods that contain iodine in your diet. Also, eating whole grains and drinking lots of water is recommended. Lifestyle modifications like losing weight, increasing physical activity, and monitoring cholesterol and blood pressure levels can also help give relief from the symptoms.
Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid or low thyroid, is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is located at the front of your neck and releases hormones that are essential for nearly every part of your body.
Treatment for hypothyroidism is for life, in the majority of the cases. With medicines becoming more effective and safer to use these days, living with hypothyroidism can be far simpler than in the past. To maintain your thyroid levels, keep up physical activity, take medications on time and in the correct dosages, and follow the home remedies described here.
Medical Treatments for Hypothyroidism
To treat hypothyroidism, you need drugs that boost your levels of thyroid hormones. This treatment, though not a cure, helps in getting relief from the symptoms that include weight gain, stress, fatigue, and mood swings.
Levothyroxine is the drug that is used in the treatment of hypothyroidism. This synthetic drug acts similarly to the thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland. When taken in right doses, you can see a decrease in fatigue and other symptoms within a week or two. This medication also helps in lowering your cholesterol levels. It takes around a month for kids, infants, and healthy individuals to recover from this condition, while it may take a longer time for those who are in very poor health.
Although the treatment with levothyroxine is lifelong, your doctor will still ask you to get regular blood tests done, and will also check your TSH levels every year. Initially, your doctor will check for your TSH levels every 2-3 months, and an increase in it will be considered as an indication to stop the levothyroxine therapy.
While undergoing this therapy, you need to stick with the same brand of medicine, tightly follow the schedule and diet, and not miss out on any doses. Your doctor will prescribe you a dose on the basis of your age, health, weight, thyroid hormone levels, and a heart condition.
However, if you don’t see any significant improvement in a month, your doctor will shift you to a new treatment, probably one that contains T3 and T4.
Home Remedies & Diet Plan for Hypothyroidism
Besides taking medication, here are some home remedies and lifestyle changes that can help you restore the biochemical changes seen in the body:
Coconut water is a natural diuretic that supports thyroid function. By increasing the body’s metabolic rate, coconut water helps in weight loss. It also helps in producing energy as it is high in glucose, amino acids, and electrolytes. In order to lose weight and keep the thyroid gland functioning normally, coconut water should be included in the diet on a daily basis. Coconut oil has healthy fatty acids that do not stay in the bloodstream like other fats. Instead, they are sent to the liver to be converted into energy, just like carbohydrates. These factors make coconuts very beneficial in the treatment of hypothyroidism.
Avoid Excess Sugar
Sudden weight gain is one of the problems faced by a person diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Eating too much sugar can cause weight gain, which is not a healthy condition. Foods like pasta and bread should be avoided as they are made from refined products and can add extra calories to your diet.
Small and Frequent Meals
In order to avoid putting on weight and having a balanced flow of energy, it is suggested to eat small and frequent meals instead of three large meals every day. This will also help improve metabolism and will provide the body with constant fuel to do work. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals, and are low in carbohydrates are good for hypothyroid patients. Leafy greens, carrots, and pumpkin contain fewer carbohydrates and more fiber. Smaller quantities of almost all fruits can be included in the diet. Berries such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries are considered to be excellent for hypothyroid patients.
Goitrogenic foods are those foods that cause low levels of the thyroid hormone in the body; they actually block the function of the thyroid gland. Foods that contain goitrogens are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, millet, radishes, rutabaga, soy, and sprouts. Although the effect of goitrogen on the thyroid is reduced by cooking, eating these food items raw should be avoided.
Drink More Water
People with hypothyroidism tend to lose sodium from the body, which is important for thyroid function. Hence, drinking water is very important. Peeling, cracking skin which becomes brittle is a consequence of hypothyroidism. Drinking lots of water will help the skin control dryness and will keep it hydrated. The recommended daily intake is approximately 3 liters.
It becomes very important to exercise regularly as this helps keep a check on the weight gain, which is one of the biggest problems faced by a patient with hypothyroidism. Regular exercise increases metabolic sensitivity towards the thyroid hormone and encourages secretion of the thyroid hormone. Exercises like brisk walking, cycling, biking, and dancing are helpful in reducing weight and are beneficial for people with hypothyroidism. 30-40 minutes of regular exercise 4-5 days per week is recommended for hypothyroidism patients. Always make sure to get expert advice before starting any exercise regime.
Stress affects people who suffer from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis more deeply as it causes autoimmune suppression. Therefore, stay relaxed as much as you can since stress exacerbates underlying thyroid conditions. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol and an excess of cortisol in the blood can interfere with the thyroid hormone. By getting stressed, you make yourself vulnerable to autoimmune thyroid conditions.
Avoid Green Tea
Important Points to Remember
- Taking medication is very important for those suffering from hypothyroidism. Do not stop taking your medication when you think that you are feeling better. The medication should be taken exactly as it is prescribed by the doctor.
- Take your thyroid medication on an empty stomach. Medications for the thyroid gland work best when taken at least one hour before a meal or any other medication.
- Levels of thyroid hormone in the body need to be constantly monitored. Make sure that you get regular tests done.
- Take expert advice on the diet that you will choose to follow. There are certain food items that can change the way your gland produces hormones.
- Avoid too much oil and salt. Less oil and salt are healthy options for controlling weight gain and overall well-being.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin A that boost thyroid levels, including yellow vegetables, eggs, carrots, and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Cut down on your intake of high-calorie foods like sweets, biscuits, and cakes as they may cause weight gain. Instead, choose healthy foods like fresh and green vegetables instead.