The thyroid is perhaps the most sensitive organ in the body when it comes to the environment. To make matters worse, in America, we are dumping some 4 billion pounds of environmental pollutants into the environment each year. (1)
Today, an estimated 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid conditions, and a shocking 60% of Americans who have a thyroid condition are not even aware that they have one.
Children may be the most vulnerable to a toxic environment. In one report, 25% of the neuro-behavioral issues in children were linked to environmental toxin exposure, and between 400,000 and 600,000 of the 4 million children born each year are negatively affected by such toxins. (2)
In a perfect world with ample dietary sources of iodine, these halogens and heavy metals may not present such a risk but, according to the World Health Organization, some 72% of the world’s population are deficient in iodine, putting many at risk. (8)
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Sea vegetables have been a primary dietary source of iodine for many, but heavy metal and radiation exposure has had a devastating impact on certain oceanic environments. (6,7)
Heavy metals and halogens like fluoride, bromide and chloride all compete with the body’s iodine receptors. While there are iodine receptors throughout the body, the thyroid and breast tissue carry the most receptors, making them the most vulnerable. (3-5)
Many studies have now linked iodine supplementation to the protection of breast tissue from the uptake of toxic environmental estrogens. (3) Since the body uptakes both iodine and potassium iodide, be sure to source a supplement with both forms of iodine. (5)
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Studies also suggest that iodine supplementation may increase the flushing of the halogens, such as chloride, bromide and fluoride, from the iodine receptors. (5) To elicit this effect, it is best to take one larger dose of iodine (12mg once every 10 days) to deliver a breast-protective dose and to flush our chronic exposure to these toxic, thyroid-suppressing halogens.
Getting Thyroid Nutrients from Our Food
Perhaps more important than what we eat, is what we should not eat for optimal thyroid health.
Processed and refined foods are incredibly difficult and sometimes impossible for us to completely digest, and they are also extremely deficient in the nutrients the thyroid needs to stay healthy in a toxic world.
In their new book, The Essential Thyroid Cookbook, authors Lisa Markley and Jill Grunewald do a fantastic job explaining the nutrients that the thyroid requires to be healthy. They also identify the foods that are high in these nutrients.
Here is a list of the “Thyroid Vital Nutrients” found in The Essential Thyroid Cookbook:
Vitamins and Other Nutrients:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B-1, B-2, B-6, B-12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin E
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCC) Green tea
Ayurvedic Herbs to Support Thyroid Health:
In The Essential Thyroid Cookbook, Lisa created delicious recipes using all of the above thyroid-healthy nutrients, while Jill guides us through the basics when it comes to understanding thyroid function and why these nutrients are so essential to bring the thyroid back into balance. Below, find 4 of these carefully-crafted recipes!!!
Watch my podcast with Jill and Lisa, and learn how to eat to support a healthy thyroid, and truly put into action what Hippocrates so eloquently said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
4 Recipes from The Essential Thyroid Cookbook
To open these PDFs, click on the righthand corner on the pop-out button. Enjoy!