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Archive for February, 2011

Coconut Oil is Great for Your Thyroid!

Your thyroid is the body’s metabolic engine and one of the most important glands in your body. The Thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland that wraps around your windpipe.  It is located in the front of the neck just behind the Adam’s apple area.  The role of the Thyroid gland is basically that of a metabolic gatekeeper.  The hormones secreted, regulate the rate of function of almost all tissues in the body. It controls the way you metabolize food, the way you use energy, lose and gain weight, how well or poorly you sleep, the condition of your hair and nails, and much, much more. We know that women are more prone to thyroid conditions than men.

One of the best ways to support your thyroid gland as you journey through life is by eating healthy, exercising and reducing your exposure to harmful foods and toxins. As we grow older our thyroid faces more challenges. Women face these during pregnancy and menopause. Men also face hormonal challenges as we age. As we get older, our ability to create energy is reduced. Once we hit 30 years old our body will lose 300 calories of energy potential every decade.  So, at age 40 your body requires 300 calories less than you did at 30 to support the same weight and at age 50 you lose another 300 calories of energy making potential. Exercise along with healthy foods is one way to counter the aging metabolism.  Part of this energy loss may be due to the natural aging of our body, in particular the thyroid and partly due to our dietary and lifestyle habits.

Our thyroid, like other organs in our body requires specific nutrients to work properly.  If you have any of the following conditions, you may have a thyroid issue; fatigue, feeling exhausted much of the time, sleepiness weight gain or weight loss, bulging eyes, swollen face and eyes, cold hands and feet, eczema, psoriasis, anxiety, dizziness, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, high cholesterol (even with medication), altered menstrual cycles, constipation, bloating, hair loss, thinning eye brows, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, feeling “spaced out”, feeling clumsy, a lack of coordination, ridges in your nails or brittle nails, and thinning hair (or outright loss of hair), depression and mood swings. The thyroid plays a major role throughout many of the body’s systems. Thyroid test do not always tell the story about your thyroid health. I have seen many people with normal thyroid test that had thyroid dysfunction. If you think you are having thyroid issues, consult with a doctor.

You can also do a thyroid exam yourself . Check out this website for instructions on how to do the self-examination.  If your neck is swollen you may a goiter which is an sign that the thyroid is having health issues. It can be caused by too much or too little iodine, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and other thyroid health conditions.

The function of the thyroid is highly dependent on the following nutrients. A deficiency in any of them may interfere with its ability to work optimally. There are other nutrients the thyroid needs however those listed below seem to be the ones most people are lacking.

Iodine the best absorbed and metabolized source of iodine for the thyroid is nascent iodine.

Selenium

Zinc

Copper

Iron  ( although important, too much iron can aggravate thyroid issues )

Vitamin A ( all orange foods such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato and salmon have the antioxidant beta carotene which the body can converts to Vitamin A)

B2

B3

Vitamin C

Vitamin E

The best foods for these nutrients

Iodine Primary sources: sea vegetables (kelp, dulse, hijiki, nori, arame, wakame, kombu) and seafood (salmon, sardines), as well as iodized sea salt.
Secondary sources: egg yolk, asparagus, lima beans, mushrooms, spinach, summer squash, Swiss chard, garlic

Selenium: Brazil nuts, tuna, mushrooms, halibut, soybeans, sunflower seeds (Note: selenium content of land-based foods is contingent on soil substrate selenium levels.)

Zinc: Fresh sardines, turkey, , split peas, whole grains, sunflower seeds, pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, ginger root, maple syrup

Copper: Beef, shiitake mushrooms, dark chocolate, tomato paste, pearled barley, nuts, beans (white beans, chickpeas), sunflower seeds

Iron: Clams, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, white beans, blackstrap molasses, lentils, spinach

Vitamin A: (beta-carotene form) Kale, sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash/pumpkin, spinach, cantaloupe, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce

Vitamin B2: (riboflavin) Brewer’s yeast, almonds, wheat germ, wild rice, mushrooms, egg yolks

Vitamin B3: (niacin) Brewer’s yeast, rice bran, wheat bran, peanuts (with skin), poultry white meat

Vitamin B6: (pyroxidine) Brewer’s yeast, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, fish (tuna, salmon, trout), beans ( lentils, lima beans, navy beans, garbanzos, pinto beans), walnuts, brown rice, bananas

Vitamin C: Guava, peppers (chili, Bell, sweet), kiwifruit, citrus, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, papaya, parsley, greens (kale, turnip, collard, mustard )

Vitamin E: Whole grains, almonds, beans, sunflower seeds, peanuts, liver, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, rice bran and wheat bran

Other foods and nutrients that help our thyroid

Algae: algae contain most vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, many enzymes and other phytonutrients that aid in immune function and detoxification of the body’s many organs. They are also rich in antioxidants and chlorophyll which are powerful at protecting and detoxing the body’s many organs.  Chlorophyll has shown an ability to make the thyroid healthier. The algae, haematococcus pluvialis, is the richest source of astaxanthin, which is the most powerful food antioxidant on the planet.  Algae are one of natures truly amazing super foods.

Maca: Maca root has nutrients that help balance the pituitary gland which gives instruction to the thyroid gland. This traditional South American root also has nutrients that the thyroid needs. Maca root has zinc, B-complex vitamins, iron and copper.

Omega 3 fatty acids;( salmon, sardines, ground flax seed, walnuts and fish oil ) omega 6; most grains and vegetable oils

Gamma-Linolenic Acid: helps balance hormones, create energy, protect nerves

Black and red radish have been used by some doctors in the old Soviet Union as accepted medical treatment for hypothyroidism. Raphanin, the main sulphur part in radishes, is chiefly responsible for keeping the production of thyroxine and calcitonin (a peptide hormone) in normal balance.

Holy Basil helps modulate insulin levels and helps increase thyroid hormone production.

Gugulipid has been used to boost thyroid output  ( seek the advice of a health professional before using herbs for any health issue )

Ashawaganda, and ancient herb is considered to be very effective at helping improve thyroid function. ( seek the advice of a health professional before using herbs for any health issue )

Biotin is a B Vitamin that has important metabolic functions for the thyroid.

Coconut oil: extra virgin coconut oil is very healthy for the thyroid. It speeds up the metabolism and can help with weight loss.

Magnesium: magnesium is used in over 300 metabolic actions in our bodies.

Foods should you avoid if you have thyroid issues.

Goitrogenic foods interfere with the thyroids ability to make certain hormons. In a health person that eats goitrogenic foods the thyroid compensates by making more of the hormone. A person with an unhealthy thyroid the thyroid just can’t make up the difference. Goitrogenic foods include; broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, brussel sprouts, collard greens, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, soy and turnips. A chemical in soybeans mixes with iodine, blocking the absorption of iodine, which is crucial for the production of thyroxin.

Gluten: Like goitrogenic foods, gluten interferes with the thyroids ability to make certain hormones. Gluten is in wheat species in all their various forms — durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, triticale, einkorn, emmer, graham, malt, couscous, seitan, bulgur, and faro — plus wheat’s first cousins, rye and barley. Oats are a second cousin to wheat, and they may also contain gluten proteins, but generally in much lower amounts and more often as a result of cross-contamination in growing, storage or processing.

Refined and processed foods such as hydrogenated oils ( trans fats ), white breads, pastries, candies, and sugary drinks. These can create resistance to insulin and an imbalance in hormone levels.

Polyunsaturated oils: vegetables oils are a combination of corn, soy and other vegetable oils. They are harmful to your thyroid and are also found in mayonnaise and salad dressings. Use coconut oil or olive oil.

Caffeine: caffeine causes disruption of the thyroid and other glands.

Fried foods; are usually fried in vegetable oils and have a flour based breading that turns to blood sugar quickly. So this is doubly bad.

High glycemic foods: white sugar, white potatoes, white breads, white rice, pastries, candies, cookies, sugary drinks etc…they cause insulin resistance and have negative effect on several hormones. Aim to eat foods with a GI of 55 or a GL of 10 or less the majority of the time. Use this glycemic list as a tool.

If your thyroid is healthy, keep it that way by eating healthy and avoiding toxins. If you have thyroid issues certainly avoid those foods that are harmful to the thyroid and make sure your diet is rich in a variety of nutrients with adequate protein and low in simple sugars. The thyroid may be small but it performs an incredibly complex and important job.  Always discuss health issues with your doctor.

Healthy Wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

WebND

The contents of this blog is not and should not be  considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

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Your immune system is your defense against toxins such as drugs and environmental chemicals, rogue cells that cause cancer, fungi, parasites , viruses and bacteria that cause infections like the flu’s, colds and respiratory and sinus infections.

Can you boost your immune system naturally? Science has mixed reviews on how to improve our immune system.  However, many studies do show that certain nutrients are critical for healthy immune function.

Our immune system is highly complex and is influenced in many ways. A healthy immune system should protect us from almost any type of virus, bacteria, fungus, parasite or toxin. If  healthy, it should be able to stop almost any foreign invader or rogue cell trying to harm our body.

Our immune function is controlled through a highly complex system of organs and processes called the immune system. The immune system has many ways of protecting us.  For example; your skin has antimicrobial properties and special sensory cells that act as part of your immune defense system.  Your tears, mucus and saliva have special enzymes that breakdown the cell wall of invading bacteria.  Since the nasal passage and lungs are coated in mucus, many germs not killed  are immediately trapped in the mucus and soon swallowed. Mast cells also line the nasal passages, throat, lungs and skin and alert other parts of the immune system to respond.  Inside each cell another type of immune system functions. Several enzymes act as defenders to protect the inner health of the cell. Two of these; Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD) and Glutathione peroxidase protect the cell against free radical attacks. In the liver and other cells, another class of enzymes collectively called xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes work to detoxify toxins in our bodies. These xenobiotic removing enzymes are a part of another system, Cytochrome P-450 & P448. Cytochrome P450 & 448 are so powerful, drug manufacturers must figure out ways to defeat them so their drugs will work in the body. Hummm, I guess that’s why drugs have so many negative side effects.  They alter the body’s ability to protect itself ! The health of our immune system and it’s ability to protect our body from harm is dependent on many factors.  Researchers still don’t fully understand exactly how the immune system operates. They do concede, that how we live and eat may play a large role on our immune system’s health status.

Our diet and lifestyle play a large role in determining how effective our immune system is at protecting us.  Those enzymes we just read about need many nutrients in the body for them to work effectively. It’s not just what we eat and don’t eat, it is also how we live.

Let’s look at the most powerful influences on your immune systems health status.

Negatives

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Emotional toxicity  hatred, anger, jealousy, resentment, self-defeating thoughts
  • Isolation
  • Cigarettes
  • Caffeine (in excess)
  • Alcohol (in excess)
  • Refined and Processed foods
  • Simple Sugars
  • Lack of exercise

Positives for our Immune System

Lifestyle

  • Relaxation
  • Pure water- spring water or purified water
  • Adequate sleep- 7 to 8 hours
  • Love, family, community involvement, self-appreciation
  • Positive attitude
  • Laughter
  • Being physical activity gardening, hiking etc… , exercise daily (movement is important for our lymphatic system)
  • A spiritual connection
  • A diet rich in diversity, including vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains (however limit), nuts and seeds and to a lesser degree wild caught cold water fish and organic turkey or chicken breast.

Diet

It’s common knowledge that certain foods and nutrients boost our immune function. You can find thousands of sites publishing these list.  What most don’t tell you, is,  what you do and how you eat consistently, has the biggest impact on your health.  For example; if you regularly eat refined ( foods that have been altered, removing most of the nutritional integrity of the original food) and processed foods ( foods such as luncheon meats, processed cheese, prepared dinners in a package) drink soft drinks or smoke,  taking a multivitamin or occasionally eating a few healthy foods isn’t going to have much of a positive impact on your health.  Refined and processed foods not only give little nutrition, they also pollute our bodies with harmful preservatives and additives that can diminish our health.

Foods that Promote Immune Function ( all plant-based foods have immune boosting potential)

Nutrients Important for Immune Function

All nutrients are important for our health, however a few are vitally important for our immune system to function optimally. If you have a diet rich in a variety of healthy foods, you will give yourself the best chance to build a healthy body.  Remember, it is the consistency of what we do.   If you live a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time you should build health. An occasional indulgence isn’t going to effect your health in a negative way. Obviously the reverse is true; live unhealthy 80% of the time and have a healthy treat occasionally and you will still build poor health.

Eat a proper balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to insure your ability to build a healthy body.  Your daily calories should contain 50 to 60% carbohydrates, 25 to 35% healthy fats and 10 to 20% protein.

Nutrients Vital for Immune System Health

Vitamin A

Vitamin B6 & B12

Vitamin C

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

Bioflavenoids

Carotenoids

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Probiotics

Selenium

 Zinc

 

Supplements for immune function

Oregano oil (make sure its therapeutic grade and take with water, it is very strong and hot)

Nutritional Yeast (boost our ability to kill bacteria and viruses) (do not confuse with brewers yeast or bakers yeast)

Zinc L-monomethionine

Raw Honey

Summary

Stop eating body polluters and nutrient robber like fast foods, processed foods and refined foods. They overload your immune system and provide very little nutrition needed to keep your immune system healthy. Eat a mostly plant based diet with lots of differently colored veggies and fruits. Keep the sugar in your diet to a minimum. This also means staying away from grain flours because they turn to blood sugar quickly. Exercise often and stay hydrated!!

If you really want to maximize your opportunity for optimal health, adopt a life style that includes a healthy diet, rest, relaxation, love, laughter and a strong spiritual foundation.  In addition, avoid exposure to those who are sick when possible.  Practice good sanitation at all times.

 

Healthy Wishes,

Wally Bishop C.N.C. I.N.H.C.

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Wellness With Wally

Viveshake

@WallyBishopCNC

The contents of the email or written communication are not medical advice and should not be considered as such!  This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have medical issues and before changing your diet or lifestyle or taking herbal or dietary supplements. Never start an exercise program with getting your doctors approval. Never quit taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.  Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.


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