When you have thyroid dysfunction, it’s true: the problems occur within your body. But you may be surprised to know that your outside environment plays a huge role in the healing process; it can help you heal, or it can make your condition worse. For example, environmental toxins can disrupt thyroid function and actually cause an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis— the most common cause of an underactive thyroid. These same toxins can also reduce your T3 levels, which means that your resting metabolic rate lowers, causing you to gain weight.
It’s easy to say, “Well, just lower your exposure to these toxins.” But we all know that’s easier said than done, especially in our industrial world full of chemicals, plastics, and other unnatural products. My advice is to treat detoxification like it’s equally as important as preventing your toxic exposures.
Especially when you have an underactive thyroid, toxins build up in your body and will impair your thyroid function and metabolic symptoms.
It’s hard to know where to start when addressing your toxic exposures and detoxing your body, so I’ve compiled a list of a few habits you can practice to detox your body and prevent toxic damage.
1. Sweat it out
Exercise is one of those habits that have a long list of benefits. For individuals with thyroid issues, however, it’s especially important. Exercise will increase tissue sensitivity to your thyroid hormone as well as prompt your thyroid gland to secrete more of the hormone. Working out will help detox your body because it increases circulation and will make you sweat. Sweat is one of the ways in which your body gets rid of toxins. If you have been sedentary for a while, it might be intimidating to get moving, but even if you’re a beginner, any level of physical activity will help your thyroid.
2. Handle the Heat
Saunas and steam rooms sound like a fancy relaxation technique, but it’s actually a great practice to add to your treatment plan. Besides offering you some downtime, spending some time in a sauna or steam room will help you flush out your system and get rid of toxins that are damaging your thyroid. It can also help you lose weight, and when you trim down the fat, the toxins that get stored in fat cells like PCBs and pesticides leave your body as well.
3. Don’t Forget Your Fiber
Fiber is really important when it comes to getting rid of toxins. You can get fiber from increasing your intake of veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based foods. Fiber will not only help you detox but also improve your immune function. While helping your body expel toxins by way of your digestive tract, it can also help your kidneys and liver detox. Different forms of fiber come in different plant-based foods, and they all have a variety of benefits, so it’s important to mix it up and eat a variety of these plant-based foods.
As I mentioned before, enhancing your body’s detox systems will really help in your fight against hypothyroidism. It’s important to note, though, that these habits aren’t the only thing you should be doing to get your health back on track. I recommend partnering with a functional medicine practitioner who can help you pinpoint your specific imbalances; although the diagnostic name is the same, no two people experience an illness in the same way, as each person has different causative factors and unique imbalances. At my clinic, we use your unique test results to build a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. In this way, we’ll set you up on the path to optimal healing and help you regain control over your health.