Is your thyroid making you fat? Does your thyroid feel stuck in low gear? Then one doctor has an easy thyroid diet plan for you to try. His easy eating strategy will help rev your "metabolism gland" so you speed off fat faster than ever. It's true: When you're thyroid is happy, your metabolism soars—so spare pounds melt away quickly.
Millions of people in America have thyroid problems and could use a boost. Are you one of them? "Up to 90% of women experience thyroid issues at some point in their lives, so I recommend everyone start eating for improved thyroid health today," insists Gary Foresman, M.D., a California-based integrative physician who has worked with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. "There's no downside, and you'll likely lose excess weight and feel great in the process."
A fan of the new book Paleo Thyroid Solution, Dr. Foresman encourages us to switch to staples similar to those enjoyed by ancient hunter-gatherers. Why? Turns out, "cavewoman-style" meals and snacks load our bodies with thyroid-revving nutrients while eliminating thyroid blockers. So our thyroids—little glands in our necks that regulate metabolism and dozens of other crucial functions—do a way better job of helping us turn calories and stored fat into energy. No wonder thyroid patients who've gone Paleo report slimming down by up to 200 pounds! Stamina and immunity surge, too, they say. "When you optimize your thyroid," says Dr. Foresman, "it can make your life amazingly better."
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The #1 rule of Paleo eating means enjoying meals and snacks similar to ones our ancestors might have hunted or gathered before farming existed. "The types of foods that helped humans survive when many species went extinct still deliver the nutrients we need to thrive," explains Dr. Foresman. Go for lean protein (eggs, fish, poultry, beef, pork); nonstarchy vegetables and fruit (preferably in season); nuts, seeds, plant-based fat; plus small amounts of root vegetables and wild rice. There are no rules beyond that. Eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full.
Quick-start trick: "For a basic meal, sauté lots of veggies in coconut oil or make a big salad with olive-oil vinaigrette. Add a nice portion of high-quality protein"—like salmon or steak—"and that's it!" says 40-pounds-slimmer Paleo Thyroid author Elle Russ, 42, whose thyroid-related weight gain wouldn't budge until she went Paleo. If you're in the mood, add some fruit, sweet potatoes or wild rice pilaf.
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Why your thyroid responds: Research shows that Paleo-style eating delivers up to 900 percent more nutrients than a typical diet, which helps ensure you get everything you need for optimal thyroid health—including vitamin A, selenium, zinc and more. You also get lots more omega-3s, fatty acids being studied for their ability to help thyroid hormone clear away fat. That's not all: Omega-3s plus a flood of antioxidants from Paleo foods help soothe a internal inflammation strongly linked to poor thyroid function. Paleo also eliminates the main culprits behind that inflammation—especially blood-sugar surges triggered by excess sugar and grain. One preliminary study even found that a Paleo diet relieves signs of thyroid-suppressing inflammation by up to 82 percent.
Bye-bye, big appetite: Close-to-nature staples amp up production of stop-eating hormones so much, one study found Paleo dieters eat 400 fewer calories per day than other healthy dieters—and they do it without trying. "I used to think about food all of the time. Luckily, going Paleo eliminated every food obsession I ever had," says Russ. "That freedom is miraculous!"
Do I need to see my doctor first? Always talk to your doctor before starting a new diet. And if you're experiencing stubborn weight gain, unexplained fatigue, intense PMS or menopausal symptoms, thinning hair, dry skin, sensitivity to cold and/or insomnia, ask to have your thyroid screened. Prescription medication may be necessary to protect your health. Already take an Rx? Never stop unless your doctor tells you to. That said, new Colorado State research hints a Paleo diet may allow up to 50 percent of slow-thyroid sufferers to reduce or eliminate their need for thyroid meds.
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