Twenty years ago, when I was pregnant with my youngest, I developed gestastional diabetes. Sugar had always been my drug of choice. I never really drank, did drugs, or smoked. Only sugar. My doctor warned me that if I didn’t attend to my diet, I could end up with a ten pound baby. So I started reading. A lot. I learned serving sizes and sugar content. Success! Jack weighed in at less than eight pounds and my blood sugars have been normal ever since.
I continue to practice all that I learned. As my family and I have gotten older, all sorts of new things have popped up and I continue to read and explore and experiment. I’m not a nutritionist (or a medical doctor, if I want to be thorough about this disclaimer) but I am very aware of my body and the different ways food affects it.
Lately I’ve been learning about the thyroid gland (the little hormone-producing gland located in the middle of the lower neck). My goal is to make you aware, to invite you to be curious. If anything I’m saying resonates with you, do your own research. Learn more. Here is a great resource for thyroid information. An estimated 20 million Americans have some sort of thyroid disorder and over 60% of those are not aware of it. “Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for certain serious conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and infertility.”
I know that when I had my heart physical, it included a complete thyroid panel too. (While I’m on the subject of healthy hearts – your oral hygiene influences your heart health – so floss and brush daily!)
A friend of mine has hypothyroidism – her body does not produce enough thyroxine hormone – and she takes medication to help regulate it. Her doctor never told her to take it first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, so she never reaped the benefits until she learned that on her own. The same would be true for thyroid supplements; to be effective they need to be taken on an empty stomach.
Food is such a basic and simple way to improve thyroid function. Herbs such as tumeric are an easy addition to your diet. Vegetables such as kale have also emerged as a superfood. It’s no longer a surprise to find it included juiced in smoothies or chopped up in salads. Kale is in the cruciferous family of vegetables. Others include: arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, radishes, turnips and watercress.
Most cruciferous vegetables are goitrogenic. That means for the 20 million Americans with a thyroid irregularity, eating raw kale or spinach or shaved brussel sprout salads could exacerbate the problem by interfering with thyroid function, instead of being a seemingly healthy choice. There’s no need to cut out these healthy vegetables, simply blanch or steam them before eating. That’s enough to eliminate the goitrogenic effect.
Now you know what I know. Was this information helpful? I’d love to know below!