Lifestyles Changes for People with Hypothyroidism
In addition to acupuncture and Chinese herbs to treat your hypothyroidism, there are 4 activities required to allow you to feel your very best: exercise, healthy diet, stress reduction, and detoxification.
Regular exercise is an absolute necessity for anyone with hypothyroidism. It can include any type of cardio and weight training and/or Yoga. Cardio workouts including walking, running, using elliptical or other cardio machines are very important as they will help reduce fat, take weight off, and help maintain your proper weight. Yoga practitioners believe that Yoga has a very positive impact on hypothyroidism. The practice of the following asanas may indeed have a beneficial effect:
- Shoulder Stand
- Inverted Pose
- One-legged Forward Bend
- Fish Pose
- Plow Pose
- Cat Stretch
- Sun Salutation
Eat a Healthy Diet
Dr. Liang recommends the consumption of specific foods to improve your condition and the avoidance of others.
Foods to consume include:
- Sea vegetables including nori, hijiki, kombu, and arame. These are good source of iodine which is important to maintain normal thyroid function.
- Omega-3 fatty acid foods including walnuts and flaxseed and fatty fish including salmon and sardines. These help produce thyroid hormone.
- Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium which can help with thyroid hormone production.
- String beans are very beneficial for thyroid gland.
Foods to avoid include:
- Soy products including Tofu. Soy may increase the level of estrogen which can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone. Eating fermented foods like tempeh once a week is considered OK.
- Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peaches, strawberries, peanut, radishes, spinach, and millet are considered goitrogenic foods. This means that they can lower the production of thyroid hormone by reducing the amount of iodine in the body. However, if you cook these, the heat destroys the goitrogen and makes them safe to eat as long as you consume small amounts.
- Caffeinated beverages can affect absorption of thyroid medicine. If you must drink coffee or tea containing caffeine, wait at least one hour after taking any thyroid medication.
Any form of stress reduction is acceptable. Meditation and Yoga are two of the more popular methods to reduce stress. Daily meditation can have a very positive impact overall on your system. If you have never tried meditation before, we recommend that you try the guided meditation class either at The Three Jewels in lower Manhattan or the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art in Staten Island. Getting at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep is also very important in reducing your stress.
Detoxify Your Body
The liver is our internal filtration system. The food, liquids, and even air we breathe is full of toxins. Our livers filter and store metals including lead and mercury and our liver must also deal with pesticides in the foods we eat. These can interfere with thyroid hormone production.
Dr. Liang recommends a two-week liver detoxification program using Chinese medicine at least 3 times a year to cleanse and detoxify the system. You can also use a sauna or steam bath a few times per week to sweat out the heavy metals and other toxins in the body. A hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom salt will help draw out impurities from the body.
To read about Dr. Liang’s acupuncture for hypothyroidism, click here.