Updated: Apr 11, 2019
Thyroid conditions are a growing concern, especially among woman. Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hashimoto's, and graves disease are among the common thyroid conditions we see these days. The thyroid is an amazing gland. It is considered the metabolic master because it influences every cell in our bodies. Disorders of this gland affect things like sex drive, weight, energy, fertility, menstruation, skin health, mood, immunity and digestion.
The thyroid requires some key nutrients in order to perform it's functions properly. Iodine is one of these nutrients. Sea vegetables are considered the richest source of iodine. If you're not a fan of fish, sea vegetables may be a good alternative.
Thyroid health is dependent on an unprocessed, whole-foods diet as well as stress management, a healthy gut and exercise. Following a hormone supportive diet and lifestyle can be an excellent strategy to preventing thyroid problems.
Sea vegetables make an excellent addition to a hormone supportive diet. Here are 5 reasons why: 1) They can help improve the look of your hair, skin and nails because they are rich in minerals. In fact, collectively they contain all fifty-six minerals and trace minerals necessary for maintaining good health.
2) The fiber or polysaccharides in sea vegetables, particularly alginates, bind heavy metals, making them ideal for detoxification support.
3) They help lower the amount of radioactive iodine absorbed by the thyroid.
4) They may be a very effective form of breast cancer prevention. There has been an association between low thyroid function and breast cancer, and seaweed is a super food for thyroid health. Seaweed also contains potent anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor compounds which have been shown to inhibit the growth of breast and pancreatic cancers.
5) They help improve insulin sensitivity. They've been shown in several studies to influence glycemic control, lower blood lipids, and increase antioxidant enzyme activities in people with diabetes. Blood sugar imbalances are problematic for the thyroid. Sea vegetable varieties:
Some ways to use them:
Soak arame or wakame in water and then add them to soups
Cook grains with a strip of kombu
Cut nori into strips, toast them in the oven on a low heat setting, or use them as wraps for veggies and hummus
Replace sea salt with kelp granules
I personally take a full spectrum whole-food powdered version that I add to smoothies or water. You don't notice the taste when added to smoothies but if you add it to water you might want to add a splash of juice. Note: It's important to mention that getting iodine from food sources such as sea vegetables is far more superior than supplementing with iodine. Sea vegetables provide a more balanced source of iodine whereas isolated iodine in the form of supplements may cause more harm than good, so use caution. If you are on any medications, make sure to discuss any potential contraindications of using seaweed with your doctor. Resources:
Thyroid disorders and breast cancer risk in Asian population: a nationwide population-based case-control study in Taiwan.Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism and breast cancer risk: a nationwide cohort study.Effects of seaweed supplementation on blood glucose concentration, lipid profile, and antioxidant enzyme activities in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitusAntioxidant, Antiproliferative, and Antiangiogenesis Effects of Polyphenol-Rich Seaweed (Sargassum muticum)Anti-Pancreatic Cancer Deliverables from Sea: First-Hand Evidence on the Efficacy, Molecular Targets and Mode of Action for Multifarious Polyphenols from Five Different Brown-Algae
Radioactive Iodine and the Effect of Consuming Seaweed