Thyroid Disease is an inflammatory disease. It both causes inflammation and is made worse by inflammation.
Getting on top of Inflammation is one of the most important aspects of changing our Thyroid Story.
If your time or attention span is short at the moment - feel free to Pin It for reading later.
Below is my guide to Thyroid Inflammation and it contains as much as I know at this time on the different contributors to inflammation in this autoimmune disease. I hope it helps answer some questions for you.
Thyroid inflammation is the main driver of many of the symptoms we experience on a daily basis. Inflammation, in general, contributes to nasty diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer. As Thyroid disease is an inflammatory disease by nature, it is important to keep a really close eye on our levels.
It is hard to swallow.
You feel like there is a lump in your throat when you swallow
Your gums bleed whenever you brush your teeth
You suffer from tendonitis, bursitis, or anything ending in “itis”
Your voice is struggling to get out
Mitochondrial dysfunction (so thyroid disease)
High blood sugar
hs-CRP – this is more sensitive than CRP and will give you a much clearer picture.
1. Turmeric – The king of spices! There are so many studies around turmeric and its amazing anti-inflammatory abilities. However, it is now becoming a front runner indigestion and peptic ulcers, liver detoxification, asthma, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s disease. If you love your curries, then this is a great way of getting it in or another way includes the growing popularity of Turmeric Lattes in the more “aware” coffee shops. Any way you can get it, it will improve and downregulate your inflammation pathways.
2. Boswellia – This is a great herb for inflammation, particularly for arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, and fluid retention caused by brain tumors. For those of you that love your essential oils and know about the healing powers of Frankincense, this is actually the same genus, just different species so great for thyroid inflammation particularly.
3. Anti-inflammatory foods – Berries and Cherries, Cayenne Pepper, Celery and celery seeds, dark leafy greens (not kale, broccoli, and rocket as they are goitrogens), sweet potatoes, flaxseeds, ginger, turmeric, beetroot, garlic, onions, kelp, fatty fish, nuts (particularly macadamia nuts which are higher in Omega 3s).
4. Inflammatory foods – Gluten, wheat, refined grains, dairy products, sugar, grain-fed animal products, trans fats (from bakery products and processed foods like biscuits), alcohol and coffee, Omega 6 oils, MSG, food additives, processed foods of all kinds, junk and takeaway foods
5. Remove Intolerant Foods – True food allergies are not as common as you would think. Most of the time, the discomfort from foods come from an intolerance to it. Intolerances change over time and often can be altered by removing the offending item from the diet for 6 months and then slowly reintroducing it. Intolerances still cause inflammation though and get the little soldiers inside of us all fired up ready to attack, so removing them is important if we are going to reduce the inflammatory response. This can be easily done by going on an elimination diet for 2-4 weeks. Simply remove the food you think is causing problems and monitor your response both without it, and then when you eat it again.
6. Improve Gut Health – Although not proven, theory in the health world suggests that autoimmune disease is actually caused by a leaky gut. This is when your digestive tract starts to let food into your bloodstream, which your body then recognizes as being in the wrong place and attacks it. On top of this, 20% of thyroid hormone is converted into its active form in the gut. Not many people are aware, but the Immune System is actually located in the gut, so calming and healing the gut with Bone Broths, fermented foods, prebiotics and probiotics, mucilaginous herbs like slippery elm and marshmallow will all help to heal the gut and in doing so reduce inflammation.
7. Reduce Stress – Yep this is not the easiest thing to achieve in our modern-day lives, but it is not to be underestimated as a way to improve our inflammation levels and therefore our thyroid health. So where do we start??? Start with something you know you can do! Might seem obvious but sometimes we overlook the obvious when we are extremely stressed. If you work in a crowded office with lots of negative energies around you, leave it at lunchtime, and go put your feet on some grass somewhere. Take some lessons in deep breathing (yes it is a skill!) and try to sit in quiet peace or even meditation for 5 minutes every day and build up from there. Saying you don’t have time for this is like saying you don’t have time to get your arm set after it has been broken. Yes, it is that important!!!
8. Limit Sitting – Sitting is the new smoking. We all sit for many more hours a day than our bodies are designed for. This causes nerve impingement which leads to inflammation and also turns on the famine pathways, which tells our body to “hang onto all fat reserves because we are heading into famine” – nobody with thyroid disease wants that!! Get up and move around for 10 mins every hour that you are sitting, or move your computer to a spot where you can stand and use it. I put mine up on my 3 drawer filing cabinet which is perfect for my height.
9. Exercise – I read a study once that said our genome is wired for walking 18,000 – 22,000 steps a day. That is a long way off the recommended 10,000 steps a day that many of us still fail to achieve. Is it any wonder we are getting sicker. Exercise lowers inflammation, improves immunity, tones muscle, burns fat, improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and above all moves the lymphatic fluid around the body helping the thyroid hormone get to where it is needed.
10. Remove Toxins – Let’s face it, in this world we live in, we are subjected to every kind of chemical and toxin available, just by going outside and taking a deep breath. We slather toxic creams into our bodies, make up our faces with heavy metal-laden lipsticks, and eat foods that have been sprayed to kill all bugs including the good ones in our gut. Since none of these toxins are a natural state in our body, the minute they are in there our body is on the attack. So start reducing the toxic burden to your body by choosing organic where you can, using a flyswat instead of spray, and being a little choosy about the ingredients in your skincare.
So there are plenty of ways for you to start reducing your thyroid inflammation. Pick one or two ideas that you can easily fit into your life and when you have those down, add another couple. Above all be kind to yourself as you change your thyroid story – it's not easy – but you can do it!