About Thyroid Gland:
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine organ located below Adam’s apple. It is a very significant gland that produces thyroid hormones which regulate and maintain the body’s metabolism, temperature and heartbeat. Things start to get messy when the health of your thyroid gland goes haywire. Some of the thyroid disease’s symptoms include fast heart rate, unintentional weight loss or weight gain, increase in bowel movements, fatigue, mood swings, depression, and muscle and joint aches. It is likely to affect women 5 to 8 times more than men.
Dealing with thyroid disease can be particularly very challenging. Uncontrolled thyroid gland acts as a catalyst to a list of other serious ailments that can bring down a serious havoc to your well-being. As per a number of reliable health organizations, literally 200 million people all across the globe are affected by thyroid gland related problems. This is definitely a staggering number. This is why it is important to avoid habits that contribute to a bad thyroid health
8 Bad Habits that Can Affect Your Thyroid Gland Health
Here is a list of 8 common bad habits that can drastically impact your thyroid gland and you must consciously avoid these.
Smoking and thyroid gland have a cause and effect relationship. Excessive smoking results in an increase in the probability of developing a thyroid disease. Tobacco comprises of harmful substances such as cyanide that can affect both the function of the thyroid hormones and also the thyroid gland. When cyanide is inhaled through smoking, it gets converted to thiocyanate, which is an anti-thyroid agent. Thiocyanate restricts the absorption of iodine into the thyroid. This results into a substantial decrease in the production of hormones that are required to regulate muscles, liver and other body organs. Smoking is one bad habit which greatly affects your thyroid health.
Smoking, majorly impacts a person’s thyroid gland health. If you are a smoker then the wisest thing to do to save yourself from acquiring thyroid disease is to quit smoking immediately.
#2. Sedentary Lifestyle
Leading a sedentary lifestyle with less or no physical activity can cause a number of medical conditions. One way in which it can impact your health is by contributing negatively to your thyroid gland’s health. Health experts suggest that imbalanced dietary habits coupled with lack of sufficient physical activity is dragging today’s world population including the young generation towards hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid Gland). This results in insufficient production of the thyroid hormone, which dramatically affects your thyroid gland’s health and also a number of organs and processes dependent on the thyroid hormone (for example metabolism) in the human body. So you need to get more active for the sake of your thyroid health.
To avoid acquiring any thyroid related disease you must get enough physical activity and eat the right kind of food in the right quantities.
#3. Poor Stress Control
High levels of stress can be a major trigger to a number of health conditions. Some people are habituated to stress and this is very bad for the thyroid health. One such obnoxious health condition that gets triggered by stressing too much is thyroid disease (both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism). Your endocrine system is very sensitive to your emotional state. When you undergo through an intense situation that causes you stress, it can affect the production of thyroid hormone. As a result, the hormones become unbalanced in the human body which not only causes hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, but also impacts the health of other organs. Stressing out is a common habit these days which has a negative effect on your thyroid health.
In the kind of life most of the individuals are leading today; it’s very difficult to avoid stressful conditions and circumstances completely. However, one can adopt the practice of effective stress controlling methods, techniques and exercises to keep all stress-related diseases at bay.
#4. Alcohol Consumption
If you like to party once in a while and alcoholic beverages are on your ‘like list,’ then it’s time to reconsider for the sake of your thyroid health. The severe negative effects of alcohol consumption are nothing new; however, it may interest you to know that one of the most affected organs due to alcohol consumption is thyroid gland.
Drinking high levels of alcohol can drastically impact your thyroid gland health. Alcohol consumption results in fluctuations in the blood sugar levels, causing strain on the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary feedback loop. A repeated alcohol consumption pattern negatively impacts the endocrine system. Fatigued adrenals can slow down the thyroid gland and affect the immune system and the gut. Alcohol also majorly impacts the function of the liver and liver plays a very vital role in simulating the production of thyroid hormone. Malfunctioning of the thyroid gland due to alcohol consumption can make you fat, depressed and fatigued. It also leads to various metabolic problems.
So if you are fond of alcohol, it’s time to give up in the name of good thyroid health.
#5. Consuming Too Much Gluten
Whether you are gluten intolerant or not, consumption of excess gluten can majorly affect your thyroid gland. Experts suggest that most people diagnosed with thyroid problems are likely gluten intolerant. If your gluten consumption is high then you may end up suffering from thyroid problems, as a consequence of how this protein affects the body. The immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissues to detect gluten in the body. It results in a metabolic and inflammatory reaction that immensely impacts your quality of life and also your thyroid health.
Opting for a gluten-free diet can improve your thyroid functions and the overall thyroid gland.
#6. Following Low or a High Iodine Diet
Consumption of a diet which is low in iodine or high in iodine is not recommended. Your body needs an optimum level of iodine in its system to maintain the correct levels of thyroid hormone in the body. Low levels of iodine are generally responsible for hypothyroidism whereas excessive levels of iodine may lead to hyperthyroidism. So the habit of following a diet which is either high or low in iodine affects your thyroid health in a bad way.
If you are consuming low levels of iodine then you can add foods like blueberries, sea salt, marine vegetables, potatoes, beans, natural yogurt, chocolate, pineapple and peas to your diet for better thyroid health. You must do this carefully and do not exceed the required levels of iodine that your body needs.
#7. Eating Too Much Sugar
Do you have a sweet tooth? If you just nodded your head in a yes, then it’s time to cut down on your sweet intake because the bad news is that high sugar consumption is bad for your thyroid gland. Minerals and vitamins play a key role in keeping the thyroid gland and adrenal gland strong; and in maintaining the right metabolism rate. When you consume a lot of refined sugar, it depletes the minerals and the vitamins, which directly affect your thyroid gland. Extra sugar puts a strain on your adrenal and thyroid gland.
Do you know, sugar also mucks with your gut bacteria? Sugar persistently feeds on the bad bacteria in your intestine. This maintains their numbers, seldom at the expense of the beneficial or the good bacteria and leads to a leaky gut. Experts link leaky gut with thyroid and other autoimmune diseases. Now if you are wondering what does gut have to do with thyroid? Well, your gut is the house for approximately 20% of T3 production. You can do the math to extrapolate the amount of damage to your thyroid health.
If you cut down on the consumption of sugar, then you can get more inclined towards maintaining an optimum thyroid gland health.
#8. Over Consumption of Vegetable Oils and Fats
The thyroid gland depends highly on healthy cholesterol and fats in order to produce the optimum thyroid hormone level for the entire body. If you consume vegetable oils like margarine, it can lead to the leaky gut syndrome. This results in remnants of food particles that do not get digested, to penetrate your bloodstream. These food particles over activate your body’s immune system and as a result the white blood cells attacks various organs including the thyroid gland. So eating too much of junk food, which is rich in oil and fats negatively affects your thyroid health.
So the sooner you cut down on vegetable oils and fats, the better it will be for your thyroid gland.
With the kind of lifestyle we lead today, it is very easy to fall prey to a number of thyroid-related diseases, such as hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Graves ’ Disease and Goiter’s. With the world evolving to be a global village and easy access to knowledge and information, you must do everything in your power to avoid acquiring diseases and living a healthy life. This requires making healthy choices and avoiding unhealthy habits that can only crush the purpose of healthy living.
Do you identify yourself with any of these habits that affect your thyroid health? If so, you should right away avoid these habits as much as you can to protect your thyroid. Even if you are not vulnerable to thyroid problems, bad habits such as these can often be a probable trigger to thyroid issues.
- Mayo Clinic – Thyroid Diseases: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thyroid-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20355336
- Cleveland Clinic – Thyroid Disorders: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8541-thyroid-disease-overview
- American Thyroid Association – Thyroid Hormone Treatment: https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-hormone-treatment/
- Healthline – 7 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Thyroid Health: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/thyroid-diet-tips
- WebMD – Leaky Gut Syndrome: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/ss/slideshow-leaky-gut-overview
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