Hyperthyroidism – Lifestyle Changes
One of the biggest causes of hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Diseases is stress. In many cases, if we get our stress levels under control, we can get hyperthyroidism under control. Graves’ Diseases is an autoimmune disease so it’s more complicated but the following recommendations will help nevertheless. I’ve listed below a number of lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health, whether you’re on medication or not. And believe me, I’m not trying to be a party pooper, I’m just trying to help you 🙂 For more information on managing stress, you can find my lifestyle recommendations here.
Smoking puts you at higher risk of thyroid disease if you don’t have thyroid issues and puts you at a very high risk of developing a serious eye disease, thyroid opthalmopathy (severely protruding eyes). Smoking also exposes you to many carcinogens and heavy metals so I highly recommend that you quit altogether.
Caffeine is pretty obvious as something to remove from your diet if your thyroid is overactive. Any type of stimulant should be removed or at the very least, drastically reduced from your system, at least until your thyroid becomes rebalanced.
Alcohol can be both friend and foe. Whether you have hyperthyroidism or Graves’ Disease or are simply at risk of developing either, please restrict your alcohol consumption to one or two drinks per week. If you have an occasional indulgence of more than one glass per week, make sure you drink lots of water with your alcohol and then take extra B complex and beet juice both before going out and the next morning to help cleanse your liver. Please do NOT take aspirin after drinking. It is not have a healthy way of preventing a hangover. Plenty of water before, during and after alcohol consumption is the best remedy. I found out the hard way that sugar and alcohol do not mix well together. So if you’re going to drink, don’t eat sweets … it will prevent many hangovers.
My recipe for a beet, carrot, apple, lemon and ginger juice can be found here.
Essential Oils have amazing healing abilities. The best oils for combatting hyperthyroidism are:
- Black spruce
The above oils induce relaxation, calmness, concentration, inner vision; they calm anxiety, fear, stress and restlessness. These oils are best used with a diffuser. I never recommend consuming essential oils and there have been a lot of warnings about this, so err on the side of caution and don’t ingest essential oils. You can inhale them or add them to a bit of olive or coconut oil to apply to your skin. You can use them in body butters containing shea butter, coconut oil or beeswax.
There are many options for essential oils with Young Living and doTerra being two of the biggest, most well known companies. They are not, however, the only legitimate essential oil companies. I recommend that you do your research and if you’re just not sure whether an oil is safe or not, you can always reach out to me and I will be happy to help.
Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi are all wonderful forms mental relaxation. Yoga and Tai Chi also provide you with wonderful forms of gentle exercise so as to not stress your body any more than it already is. They all force you to become mindful of what you are doing, of blocking out the “noise” of everyday life and slowing down your breath and your internal systems. I recommend incorporating one or all of these 2 or 3 times per week.
I also recommend that you incorporate weight-bearing exercises for strengthening bones and building muscle since hyperthyroidism can deplete your calcium supplies and cause you to burn too much muscle. You don’t have to lift heavy weights and I only recommend weight training 2 or 3 days per week. You can even use bodyweight exercise to improve bone and muscle strength but please talk to your doctor or a personal trainer who has experience working with people who have thyroid issues.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to make modifications to your lifestyle that will help manage hyperthyroidism. Please don’t take this lightly. Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease can cause some very serious health conditions as I describe here.
Until next time, have an awesome week!
Sandy O’Shea, CNP
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