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Promoting Healthy Weight Loss for Hypothyroid and Thyroid Patients
The thyroid is a central part of the body’s metabolism. In hypothyroidism, the rate of many bodily functions slow significantly, meaning that an array of physical processes, such as the pace at which calories are burned, are slowed as well.
As a result, maintaining a stable weight can be an ongoing challenge for those with under-active thyroids. Still, though the constant weight struggle that many hypothyroid patients grapple with daily can be frustrating, thyroid health experts maintain that there is hope.
The single most important step hypothyroid men and women can take to maintain a healthy weight or begin to shed excess pounds is to adhere strictly to the prescription drug regimen established by a licensed physician. Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is the only known treatment that has been shown to be able to restore thyroid function to the normal range. This is the most reliable way to ensure that your thyroid -- and, by extension, your metabolism -- functions properly.
However, if you already have a prescription regimen for hypothyroidism that you’re following closely, you may still be frustrated by the challenge of maintaining a healthy weight or slimming down. If that’s the case, there are some additional steps you can take to promote healthy weight loss. Consult with your physician to select the best approach for your situation.
Eat an Iodine-Rich Diet
It has long been known that iodine deficiency can cause or worsen thyroid problems. But you may not know that without sufficient iodine in your diet, it can be virtually impossible for patients with hypothyroidism to lose weight. By increasing the healthy sources of iodine in your diet, you can promote normal thyroid function and ensure that your metabolism processes calories efficiently.
But don’t confuse an iodine-rich diet with a diet that is high in table salt. Although most salt is enriched with iodine, the excess sodium your body would have to process to get enough of the mineral from this source would cancel out any health benefits. Instead, look to foods that are naturally rich in iodine, including kelp, milk, yogurt, shrimp, lobster, crab, and most saltwater fish species.
Control Candida Albicans
An excess of the yeast Candida albicans may impede normal thyroid function, especially in individuals who have already been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Although this fungus can naturally be found in the gastrointestinal tract, but if overgrowth occurs, Candida albicans can have many negative health effects.
If you have a significant surplus of this yeast, you may need a prescription antifungal medication to restore balance. However, for minor imbalances, targeted dietary changes can be used to moderate your yeast levels. Experts suggest increasing your intake of yogurt, garlic, and leafy green vegetables. In addition, Pau d’arco tea, probiotics, and acidophilus supplements may also prove to be helpful.
Make Sure You Consume Enough Calories
For men and women with under-active thyroid glands, diets that are too low in calories can severely impede weight loss efforts. On the surface, this may not seem to make sense, as low-calorie diets are widely believed to promote weight loss.
However, an often-unintended side effect of highly restrictive weight loss plans can be a gradual decline in the rate of the metabolism. Any further slow-down in the metabolic rate of those already diagnosed with hypothyroidism can impede weight loss.
To design a weight-loss diet, hypothyroid patients need to use a slightly different approach. Eat 5-6 small meals daily, consisting of about 250-300 calories each. Experts recommend that hypothyroid patients’ weight loss diets should be comprised of 40% protein, 25% fat, and 35% low glycemic index carbohydrates.
Cut Back or Quit Bad Habits
We all have vices and weaknesses that we know aren’t compatible with optimal health. But for hypothyroid patients who are trying to lose weight, indulging in a few bad habits could undermine even the most dedicated fitness and dieting efforts.
Many people believe that cigarettes kill the appetite. In truth, tobacco is full of dangerous chemical compounds that can impact not only thyroid health, but also overall well-being. The substance known as thyocyanide, in particular, is suspected to impede normal thyroid function.
Frequent alcohol consumption can also be an obstacle to those with hypothyroidism. It acts as a depressant in the body, further slowing the metabolism. The extra calories associated with excess alcohol consumption can also pose a roadblock to consistent weight loss. Experts agree that hypothyroid individuals should consider reducing or eliminating these and other potentially harmful habits to promote healthier weight loss.
Avoid Thyroid-Suppressing Foods
Although a diet rich in fresh vegetables, grains, and nuts may sound healthy, not all of these foods are beneficial to hypothyroid patients. So-called “goitrogenic” foods actually suppress normal thyroid function, risking the possibility of further metabolic slowdown.
Some of the culprits most frequently cited by experts include kale, cabbage, turnips, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, cassava, pine nuts, peanuts, millet, and soy-based products. Although the exact extent of their thyroid-suppressing action remains unclear, experts suggest avoiding the consumption of large quantities of foods in the goitrogenic category.
A Sensible, Holistic Approach to Healthy Weight Loss
Weight loss can be a frustrating struggle for anyone, but it can be particularly frustrating for those with low thyroid function. However, by developing a new routine and eliminating some unhealthy habits, weight loss can happen for hypothyroid patients. Your physician can help develop a custom plan that will work for you.
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