Did you know that around 12% of Americans will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime? Thyroid dysfunction is incredibly common, with around 20 million U.S. adults dealing with some form of thyroid disease.
Fortunately, many thyroid conditions are preventable. Even better, there’s an easy place to focus to make great strides: your metabolism!
Your metabolism plays a huge role in your thyroid function. That’s why lifestyle changes and integrative medicine solutions that impact your metabolic health may prevent or address the most common conditions.
If you’re concerned about your thyroid, focusing on your diet, exercise, and stress levels can be crucial. Here are a few of the changes our integrative neurology experts recommend.
Focus on the Right Foods
As you might expect, the foods you put into your body have a huge effect on your metabolic health. Even better, a nutrient-rich diet can also help with your thyroid hormone production. Here are a few specific foods that promote metabolic and thyroid health:
Foods packed with protein can increase your metabolism over a few hours. Eating more protein at every meal can help keep your metabolism higher for longer.
Your body uses more of its energy when processing and digesting protein. This need can help boost your metabolic processes.
Lean meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, and legumes are all great sources of healthy protein.
If you’re concerned about your thyroid health, you may already know that certain minerals are important for this gland’s usual functions. Low levels of iron and selenium, for example, may affect thyroid hormone production. This lower production can slow down your metabolism.
As a result, make sure you’re eating mineral-rich foods. Look for foods high in iron, selenium, iodine, and zinc. Vitamin D and E supplements are other common thyroid dysfunction solutions.
This might come as a surprise, but spicy foods are great for your metabolism. The effect is due to capsaicin, which increases our metabolic rate. The effect may be small, but adding more peppers and spices to your weekly meals may give you a slight boost.
Use Integrative Medicine to Manage Stress
Managing stress is easier said than done in today’s fast-paced world. However, stress can play a huge role in managing thyroid problems and metabolic processes.
When we experience stress, our bodies increase cortisol production. This hormone affects even a healthy metabolism, as it can impact our ability to regulate our appetite.
High cortisol levels are terrible for thyroid health in general, as this can decrease T4 to T3 conversions. This crucial conversion turns our T4 enzymes into their active forms so our bodies can use them.
Common integrative medicine tactics like mindfulness, therapeutic massage, yoga, and other forms of self-care can help. These stress-relieving tactics are a great way to lower cortisol and improve any thyroid conditions.
Get More Exercise
Exercise is the key to a healthy metabolism. Because it requires consistent energy, the thyroid gland has to produce more hormones to promote key metabolic processes.
Integrative neurology has long focused on regular activity as a crucial thyroid dysfunction solution. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise and two muscle-strengthening sessions per week for the average adult.
If you can’t meet these minimum recommendations, do as much as you can. Even simple activities like walking or running can help. You can also try playing with your kids, walking your dog, or adding a ten-minute workout as a work break.
If you’re comfortable doing so, more activity is always ideal. Higher-intensity workouts are even better for your metabolism than mild or moderate exercises. Fast-paced HIIT workouts with intense bursts of activity, for example, may increase your metabolism even long after you’ve finished working out.
Drink More Water
Water is the key to staying hydrated, and it may also help you reach a higher metabolism.
Some studies suggest that switching to water from sugary beverages can help speed up your metabolism. More research is needed, as the effect may be short-term and mild, and it may vary from person to person. However, extra hydration never hurts, and it’s an essential habit to pair with regular exercise.
Manage Your Sleep Schedule
Like lowering your stress, getting more sleep is a lifestyle change that can be tricky to make. We all know we need more, but it’s tough to get sleep consistently.
When we miss out on sleep, our bodies try to conserve energy by dialing back essential processes, including metabolic processes. Research suggests that people who get less sleep may have lower metabolic rates. Poor sleep can also contribute to various thyroid problems.
The average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep per night. However, some people may need even more. Aging adults may need up to nine hours.
If you struggle to get enough sleep, try to adopt a regular sleep schedule and use other common tricks to help. If you’re worried about insomnia’s effect on your thyroid, talk to an integrative neurology expert for help.
Integrative Neurology for Thyroid Dysfunction
Dealing with thyroid dysfunction doesn’t have to feel hard or frustrating. The right lifestyle changes can boost your metabolism with ease, helping you take steps toward better thyroid health. Consider adopting the best practices above as you work to manage your condition.
When you’re ready to optimize your health, don’t forget that our integrative neurology experts are here to help. We focus on clinical nutrition and integrative medicine to uncover the root causes of your health issues. Contact us today to apply for a consultation!