What Is Your Thyroid and Why Is It Important?
Your thyroid is a small gland that produces vital hormones for your body. How does it work and how can you tell if yours is healthy?
The Secret to Maximum Energy Levels
This tiny gland is the production center for hormones that control your metabolism, or your body’s energy production. The next time you feel energized and ready for anything, you can thank your metabolism. Of course, the hidden hero in this whole process is really your thyroid gland!
The thyroid creates two hormones, called T3 and T4, that tell your cells how much energy you need. If your body is running low on energy, the thyroid produces more of these essential hormones.
Because the thyroid gland has the power to control your metabolism, you really want it on your side when you’re trying to achieve that slim tummy. Not only does a fast metabolism increase the amount of weight you lose during exercise, it also helps your body burn more calories all day long.
It’s a LOT easier to keep the weight off for good when you have a healthy thyroid gland. This is important for people who have a desk job, since you depend on your metabolism to use up calories while you work.
Mom-to-Be’s Best Friend
A healthy thyroid is essential during pregnancy. A woman’s body needs tons of energy as it builds the tiny life inside her. Since babies don’t have their own thyroid until about 12 weeks, mothers have to produce enough hormones for two during most of the pregnancy.
This spectacular gland works overtime to create enough energy packets for feeding and caring for the baby, which explains the superhuman job many moms do. Thyroid hormones also help a fetus’s brain and body develop normally.
The Signs of a Healthy Thyroid (or Not)
How can you tell if your thyroid gland is doing its job? One of the main ways is how you feel. In addition to helping you stay energized, the thyroid is also involved in controlling your body temperature, heartbeat, skin healing, hair growth, bone development and brain health. If these things are good, then your thyroid is probably in excellent health!
- Do you feel energized or exhausted most of the time?
- Do you get cold easily even though everyone else is warm?
- Do you have trouble losing weight and gain it all back quickly?
- Do you forget things a lot, wake up depressed or have “brain fog” constantly?
- Does your hair look fresh and healthy or dry and brittle?
If the answers aren’t what you expect, don’t panic. There are other causes of dry hair, depression and forgetfulness besides thyroid problems. The important thing is to pay attention to what your body is telling you and see if better thyroid nutrition improves things.
The Best Diet for Thyroid Health
Your thyroid needs three specific nutrients to function correctly: iodine, selenium and zinc. If you’re running low on these things, make sure your normal diet includes several of these foods:
You also need plenty of green veggies, nuts and fresh fruits so your metabolism has lots of fiber and protein to draw from. Protein-rich foods support the thyroid and boost your metabolism.
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