The American Thyroid Association estimates that approximately 20 million Americans currently have some form of thyroid disease, and that of those, 60 percent are unaware of their condition. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have issues with their thyroid, and one in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder at some point during her life.
Luckily, eating a diet that’s rich in nutrients that support the thyroid gland can help you avoid larger problems, and there’s one food that should definitely be on your radar — eggs. These days, chickens are often given fortified feed, resulting in eggs with higher amounts of nutrients, like selenium and iodine, that boost thyroid health.
Since the thyroid plays an important role in our endocrine system (that’s one of the systems that affects hormones), it governs so many of our bodily functions like metabolism, reproduction, mood regulation, and more. Not only that, but issues with the thyroid can cause nagging symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, depression, and constipation. Yikes!
This is where eggs come in. They’re rich in selenium, a mineral required for bodily functions like hormone metabolism and reproduction. The thyroid contains the highest concentration of selenium in the body. Selenium affects the thyroids ability to produce thyroid hormones, specifically by turning T4 into T3. These hormones regulate things like your body temperature, heart rate, and metabolism. A growing body of research shows that selenium deficiency is associated with a number of thyroid disorders.
It’s also important to note that selenium is an essential trace mineral, which means that the body can’t produce it and we must obtain it from dietary sources. So, eating a diet containing foods rich in selenium is crucial if you’re trying to prevent or manage issues with your thyroid.
Eggs are also rich in another thyroid-boosting nutrient — iodine. Iodine plays an important role in thyroid disorders because the gland uses iodine to produce thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, low energy, and depression. Much like selenium, iodine is another essential trace mineral and must be obtained from our food.
If all this wasn’t enough, eggs are rich in two vitamins that are essential for a healthy thyroid — vitamin D and E. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with thyroid disease and hypothyroidism, so getting enough of it in your diet is extremely important. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body from oxidative damage, which research shows may adversely impact thyroid hormone production. Not only that, but another study showed that vitamin E and selenium together play a role in the thyroids ability to convert T4 hormones into T3 hormones.
Here’s to a healthy, happy thyroid!