Every year May 25 is observed as World Thyroid Day to promote awareness and understanding of thyroid health and the advances made in treating thyroid diseases. World Thyroid Day was established in 2008 as part of a campaign led by the European Thyroid Association and the American Thyroid Association to emphasize the prevalence of thyroid diseases, to focus on the urgent need for education and prevention programs and to increase awareness of new treatment modalities.
The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the centre of the neck, is the master gland of metabolism. Thyroid hormones play a vital role in regulating metabolism and energy use and affect almost all of the body's organs. In the early stages, a person may not notice any symptoms. However, without treatment, hypothyroidism can lead to severe complications, such as infertility and heart disease.
On World Thyroid Day, we share 5 tips for healthy thyroid for you:
Stay lean and fit: A 2013 European Journal of Endocrinology study says that obesity is linked to the development of thyroid cancer. Maintain a healthy weight with clean eating and exercise to keep your thyroid gland healthy.
Increase iodine intake: Iodine is essential for thyroid health. Hormones such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are named T4 and T3 due to the number of iodine molecules they possess. Iodine deficiency is common, but iodine intake can be fortified by consuming dairy products and seafood.
Consume nuts: Nuts have high selenium content which is important to the thyroid as it is needed to convert thyroid hormone T4 to T3 as the enzymes required for this conversion are actually dependant on selenium. It is also a potent antioxidant; protecting the gland from oxidative stress. Broccoli, butter, eggs, fish, garlic, onion, turnips and seafood are also fantastic sources of selenium.
Hit the gym: Thyroid hormones help to regulate body weight. People with low levels of thyroid hormones can experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index (BMI) while a high level of hormones can result in weight loss. Hit the gym to control weight gain or loss.
Increase intake of anti-oxidants: The thyroid is very susceptible to oxidative stress. Berries like strawberries, raspberries and colourful vegetables that are high in anti-oxidants are extremely helpful to protect the thyroid. They are also must-haves if someone is suffering from an autoimmune thyroid disorder.