Hypothyroidism is a common disorder, and, like many diseases is becoming more and more common as time goes on. One in eight women will suffer from hypothyroidism at some point in their lifetime, and men who are overweight are also at high risk.
While there are many causes for thyroid dysfunction, stress is one of the main reasons why thyroid function slows and hypothyroidism takes root. It’s also the main reason that auto-immune disease is turned on. Your adrenal glands that sit atop your kidneys are responsible for pumping out your stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) when you’re busy, constantly on the go, or working late nights.
Stress inhibits your thyroid gland’s ability to convert the inactive T4 thyroid hormone into the active T3 hormone in the body. Is your diet, exercise or lifestyle placing you at risk of hypothyroidism? Let’s take a closer look at seven common ways stress negatively impacts your thyroid. With the case of auto-immune disease as soon as the hormone is produced you body attacks it as if it is a foreign body.
Causes of stress that have this effect.:
1. You’re Too Busy
In today’s 24/7 society, we are constantly on the go and busier than ever before. Stress is not simply the inability to cope, it’s also how “busy” you are throughout the day. While technology and connectivity can provide you with incredible tools to be more productive, it can also leave your brain and body stuck in “stimulation” overload.
2. You’re Too Caffeinated
This is a common theme for many people: you wake up tired, you need a boost of energy and you reach for a morning cup of coffee. While coffee has a vast array of health benefits, you can get too much of a good thing. Remember, caffeine stays in your system for 6 hours and may harm your sleeping patterns.
3. You Don’t Sleep Long Enough
You’ve likely heard the old saying “you’re burning the candle at both ends,” which effectively means you’re not resting enough to adequately recover from your busy days. Sleep is the most effective tool you have to “rebuild” the candle you’re burning at both ends during the day. The only problem is, you’re likely not getting enough.
If you don’t sleep enough or fail to adequately recover, stress hormone levels increase and thyroid function beings to slow. Aim to get to bed by 11:00 p.m. most nights of the week to upgrade recovery and support a healthy thyroid.
4. You Check Too Many Emails At Bedtime
We live in an age where watching television on your laptop and checking emails are the norm at bedtime. While this may seem convenient, your brain and body have evolved over millions of years without the stimulation of. Research shows that exposure to blue light from screens too close to bedtime leads to poorer quality of sleep.
5. You Crave Too Many Simple Carbs
What is the natural response to high stress levels? You guessed it, strong cravings for sugar and simple carbs. Whether it’s high-glycemic cereals or fruit-laden smoothies in the morning, midday snack bars or afternoon treats, constant and regular sugar cravings are a clear red flag your body is stressed, and it’s likely impacting your thyroid health.
Curb your sugar cravings with snacks with high protein and fat content, like grass-fed jerky and nuts, plain yogurt or an herbal tea before bed.
6. You Drink Too Much Alcohol
After a busy day, long week, or intense project at work many people find it relaxing to unwind with an evening drink. Alcohol is classified as a nervine, or substance that helps to relax the nervous system. While this can support recovery from stress, the key is the dose. A glass of wine might help take the edge off, but if you finish the bottle, your nervous system takes a serious hit.
Try cutting out alcohol full stop for 4 weeks, or if you’re an avid drinker, reduce your intake by 50%.
7. You Exercise Too Much
For many people, adding more movement to their day –walking, strength training, yoga – is a great way to relieve stress and improve resiliency. If you suffer from sluggish thyroid function, you may struggle with weight gain and then desire to add more exercise to shed those pounds.
However, if you’re already an avid exerciser, you probably don’t need more exercise, you need more efficient exercise.
The problem starts when you add more training volume. High volume training at the same intensity can dramatically raise stress hormone levels and doesn’t provide the right stimulus to improve fitness or body composition.
By creating an environment for rest, recovery and improved resiliency, you can maintain your productivity in today’s fast-paced world without sacrificing the health of your thyroid.
Try some of these:
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
2. Organic Turkey Breast
3. Fermented Foods
4. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon
7. Dark Chocolate