Thyroid Concerns? How Starting a Paleo Diet Can Kickstart Your Sluggish Thyroid

How Paleo Diet can Help Your Thyroid Dr HagmeyerThe Paleolithic diet, or Paelo diet, has been gaining popularity in recent years as more and more people have adopted the diet’s ground rules to simplified eating and have experienced numerous health benefits including weight loss, balanced energy, mental clarity, and improved immunity.  Also known as “the caveman diet”, the theory behind going Paleo is rooted in basic hunter-gatherer principles of our ancestors.  Grass-fed meat, fish, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts are staples in the Paleo diet while grains, starches, and dairy are to be avoided.

But what does the Paleo Diet have to do with Low Thyroid?

Low thyroid function is often the product of the body’s autoimmune response to elevated TPO, or thyroid antibodies, present in the blood stream.  High TPO triggers the immune system to attack the thyroid tissue causing a host of undesirable symptoms.  When examining your diet in relation to thyroid function, the role of gluten is likely a key contributor to a sluggish thyroid. Because the protein component of gluten, called glaidin, has a molecular structure very similar to that of the thyroid gland, the body becomes confused.  When the immune system flags gluten in the bloodstream, it triggers the production of antibodies to destroy the foreign invader however this attack is also launched on the thyroid in the process.  Therefore it is absolutely essential to eliminate all gluten.

Because the Paleo diet eliminates grains, and ultimately gluten, from the body’s digestive tract, the body’s autoimmune response against the thyroid slows down drastically.  While avoiding glute can feel challenging at first, it’s worth the commitment.  For someone with thyroid issues, even one small “cheat” can set your healing back up to 6 months!  This illustrates just how destructive gluten can be to the digestive tract and immune system. Once this main trigger is removed, the healing can begin.

Paleo tends to be a very restorative diet for those with autoimmune diseases since other potential food allergens are also eliminated such as trans fats, hydrogenated oils, highly processed foods, sugars, soy, dairy, and grains. Equally important are the nutrient rich foods that Paleo promotes: colorful vegetables, protein packed meats, healthy fats from nuts & seeds, and vitamin filled fruits.  These foods boost immunity, repair the digestive tract from leaky gut, and provide your thyroid with the tools it needs to function well, right down to a cellular level.

Steps to Giving Paleo a Try:

  1. Start with plenty of sources of lean protein.  Eggs, grass-fed meat, and wild-caught fish should be included in your diet.
  2. Liberal amounts of vegetables should be eaten with every meal.
  3. Fruits are also encouraged, especially those lower in naturally occurring sugars and high in antioxidants such as berries.
  4. Elimination of Gluten and Grains.
  5. Visually divide your plate into thirds and devote 1/3 to protein rich meat, 1/3 to vegetables, and 1/3 to fruit
  6. Cook with saturated fats such as coconut oil and clarified butter. Use olive oil and lemon juice as a simple and clean way to dress salads but avoid cooking with olive oil at extremely high heat.
  7. Drink plenty of water throughout the day both before and after meals.
  8. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.  Sugary energy drinks, soft drinks, and juices are also discouraged.
  9. Eliminate all dairy, other than butter.
  10. Eliminate grains, starches, and legumes.

While the conventional food pyramid was built on a foundation of grain and dairy consumption, the theory behind Paleo kicks this dated ideology to the curb.  As a result, adopting a Paleo lifestyle may be an adjustment at first, but the benefits you’ll feel as your sluggish thyroid starts performing properly will make it well worth the effort.

A Few Takeaway Points From Today’s Article:

  • Thyroid function and diet are connected.  Gluten is a key player in how someone with an autoimmune disease can perpetuate or improve their condition.
  • Components of gluten and thyroid tissue are molecularly similar so when gluten enters the blood stream, the body launches an attack which ultimately strikes the thyroid as well.
  • Eliminating gluten and following a Paleo diet can help reverse a sluggish thyroid.
  • Follow the steps listed above for introducing Paleo into your lifestyle.

If you’d like help getting your thyroid working properly, we’d like to work with you in developing an individualized plan that fits your lifestyle.  We can help you explore dietary changes that can improve your thyroid health.  Contact our office today to set up an appointment.

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