Overcome Thyroid Dysfunction with the Power of Food
September 13th, 2016
This is an excerpt from my new book, The Thyroid Connection.
Food has extraordinary power— both to heal and to harm. Imagine: the foods you put into your body can completely transform your physical health, your energy levels, and even your state of mind. Yep, you heard me, and I’m not getting all New Agey, I’m speaking as a scientist: What you eat affects how your brain processes thought and emotion, as well as how your thyroid and your gut affect your brain. On The Myers Way Thyroid Connection Plan, you’ll stop eating foods that harm you while loading up on foods that heal.
Feeling skeptical? Think of how cranky and impatient you get when you miss a meal, how sad and hopeless you start to feel, how foggy your head gets. And then when you eat something, you immediately perk up, calm down, refocus, reenergize. Now multiply that good feeling by a factor of ten as you feed your body the nutrients it craves for vitality, a great mood, and optimal health.
If you need more convincing, I could tell you all about the science. I could remind you that without iodine plus proper protein intake, your thyroid gland doesn’t have the building blocks it needs to make thyroid hormone— it’s as if you’re asking a master builder to make you a house from a sack of pebbles and some mud. Yeah, you’ll probably get some kind of makeshift dwelling— but it won’t be nearly as good as it would have been if you’d provided steel and concrete. You can’t give your thyroid bad materials to work with and expect it to perform up to par—that doesn’t make any kind of sense.
Or I could tell you that without enough iron, selenium, and zinc, your thyroid signaling system doesn’t have the minerals it needs to convert T4 into T3. Not to mention that without zinc, your hypothalamus can’t gauge how much thyroid hormone your body is making, so it can’t properly regulate that whole process. And without iron, your body can’t convert iodide (the food version of iodine) into iodine (the biochemical that your thyroid actually uses). I could also tell you that without healthy omega 3 fats, your cell walls lose their integrity, and without vitamin A, free T3 is going to have a world of trouble making its way into your cells. And I could talk for quite a while about why and how your immune system needs B vitamins and vitamin D to keep a healthy balance.
Even then, some of you might be skeptical about the power of food, and given the way conventional doctors talk about nutrition, I can hardly blame you. Conventional doctors often treat food as, at best, an afterthought. When asking their former doctors about nutritional approaches, many of my patients have been told, “Well, if you want to try it, it probably won’t hurt.” What a dismissal of one of our most powerful healing tools! This is pretty ironic, too, when you consider that Hippocrates, the actual founder of Western medicine, is the one who said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” They should have us physicians repeat that when we take the Hippocratic oath!
So how much faith do I place in good nutrition? Well, as Hippocrates knew, it’s often the only medicine we need; many of my patients can restore healthy thyroid function simply through diet and lifestyle changes alone. You heard me. With diet and lifestyle changes alone, you can fix the problem that everyone else is taking pills for. Did you know that Synthroid is now our country’s most prescribed drug, with 21.5 million prescriptions written each year, accounting for billions of dollars? How many of those folks could get the same or even better results from just eating better?
Now if your thyroid has already been damaged, diet alone might not be enough; you might need to give it some extra support in the form of supplemental thyroid hormone. And if you have hyperthyroidism, you will need thyroid-calming herbs until you bring your thyroid gland back into balance, plus some additional supplements to replace what your overactive metabolism burns up.
Either way, food is still your best friend— or your worst enemy. Inflammation— caused largely by problem foods—can tear down the walls of your house before you’ve even got them up. At the end of the day, eating right makes optimal health possible.
Now, the minute I start talking about food choices, some of you are going to think diet. And we know how much fun dieting is! For many of us, let’s face it, diet is our least favorite word. I’ll suggest you stop eating harmful foods, and you’ll think, Uh‑oh, calorie counting! or Restrictions! or All those foods I’d like to have but am not allowed to! I get it, and I’d never want you to feel deprived, if only because deprivation equals stress, and stress equals high cortisol levels, unbalanced stress hormones, and a whole slew of other things that are bad for you.
So let’s not talk about restrictions. Let’s talk about delicious food that gives our bodies what they need to function. Let’s stop punishing our bodies with inflammatory foods; let’s stop starving ourselves of essential nutrients needed for peak thyroid and immune function. Let’s talk about how good you’re going to feel when your thyroid, immune system, and entire body finally have everything they need. Let’s talk about foods that power the clarity of your thoughts and the buoyancy of your mood—the fuel that enables you to sail through your day (on a good day) or slog through the challenges and overcome the obstacles (on a not‑so‑good day). That’s what food can do, folks. I’m here to tell you it’s true, because I’ve seen it in myself and in thousands of patients more times than I can count.
Reverse Chronic Illnesses So You Can Take Back Your Health!
Are you ready to beat your symptoms, regain your energy, and feel like yourself again? Whether you have Hashimoto’s, Graves’, or any of the hundreds of other autoimmune diseases, I want you to know you CAN reverse your condition!
In each book you’ll learn how to address the true underlying causes of your symptoms using simple yet proven dietary and lifestyle changes. Best of all, you’ll get step-by-step, four-week plans to put all of the principles into practice and truly make optimal health a way of life!