This article was recently picked up, adapted and published on The Daily Mail UK.
Do you struggle to lose weight or gain it very easily? Do you also constantly feel tired and feel like something just “isn’t right” when you consider the amount exercise you do together with the little amount of food you’re eating? You may have a slow metabolism! i.e. a slow thyroid.
So, what is your thyroid and how it is connected to your metabolism?
Your thyroid gland is a small gland that can be found just below the Adams apple, in the front of your neck. It is part of the endocrine system – a system of glands that produce and release hormones that help control many important body functions. The thyroid glands main responsibility is to convert calories into energy to power the cells and organs in your body, and your metabolism is the rate at which this happens.
So, if your thyroid function is below par (which can happen for a variety of reasons), your metabolism will slow as a result. This is an extremely common issue, with 1.6 billion people worldwide thought to be at risk for thyroid dysfunction and the World Health Organization estimates that 750 million people are living with a thyroid condition right now. What’s scary, is that this figure doesn’t even take into account the people who are living with a condition without even knowing it or not being diagnosed… as so many doctors don’t do a thorough check and think your symptoms are “all in your head”.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid?
Weight gain and difficulty losing weight once it’s gained
Cold hands and feet
Slow movements, thought and speech
Pins and needles
Muscle cramps and weakness
Low basal temperature
Loss of libido
Hair loss especially outer third of eyebrows
Muscle and joint pain
Loss of appetite
What minerals are essential for optimal thyroid function? (i.e. an optimal metabolism)
One of the reasons it’s so common for people to have a slow thyroid is because certain micronutrients are lacking from the diet.
These micronutrients are iodine, selenium, zinc, fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K), iron, b-complex, tyrosine, vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids.
The thyroid gland requires these micronutrients to produce and secrete its thyroid hormone (T4). Also, T4 is inactive when it enters the blood, it needs to be converted to it’s active form, T3, and this conversion requires these nutrients also (in particular selenium and zinc). It’s the T3 that doctors should also be checking, but so many only look at T4!
So, what foods should you increase in your diet to boost the function of your thyroid?
You need to load up on vegetables, fruit, lean protein and healthy fats (like olive oil and nuts)! Here are some specific food sources that are rich in the micronutrients needed for optimal thyroid function:
Iodine: Kelp, spirulina, chlorella and other sea vegetables.
Selenium: Brazil nuts, sardines and pasture-raised chicken, turkey and eggs.
Zinc: Organic eggs, wild caught salmon, grass fed beef and organ meat, pumpkin, chia seeds, spinach and almonds.
Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K):
Vitamin A: Orange vegetables and dark leafy greens.
Vitamin D: Wild-caught salmon, sardines, egg yolk, fermented dairy, and mushrooms.
Vitamin E: Raw almonds, dark leafy greens, mustard greens, avocado and olives.
Vitamin K: Fermented dairy, grass-fed beef, butter and cheese from grass-fed animals, organic eggs and even some fermented foods like natto.
Iron: Grass-fed beef and organ meat, chicken, duck, turkey, fish, quinoa, lentils, nuts and leafy greens.
B-complex: Grass fed beef, poultry and fish, organic eggs and dairy products
Tyrosine: Soybeans, beef, lamb, pork, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, avocado.
Vitamin C: Most fruits and vegetables (so aim for a lot and a variety of types). Richest sources include all types of berries, citrus fruits. Watermelon, capsicum, leafy greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower.
Omega 3 fatty acids: Wild caught fish (especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackeral), flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts.
A well balanced, healthy eating plan that is rich in the above micronutrients is essential for optimal thyroid function and a fast metabolism. My 3 Week Body Reset Plan is carefully constructed with this in mind and is helping women around Australia and the rest of the world lose weight without the hunger and simultaneously boost their metabolism.
There are also many other things you can do to boost your metabolism such as minimising stress, prioritising sleep, drinking lots of water, exercising regularly, increasing muscle mass and visiting your GP for check-ups.
If you relate to the symptoms I have listed in this article, I highly recommend that you consult with your GP or health care professional to obtain appropriate blood tests to confirm whether you have compromised thyroid function. A thorough test should be completed, including TSH, T4, T3, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies.
Simply put, the better your thyroid function, the faster your metabolism and visa versa.
Please remember that blog posts are brief, and there are so many other factors that come to play when we are considering bodily systems. This may just be one piece of the puzzle for you to investigate further, I strongly encourage you to!
I hope you found this interesting! There are always ways to help yourself with your health and weight loss goals.