hypothyroidism - Best ways on How to control thyroid disorders with diet changes and exercise to get pregnant
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland in front of the neck. It produces two key hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) which regulate the body’s metabolism, energy levels, weight changes, internal temperature and the brain function.
Thyroid disorders refer to a group of disorders that cause impairment in the functioning of thyroid gland, resulting in the overproduction or underproduction of the two key hormones T3 and T4, known as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism respectively.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can both negatively impact the fertility, both the ability to conceive and the ability to carry the pregnancy to term.
Typically, thyroid disorders can disrupt the ovulation and also inhibit implantation. In this article we will keep our focus on hypothyroidism and how to manage it.
Early signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism
- Unexplainable rapid weight gain, with no change in diet and exercise.
- Feeling fatigued easily without exertion and feeling sleepiness, dizziness and headaches.
- Feeling forgetful and feeling they are thinking slower than usual (brain fog).
- Feeling extremely cold in a weather in which other people are comfortable in (cold intolerance).
- Having to strain to pass stools and less than 3 bowel movements per week.
- Irregular menstrual cycles along with heavy or light periods.
- Dry skin and nails, with unexplained hair loss.
- Enlargement or nodule in the front of the neck.
Factors leading to hypothyroidism
- Iodine deficiency due to low iodine intake in the diet.
- Radiation exposure to the head and neck region.
- Family history of thyroid disorders.
- Long standing history of diabetes mellitus.
- Surgical removal of the thyroid gland.
- Presence of antibodies against thyroid hormones.
- Thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid gland.
How food and exercise can help in hypothyroidism?
People with hypothyroidism often suffer from fatigue and low energy. It is recommended that they maintain a balanced diet to obtain all the nutrients their body needs and also to combat the weight gain associated with underactive thyroid.
Also, maintaining an adequate iodine intake helps hypothyroidism patients. Having a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy fats, while keeping carbohydrates in moderation can help reduce weight. Reducing the intake of processed foods and added sugars may help improve symptoms and boost overall well-being.
In addition to the diet modifications, regular moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise and strength training can help boost metabolism and promote weight loss. Yoga and pilates have also shown to have beneficial effects for hypothyroidism patients.
Foods to eat and foods to avoid in hypothyroidism: Which foods to eat and why?
Iodine should be made a part of your diet as people with iodine deficiency have a higher risk of developing hypothyroidism. Consider adding iodized table salt and iodine rich food like fish, eggs and dairy products to your diet.
Selenium is an essential mineral which helps activate thyroid hormones so that they can be used by the body and also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Adding selenium rich foods like tuna, eggs, oatmeal and legumes like chickpeas, peanuts, green peas, kidney beans etc.
Zinc helps to regulate the TSH hormone which stimulated the thyroid gland to produce hormones. Foods like oysters, chicken, yogurt and shellfish are rich in zinc and should be included in the diet.
Niacin or Vitamin B3 rich foods like brown rice, chicken, tuna, pomegranates should be consumed.
Which foods to avoid and why?
Food containing goitrogens (compounds which suppress the thyroid function) should be avoided in large amounts.
Foods containing goitrogens are typically green vegetables of the cruciferous family like cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli etc.
Excessive intake of soy can also interfere with thyroid gland function. Food containing soy includes soy milk, soy sauce, tofu and soy yogurt.
Reducing the intake of processed food and added sugars may alleviate symptoms and aid in weight loss.
Some other hacks to control hypothyroidism
It is very important to take thyroid medication on an empty stomach. It is advisable to take medicines at least 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast or 3 to 4 hours after dinner.
Hypothyroidism medications should not be taken within 4 hours of consuming foods containing iron and calcium.
Some foods, medications and supplements which interfere with thyroid medication absorption are –
- Antacids or acidity medications
- Milk and milk products as they are rich in calcium
- Foods rich in iodine and soy based foods
- Iron and calcium supplements
- Foods rich in fibre
It is better for hypothyroidism patients to take smaller meals more frequently rather than three full meals.
Diet chart for a week
- Before breakfast- Green tea
- Breakfast- Oats
- Lunch- Okra, dal with 2 chapattis, salad
- Snacks- Few almonds and walnuts
- Dinner- Beans with 2 chapattis, salad
- Before going to bed- Milk
- Before breakfast- Lemon tea
- Breakfast- Omelette
- Lunch- Brinjal, dal with 2 chapattis, salad
- Snacks- An apple
- Dinner- Roasted chicken with 2 chapattis, salad and curd
- Before going to bed- green tea
- Before breakfast- Vegetable juice
- Breakfast- Sprouts
- Lunch- Vegetable brown rice with salad and curd
- Snacks- An avocado
- Dinner- Egg curry with 2 chapattis, salad
- Before going to bed- Turmeric milk
- Before breakfast- Almond milk
- Breakfast- Vegetable soup
- Lunch- Bottle gourd, dal with 2 chapattis, salad
- Snacks- A pomegranate
- Dinner- Paneer tikka with salad and curd
- Before going to bed- Warm water
- Before breakfast- Coconut water
- Breakfast- Pancakes
- Lunch- Grilled fish, salad
- Snacks- Melon
- Dinner- Vegetable soup and salad
- Before going to bed- Lemon water
- Before breakfast- Herbal tea
- Breakfast- Quinoa
- Lunch- Kidney beans, 2 chapattis, salad
- Snacks- An orange
- Dinner- Scrambled eggs and salad
- Before going to bed- Ginger tea
- Before breakfast- Yogurt
- Breakfast- Whole wheat cereal
- Lunch- Zucchini, dal, yogurt and salad
- Snacks- A mango
- Dinner- Chicken curry, 2 chapattis, salad
- Before going to bed- Coconut water
Exercises to lose weight and boost well-being in hypothyroidism
Exercise relieves many symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and improves cardiovascular health and mental well-being.
Participating in activities like brisk walking, running, swimming or playing a sport can improve cardiac health and also have a mood uplifting effect and relieve symptoms like depression and fatigue.
To prevent secondary problems which are caused by obesity it is very important to keep the weight under check and improve muscle mass. Moreover, strength training and body weight exercises are extremely effective.
Patients on medications with good control of thyroid hormone levels can participate in any exercise based on what they like, but patients who are not well controlled by medications should start with low impact and intense exercises like cycling, yoga, pilates, walking and swimming.
Aerobic exercises have been proven to be very helpful in patients with hypothyroidism and should be practiced regularly as they help with weight reduction, improve cardiovascular health and boost metabolism.
How to measure your thyroid levels and track your progress?
Thyroid hormone levels are measured with thyroid function tests which include testing for the levels of three hormones T3, T4 and TSH.
Other tests which can be done are testing for antibodies against the thyroid gland and radioactive iodine uptake tests. It is advisable to visit the doctor at regular intervals and discuss your symptoms and progress.
Also, whenever you feel your symptoms are getting worse, visit your doctor and get your thyroid hormone levels tested.
How to keep yourself motivated during your journey?
Fatigue and hypothyroidism go hand in hand, which makes it difficult to stick to your exercise routine. It is important to start slow while keeping in mind the benefits.
Working out with a group or hiring a personal trainer can help to adhere to the workout schedule and provide support in times you feel low.
Always indulge in exercises you really enjoy and set small and specific goals to keep an eye on the progress you’ve been making. Taking small steps towards a healthier life is the key to overcoming thyroid disorders!
Disclaimer: This is article is not sponsored by any brand or company. The information contained on Target100years is provided for general and educational purposes only and must never be considered a substitute for medical advice from a qualified medical professional. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription medicines, are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals before beginning any nutrition or lifestyle programme. Target100years does not take responsibility for possible health consequences for any person following the information in the educational content.