Let’s talk Hashimoto’s!
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – have you heard of it or recently been diagnosed? It’s being talked about WAY more than it ever has before and mainly because so many more people are being diagnosed with it. Autoimmune conditions have been growing at such a rapid pace with Hashimoto’s being one of them! In today’s post, we’re diving into what Hashimoto’s really is, how it affects your body, the foods that can help, and lifestyle tips to manage it.
What exactly is Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid, resulting in damage to the thyroid gland and reduced thyroid hormone production. If you’re new to the thyroid, it’s a small butterfly-shaped gland on the front of your neck that is critical for your metabolism, growth, and regulation of body functions (it plays a HUGE role in our bodies!).
What causes Hashimoto’s?
The exact cause of Hashmitos is still not totally clear (same with most autoimmune conditions!). However, females, middle-aged people, and those with other autoimmune conditions are most at risk (think celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, etc). As an integrative medicine practitioner, I dig a bit deeper and look to find the root cause of what’s going on. Every body and condition differs, but there are a handful of factors that can stress the body out and turn on that specific autoimmune gene.
Some underlying causes of Hashimoto’s include:
- Systemic inflammation caused by food allergens (dairy, gluten, and different foods specific to you!)
- Poor diet (fast and processed foods, inflammatory oils, excess sugar)
- Leaky gut & gut dysbiosis
- Emotional stress/trauma
- Nutrient deficiencies (iodine, selenium)
- Parasites, pathogens, viruses
How Hashimoto’s affects your body
Since Hashimoto’s impacts your thyroid’s ability to produce adequate amounts of hormones, it will typically affect a variety of different parts of the body.
Common Symptoms of Hashmitos include:
- Feeling tired and sluggish
- Muscle aches and muscle pain
- Weight Gain
- Anxiety and Depression
- Trouble tolerating cold
- Changes in hair texture
- Digestive Distress (constipation and bloating)
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- Slow heart rate
- Brain Fog
How to eat for Hashimoto’s
As we always say, food is medicine! It has the ability to manage, decrease, and even reverse chronic conditions. We recommend focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet full of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and quality proteins.
Foods I recommend for Hashimoto’s are:
- Fatty fish (salmon and sardine) – high in Omega 3’s
- Chia and hemp seeds – high in Omega 3’s
- Cooked cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels) – supports liver and thyroid function
- Sea veggies (seaweed, kale, spirulina) – high in iodine
- Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens) – high in vitamin, minerals, and antioxidants
- Ginger and turmeric – anti-inflammatory
- Brazil nuts – high in selenium
- Avocado – contain antioxidants, electrolytes, and is anti-inflammatory
As I mentioned earlier, leaky gut and gut dysbiosis can be a root cause of developing Hashimoto’s (it’s why we love gut health so much!). Our guts play such an essential role in our overall health, so I also love to recommend probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and bone broth – all rich in nutrients that heal the gut!
Lifestyle tips to help manage Hashimoto’s
Food and diet are essential in helping to manage Hashimotos, but so is your lifestyle! External factors that also play a huge role in your healing include stress, exercise and movement, toxic chemicals, medications, and sleep. The way we are treating our bodies on a daily basis MATTERS, and making simple changes can go a long way in how you feel.
Helpful lifestyle tips for managing Hashimoto’s include:
- Decrease stress (yes, I KNOW this is easier said than done, but it is not impossible! think: meditation, yoga, journaling, getting out in nature, etc)
- Swap the high-intensity workouts for lower impact ones – these can stress your body out (think: pilates, walking, light jogging, and yoga)
- Switch to non-toxic products (skincare, makeup, house-cleaning)
- Eat consistently throughout the day (balanced and regular meals, intermittent fasting can make hormone issues worse)
- Consume enough electrolytes
- Get enough sleep! (aim for 7-9 hours nightly)
- Take a close look at your birth control (and all medications) and consider a natural alternative.
The Bottom Line
While there is no direct cure for Hashimoto’s, it can be managed (and even reversed!) through diet and lifestyle. The goal is to reduce inflammation and stress so that your body can begin to heal and you can start to feel like yourself again!
If you’re struggling with your Hashimoto’s and need some help, click here to work with me!