If you’ve been recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you’re probably interested in learning about all of your treatment options. Many people will head straight to a doctor for hypothyroidism treatment. While that might be a good option for some patients, others are interested in holistic alternatives.
Be aware that most conventional doctors will start you on a synthetic thyroid hormone treatment plan, and the dosage can be tricky. In fact, patients who take too much thyroid hormone are at risk of developing hyperthyroidism. Patients who take too little may experience no results at all.
Hypothyroidism can zap your energy, cause full-body pain, and worsen your mood. So, even if you don’t want to take synthetic hormones, there’s no reason for you to suffer from the symptoms.
There are many ways to manage your hypothyroidism symptoms naturally. A functional medicine doctor can help you create a customized treatment plan, but, in the meantime, here are the top seven ways to treat hypothyroidism naturally.
1. Adding the Right Foods
An ideal hypothyroidism diet would be high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. By adding the right foods to your diet, you can promote the healing process in your body.
Wild-caught fish is one of the best protein sources you can add to your diet. Fish like wild-caught Alaskan salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Other healthy proteins include grass-fed meats, eggs, legumes, and quinoa.
A diet low in fat can worsen a hormonal imbalance, so it’s important to add natural, healthy fats to your diet. Coconut oil is a top pick that is thought to boost immunity and improve digestion. You can also add avocados, nuts, olive oil, and full-fat dairy products to your hypothyroidism diet.
Some people with hypothyroidism experience a sluggish digestive system, and a high-fiber diet can greatly help with that. Naturally fiber-rich foods will also aid in balancing blood sugar and maintaining a healthy weight. Make sure you’re eating plenty of beans, leafy greens, berries, and whole grains.
2. Eliminating Problem Foods
Adding in more of the right foods is only half the battle. Some foods, even ones that are otherwise healthy, are problematic for people with hypothyroidism.
While it’s always good to eat your veggies, you want to avoid many cruciferous vegetables that are goitrogenic. Steer clear of large quantities of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and soy. These vegetables can interfere with thyroid function.
This might also be a good time to go gluten-free. Gluten is a trigger for many autoimmune diseases and is a source of inflammation. Gluten naturally occurs in wheat products and may also be an additive in many packaged foods. If you do decide to go 100% gluten-free, get familiar with reading package labels and ingredient lists.
Because hypothyroidism negatively affects your metabolism, you may also want to reduce foods that decrease your energy and promote weight gain. Refined flour and added sugar are top offenders, so try to minimize your intake.
3. Improve Your Gut Health
A healthy gut is necessary for overall health. By promoting a healthy gut microbiome, you’ll also be promoting balanced hormone function.
Taking a probiotic is just one way to improve your gut health. Digestive enzymes might also help ease digestive issues and improve nutrient absorption. You can also eat a variety of probiotic-rich foods that promote the growth of good bacteria. Stock your fridge with kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and fermented vegetables.
Fortunately, if you follow the dietary advice above, you’ll also be promoting good gut health. High-fiber, low-sugar foods will encourage healthy gut bacteria.
4. Correct Nutritional Imbalances
Even when following a balanced diet, you may still have some nutritional imbalances. Hypothyroidism is associated with certain mineral deficiencies. You may want to add foods rich in zinc and selenium to your diet, or you can supplement with vitamins.
It can also be helpful to supplement with iodine (or eat seaweed), but only if you are certain you are iodine deficient. If you are not deficient, you might end up with too much iodine, which can make certain conditions worse.
Other recommended supplements to manage hypothyroidism symptoms include vitamin D, omega-3s, and iron.
5. Acupuncture and Massage
Acupuncture is an ancient practice of using very thin needles to promote the body’s ability to naturally heal itself. Although the practice has roots in Chinese medicine, today’s modern practitioners use acupuncture to help with pain, mood, and many illnesses.
Acupuncture is an ideal treatment for most illnesses caused by hormone imbalances. It not only reduces symptoms of hypothyroidism but may also improve normal thyroid function.
Another essential component of natural healing is receiving regular massage. As a stress reliever and mood booster, massage is a great addition to any hypothyroidism treatment plan. Massage can help alleviate many hypothyroidism symptoms by improving circulation, decreasing muscle and joint stiffness, and reducing cortisol and other stress hormones.
6. Yoga and Exercise
Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise you can do to manage hypothyroidism naturally. Yoga incorporates stretching, strengthening, and breath work to improve your overall health. If you can’t attend a yoga class locally, there are several yoga poses you can do at home that improve thyroid function. Consider adding fish pose, cobra pose, supported shoulder stands, and bridge pose into your routine.
Besides yoga, other forms of regular exercise can also help. Even if fatigue and joint pain make exercise seem out of reach, you can choose a low-impact exercise that can improve your health. If you’re new to exercise or are experiencing joint pain, consider the following exercises:
- Tai chi
- Water aerobics
- Bodyweight strength training like planks, lunges, and push-ups
Both yoga and other forms of gentle exercise should help you lose weight, increase your energy, and improve your mood.
Reducing stress is an important part of managing the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Meditation is a great holistic healing method that may help you feel more connected to your body. Meditation is especially helpful for managing symptoms like depression, mood swings, forgetfulness, and increased anxiety.
You can practice at home by simply sitting in a comfortable position and focusing only on your breath. Or, if you prefer a guided meditation, there are many available online. Think of your meditation practice as scheduled relaxation and make it a daily habit.
Improve Your Health Naturally
Many people suffer from pain and discomfort simply because they feel that hormone therapy isn’t the right hypothyroidism treatment for them, but you don’t need prescriptions to manage your symptoms and improve your thyroid function.
If you’re ready to explore natural treatment options for hypothyroidism, a functional medicine doctor can help make a plan. At the Pollack Wellness Institute, our team specializes in helping hypothyroidism patients improve their overall health and wellness with a variety of natural treatments.
If you or someone you know has underactive thyroid disease, please contact us to schedule an appointment. We can assist you with nutritional counseling, lifestyle consulting, acupuncture, corrective exercises, and so much more.