The thyroid provides a convenient organ to blame for all our misfortunes. Weight gain? Sluggish? Can’t get out of bed in the morning? “Your thyroid is slow,” many practitioners will respond.
Very often, we drain our thyroid with a modern lifestyle and modern diet. Take a look at some of the many thyroid-abusing factors we face each day:
To support the thyroid function in order to boost metabolism, we have to eliminate these thyroid-abusers and fuel up with the right building blocks.
Here are the top 5 foods for thyroid health:
In my book, properly sourced liver provides the most significant thyroid-boosting properties in a whole food source due to one vital nutrient: vitamin A. As a matter of fact, liver offers the highest concentration of vitamin A in nature.
Vitamin A plays a key role in nursing a sluggish thyroid back into health. In one study, groups of obese and non-obese women supplemented with 25,000 IU of vitamin A per day. After four months, both groups showed an increase of circulating thyroid hormone and a decrease in TSH, indicating improved thyroid function. 25,000 IU sounds like a lot of vitamin A per day, but in early traditional cultures across the globe, people consumed upward of 50,000 per day!
Most importantly, the vitamin A from liver (and all other animal sources) is the bio-available form vitamin A, which means the body can utilize it. The vitamin A from plant sources such as beta-carotene, in contrast, must first be converted to retinoid form to be useful in the body. The extremely poor conversion rate of carotene-to-retinoid is made insignificant if we have a slow thyroid, so it is imperative to get true vitamin A from animal sources.
I do not recommend long-term vitamin A supplementation, since synthetic vitamin A carries a higher risk of toxicity since it is not well-utilized by the body. Opt to get true vitamin A from foods like: Liver, Eggs, Cod Liver Oil, Butter, & Heavy Cream.
One important caveat: make sure you source liver from small, organic/biodynamic farms – good choices are pastured beef liver and pastured chicken liver. The liver filters toxins, but it doesn’t store toxins. However, the livers of conventionally-raised feedlot animals will contain toxins because they are overburdened.
The Weston Price Foundation recommends 2 to 3 3oz. servings of liver per week.
A pure, cold-pressed cod liver oil can also provides a source of vitamin A with the nutrients (fat and vitamin D) required for optimal absorption.
Coconut oil is about 2/3 medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), fatty acids that are directly absorbed into the bloodstream in the small intestine and used for energy. These MCTs have been shown to increase increase energy expenditure, which is another term for boosting metabolism.
Since increased thyroid function is essentially synonymous with increase metabolism, we can draw the conclusion that coconut oil is profoundly healing for the thyroid.
For a bit of anecdotal evidence of the benefits of coconut oil for thyroid, farmers in the 1940’s tried to fatten their animals with coconut oil only to find that it made the animals lean and energetic! Later, it was discovered that corn and soy feed accomplished the goal. It had an antithyroid effect on the animals, allowing the pigs to fatten quickly while eating less. Conclusion: if you want stable weight and a happy thyroid, ditch the soy and favor the coconut!
Eggs live up to their title of The Perfect Food, especially when it comes to balancing hormones through diet. They provide a concentrated source of thyroid-supporting building blocks like protein, cholesterol, B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals.
Contrary to the belief of mainstream (or, as I say, mislead) nutrition, the yolks – not whites – are the most nutritious part of the egg. Take a look at the nutrition highlights of eggs:
It seems too good to be true… salt makes food delicious AND it is good for us? Indeed! An important distinction, however, is the difference between unrefined salt such as himalayan salt and processed, bleached table salt.
These are just a few of the ways unrefined salt boosts thyroid:
Salt your food freely and to taste (if you have kidney disease or hypertension, it is a good idea to consult with a medical practitioner before increasing salt intake.). Again, favor unrefined options like real salt.
Ghee (Clarified Butter), an ancient medicinal food in Ayurvedic tradition, offers a key source of thyroid nutrients including:
Use ghee as your primary cooking fat, as it is ideal for sautéing. You can also melt it and use it in recipes calling for oil.