Diet Tips for Healthy Adrenal and Thyroid Function
There are many foods that can either support the healthy function of your thyroid and adrenal glands or impair them. The table below highlights some of the key foods to avoid or minimise in your diet for adrenal and thyroid health and those you can regularly include to support them.
|Gland||Foods to Avoid||Foods to Nourish
|Adrenal||Caffeine: coffee; tea; chocolate; caffeinated soft drinks.
Refined carbohydrates and sugars.
|A variety of green and colourful vegetables.
Antioxidant rich, low glycaemic index fruits: blueberries; blackberries; raspberries.
Regular meals with high quality proteins (fish, eggs, lean meats, nuts, seeds) and quality fats.
Herbal teas: liquorice; lemon balm; valerian;passionflower; chamomile; lavender.
|Thyroid||Goitrogens: soy; millet; peanuts; Brassica’s (cabbage, turnips, swedes, kale, horseradish, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower).*If eating small amounts of goitrogens, ensure they are cooked to break down goitrogenic compounds.||Iodine rich foods: seaweeds (kombu, nori, wakame, arame, dulse); fish; shellfish; egg yolks; spinach; garlic; watercress.
Selenium rich foods: Brazil nuts; garlic.
Smaller meals with good quality protein, reduced carbohydrates and good quality fats.
Living a Lifestyle for Optimum Adrenal and Thyroid Health
Just as diet can either support or impair thyroid and adrenal health, your lifestyle impacts these glands too. Key lifestyle factors to modify are:
- Exercise: regular gentle-moderate intensity exercise will improve your ability to cope with stress and has anti-inflammatory benefits. Exercise stimulates thyroid gland hormone secretion and increases sensitivity to these thyroid hormones. It will also help to increase your basal metabolic rate and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Sleep: good quality and adequate quantity of sleep supports adrenal and thyroid health. Practice healthy sleep hygiene habits: turn off technology in the bedroom at least one hour prior to bed; reserve the bedroom for sleep and intimacy; avoid stimulants in the evening (exercise, caffeine, late study or work); detoxify your bedding (use organic cotton bed linens and chemical free mattresses and furnishings); ensure your bedroom is dark enough; get out into the sunlight in the mornings to help maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
- Stress management: ongoing, unresolved stress has adverse effects on adrenal and thyroid health. It is important to implement stress management strategies (avoid the stressors, alter the situation, change your response, accept that which you cannot change, seek fun and relaxation), and seek professional assistance if required (counselling, life coaching).
- Relaxation techniques: incorporate scheduled, regular relaxation or meditation practices to reduce stress. You can choose any relaxing activity that you enjoy such as: yoga, meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness, visualisation, Tai Chi, Qigong or other rhythmic exercises.
- Reduce your toxic load: remove chemical cleaners, pesticides and toxic plastics from your home and replace with BPA and phthalate free plastics and natural cleaners. Leave your shoes at the door so as to not track pollutants through your home. Invest in water and air purifiers to remove unwanted compounds from your home and washing and drinking water.