Is slowing down a “done deal” as the average human approaches middle-age? As people hit their forties and fifties it seems that no matter hard they try, their bodies just keep slipping gears, going slower and slower. Skin texture changes. More hair is left behind in the shower. Curves, bulges and paunches begin to appear regardless of how many squats or crunches you do. Does a person just have to accept all of this getting old business? Why is it happening? Are things just wearing out like the carburetor in an old car?
The Carburetor Connection
A car’s carburetor controls the flow of air drawn into an engine. The pressure created by this airflow affects the amount of liquid fuel that is pulled into the airflow, thus controlling the speed of the car. For humans, the thyroid gland is a biological carburetor. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the speed, or metabolic rate, of the heart, digestive system, muscle control, brain activity and bone regeneration. Unlike a faulty carburetor in an old car, as we age we cannot replace an old thyroid gland. You only get one. And if you want to maintain your stamina as you age, you need to take good care of your carburetor.
A Clogged Carburetor
When a car’s carburetor becomes clogged with sediment build-up, a driver will no longer get hot rod performance from their sports car or high-load capacity from their truck. Instead, a car may overheat or not even start. The same kind of symptoms can be experienced by people with the biological carburetor problem of hypothyroidism. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is sluggish, like a clogged carburetor. It can cause all sorts of performance problems:
- Decreased stamina
- Increased fatigue
- Muscle weakness
- Sensitivity to cold temperatures
- Dry skin
- Higher blood cholesterol level
- Slower heart rate
- Memory impairment
- Weight gain
There are different traditional medicine approaches for treating hypothyroidism. However, just like with a car, the quality of fuel being used matters. Regardless of whether or not a person suffering from hypothyroidism is using prescription medication, diet is an important aspect of proper biological carburetor care.
Medical professionals advise a balanced diet that eliminates the need for supplemental iodine. The reason for this is that it is possible to cause hypothyroidism, or exacerbate an existing condition, with too much iodine. The natural route for iodine intake is the best option. Other dietary recommendations by doctors is not to treat the hypothyroidism itself but, rather, to strengthen other functions in the body to compensate for some of the side effects of hypothyroidism. In other words, a diet is not a cure but it can significantly improve how you feel and how your body functions.
Carburetor Fuel – The Good & The Bad
A diet rich in certain vitamins and minerals may help alleviate the symptoms of hypothyroidism. These are some of the good things to include in a hypothyroidism diet :
- B-vitamins & Iron: can be found in whole grains, fresh vegetables and sea-based vegetables such as kelp.
- Antioxidants: can be found in fruits like cherries and blueberries and in vegetables like squash and bell peppers. Tip: When selecting fruits and vegetables, opt for shades of red and purple.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna, as well as in spinach.
Certain foods should be avoided, minimally consumed or eaten at different times than when taking medication to treat hypothyroidism.
- Do NOT Consume at Medication Time : walnuts, calcium supplements, antacids containing magnesium or aluminum, cholesterol-lowering or ulcer medications.
- Consume in Moderation: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, peanuts, spinach, turnips.
- Consult with Health Professional : Certain foods and nutritional supplements may interfere with thyroid function, such as: soy products, iron supplements, food or drinks that contain caffeine, L-tyrosine.
- Avoid Altogether: alcohol, tobacco, and iodine supplements.
Is There a Cure?
It depends on who a person talks to on whether it is believed that hypothyroidism can be cured. Traditional medicine professionals will typically say, “No” while an alternative medicine professional could say, “Maybe”. Often, a natural approach to treatment results in a lifestyle change that can be perceived as a cure. Rather than receiving treatment everyday in the form of a pill, the treatment is through all of the changes made that work together to alleviate symptoms. In addition to diet, exercise like yoga, is also proven effective in alleviating hypothyroidism symptoms. Throw off this delicate balance and symptoms return. Perhaps, then, rather than focus on a cure, the aim should be to improve the quality of life as much as possible whether a person takes a thyroid medication or not. Healthy living can go a long way to living as if a person has been cured of hypothyroidism.