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11 Lifestyle Changes to Make for Hypothyroidism

Allison Bush Aug 13th, 2014 (updated May 1st, 2015)
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Eat a high fiber diet
Eat a high fiber diet

Unfortunately, with an underactive thyroid also comes constipation and weight gain. To combat this, start integrating thyroid-safe high fiber foods into your diet, like sweet potatoes and collard greens. Be mindful that a high fiber diet may also affect your medication, so be sure to follow-up with your doctor after awhile.

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Limit your intake of goitrogens
Limit your intake of goitrogens

Goitrogens are compounds naturally found in some foods that make it more difficult for the thyroid gland to create hormones. Foods high in goitrogens include cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli, along with products made with soy. 

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Take notice of when you drink your coffee
Take notice of when you drink your coffee

Be sure to time your morning coffee correctly. It's important to wait at least an hour after taking your thyroid medication before having coffee because the coffee can affect absorption and make the medication less effective.

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Drink a lot of water
Drink a lot of water

One of the most helpful things you can do to regulate your thyroid is to drink more water. Water will help rev up your metabolism, reduce constipation and bloat, and help eliminate toxins from your body. 

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Do more cardio workouts
Do more cardio workouts

By incorporating more cardio workouts into your schedule, you'll help boost your seratonin levels, which are typically low in people with underactive thyroid. Seratonin is a brain chemical that can affect your mood, appetite, and sleep cycle. Thirty minutes a day should do the trick.

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Strengthening workouts
Strengthening workouts

It is important to switch up your workout routine and not forget about the importance of building muscle that will help burn fat, that can help you lose weight from hypothyroidism. Try some light weight lifting or planks in your next workout to incorporate some strengthening elements.

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Stretching workouts
Stretching workouts

The last element of a healthy workout is properly cooling down, and yoga is especially helpful for people with hypothyroidism. Some yoga poses are designed to stimulate the neck area where the thyroid is located, such as the bridge pose, sarvangasana, or the plow pose.

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Reduce stress
Reduce stress

Stress affects your body in many ways, but it's especially bad for your thyroid. Reactions to stress are controlled by the adrenal glands, which are overworked and underactive thyroid in patients. Stress also increases cortisol levels, increasing hunger and affecting insulin levels. To reduce stress, try to find time during the day for deep breathing, yoga, or meditation. 

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Establish sleep schedule
Establish sleep schedule

Hypothyroidism can take a toll on your energy levels, so establishing a regular sleep schedule is important to recharge your body every day. Try to aim for 7 to 9 hours every day and speak with your doctor if you’re having problems waking up at night.

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Iodine intake management
Iodine intake management

Some cases of hypothyroidism may come about due to iodine deficiency while some cases may come about due to too much iodine. Talk to your doctor about recommended intake of iodine to see if you might be getting too much or too little.

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Increase complex carbs
Increase complex carbs

With hypothyroidism, craving for carbs may increase. Complex carbs are a good option when this happens as they aid digestion and can help improve and balance thyroid hormone levels.