An estimated 20 million Americans have an under-active thyroid — a condition that affects eight times more women than men and causes fatigue, weight gain, and blue moods. There are so many factors that contribute to thyroid slowdowns — from diet and nutrition to hormones and genetics —that getting a diagnosis and treatment often results in multiple doctor appointments and medications. To help save you time and money, we gathered the most cost-effective and study-proven remedies to heal an under-active thyroid fast.
Sit up straight.
When you slouch, it creates a curve in the spine — too much of which can compress the veins and arteries in the upper back and neck that feed the thyroid, which can ultimately result in diminished performance of the gland. Researchers credit an upright posture with increasing the production of thyroid-stimulating hormones that renew vitality. A study in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that straightening your spine for as little as five minutes can boost thyroid function and reduce feelings of fatigue by a whopping 122 percent. For a total-body energy boost, tuck a rolled-up towel between your lower back and your seat back to support your spine and prevent poor posture.
Turn up the tunes.
Whether you’re making dinner or putting away the laundry, play some relaxing background music. Japanese researchers say soothing tunes cut your levels of thyroid- rattling stress hormones by 46 percent and can help heal an under-active thyroid by boosting energy levels by 40 percent. Tip: Choose a tempo of 60 beats per minute or less. A good choice? Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay.”
Use this seasoning.
Seaweed gomasio is a yummy low-sodium salt substitute made from roasted sesame seeds and dried seaweed — and using just 1 tsp. daily could boost thyroid function by 35 percent. Turns out this flavor-booster brims with iodine, a key building block of thyroid hormones. Find it at discount and grocery stores.
Go for a stroll.
When you’re dealing with the energy drain caused by a slow thyroid, exercise is often the last thing you feel like doing. But study after study shows that regular low-impact workouts stimulate thyroid function. The key: Go for a slow stroll. Dialing down the intensity wards off the hormone surges and bodily stress that strain the thyroid, allowing it to rest and heal. Your best bet: walking for 30 minutes three to five days a week.
Snack on trail mix.
Going long periods without food makes us cranky, and your thyroid doesn’t like it either! That’s the word from a Canadian research team, who say steadying blood sugar by enjoying a small snack between lunch and dinner, such as 1⁄4 cup of dried fruit or 1⁄4 cup of nuts daily, can improve thyroid function by 66 percent. This cuts your risk of tiredness and weight gain in half and reverses an already sluggish thyroid in as little as three weeks! Credit goes to the minerals in these picks, which help the thyroid crank out a key hormone, thyroxine.
The stress hormone cortisol hinders the production of thyroid hormones, says thyroid expert Kent Holtorf, M.D. What can help: lymphatic massage. Research reveals that just one lymph massage slashes cortisol levels by 44 percent and improves thyroid hormone function. An expert- approved DIY massage that does the trick: Place your left palm on the left side your neck just above your collarbone, with your fingers pointing up toward your ear; apply light pressure as you drag your fingers down toward your collarbone. Release and repeat 6 to 10 times, then use your right hand to repeat the sequence on your right side.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Save on Healthcare (Buy on Amazon, $12.99).