FOODS~ what medicinal foods may assist in my healing?
While researching foods for thyroid health, the black radish has come up repeatedly. I'd never even heard of the black radish....red radishes are also mentioned in the first link... :)
lots of good additional info re:foods for thyroid health at this link:
"Black and red radishes have been used by some doctors in the old Soviet Union as accepted medical treatment for hypothyroidism. Raphanin, the main sulphur component in radishes, is chiefly responsible for keeping the production of thyroxine and calcitonin (a peptide hormone) in normal balance. Seeds and nuts, seed and nut milks, vegetable juices (celery, parsley, small amount of carrot, Swiss chard, wheat grass) and plenty of green drinks containing chlorophyll for healthy blood are helpful. Earth's Harvest is a blend of three micro-algaes that are a rich whole food source of chlorophyll. Having a mixed vegetable juice that includes the juice of a few radishes, carrot, tomato, Celery or zucchini, with a pinch of kelp may benefit the thyroid gland greatly. This juice can be blended in a blender for those who do not have a juicer."
"Radish (Raphanus sativus). Radishes have long been used in Russia for treating both types of thyroid problems, according to medical anthropologist John Heinerman, Ph.D., author of Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs. Russian researchers told him that one chemical in radishes, raphanin, helps keep levels of thyroid hormones in balance. With enough raphanin circulating in the blood, the gland is less likely to overproduce or underproduce these hormones."
"Dr. James Duke in The Green Pharmacy recommends radishes for treating Graves' disease and hypothyroidism. He notes that Russian researchers have identified a compound called raphanin in radishes that helps keep levels of thyroid hormones in balance when it is found circulating in the blood. Radishes also have an antibacterial effect and help to eliminate pathogens within the digestive tract. The fresh root's high fibre content can treat constipation. Culpeper says of radishes that, "It provokes urine and is good for the stone and gravel. The expressed juice of the root, with the addition of a little wine, is an admirable remedy for gravel."
Culpeper recommends a wineglassful of radish juice mixed with other juices taken daily, starting with a small amount and increasing gradually. It is recommended to mix the radish juice with other juices before drinking it because the juice is very strong. Culpeper recommends mixing radish juice with 6 times as much Celery juice or twice as much carrot juice.
Black radishes can also be eaten raw. The skin of the fresh radish is hard and must be removed. One source recommends serving them grated up as a salad with salt and cream added to tame their strong flavor. You can also cook them like you would do with turnips. Black radish is reputedly at its best in winter. When purchased, black radishes should be firm with unblemished skins. Like other root vegetables, black radish keeps well in a cool area. You can store them for up to 3 weeks."
~this recipe sounds good:) ~
Black Radish Dill Bean Salad Dressing and Dip
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
1 15-oz. can White Kidney Beans, drained
1 Black Radish, medium size
2 tsp. Mustard Seed, ground
1 tsp. Turmeric, powder
1 tbsp. Dill Weed, dry
1/8 tsp. Stevia Extract, white powder (sweetener - optional)
Place the lemon juice and white kidney beans in the cup of a high speed blender (Vita-Mix type). Thoroughly wash the black radish, cut into pieces and add to the blender cup. Add the mustard seed, turmeric and dill weed. Cover the blender cup and run the blender at high speed until the ingredients are creamy smooth.
You may notice a slight sulfur gas odor coming from the black radish. This will dissipate as the dressing marinates.
Taste the dressing to determine if it needs salt. If the dressing is too sharp for your taste, the stevia will "tone it down." Add the salt and stevia, as needed, and blend again thoroughly. Pour into a bottle and store in the refrigerator for a few hours before using. The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
The above recipe is in keeping with God's creation intent (Genesis 1:29-31): 'Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it-- I give every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.' (NIV) Let no animal suffer or die that we may live! (d-33)
~ Growing, harvesting, & storage tips ~
May 10, 2004: Sloth, carelessness, and poor planning can be great teachers, as my most recent harvest of black Spanish radishes illustrates. The black Spanish radish is an antique radish, a throwback to a time when people counted on storing roots to survive the winter. To modern consumers the black Spanish radish is puzzling. Unlike the ubiquitous little red radishes that adorn green salads the black Spanish radish is a huge root that can weigh as much as a small cantaloupe. Black radish isnít mild either, but can be harsh, especially right after harvest. Many recipes for black radish call for the root to be grated and marinated in salt water to dispel the mustardy bitterness.
Iíve read that it is traditional to slice black radish into pieces and eat it with a pinch of salt and a swig of beer. This recipe is ok, though Iíve usually wondered why I donít just swig the beer solo. But I keep planting black radish, even though most of my customers probably donít eat their black radishes anyway.
The root is so magnificently ugly with its rough textured black hide that it makes a fabulous conversation piece. Food stylists looking to take eye catching photos of table displays love it. Iím charmed by the black root myself and Iíve taken pleasure in growing an heirloom vegetable that seems more suited to a museum than a restaurant.
Over the years Iíve learned to plant black radish after midsummer so it will not bolt to flower before forming a root. And Iíve learned to religiously cloak my planting of black radish with a protective row cover from the day I sow it. Even if most people donít care to eat black radish, cabbage maggots sure love it and without a row cover a marketable crop can be almost impossible to achieve.
This is where sloth, carelessness, and poor planning can make a big difference. Last year poor planning meant I didnít have row cover on hand to protect the black radish crop when I planted it. The fabric came but then we didnít do a good job pinning it to the ground. The wind blew the row cover off the seed bed leaving the tender young radishes exposed to the flies. The result was a crop of black radish riddled with pale white maggots. Out of two 40 inch beds planted in double rows 600 feet long, I only salvaged a couple of bags of radish worth saving. I threw the plastic sacks in the dark corner of my cooler, disgusted. This was a bitter harvest in more ways than one.
Recently I uncovered the bags where they had lain forgotten. I figured the radishes would be rotten after four months in a bag. But no. When I looked the roots seemed to look the same as the day I harvested them. I sliced a root open to see if it was rotten inside. The black radish in my hand had snowy white flesh. Then, cautiously, without even a can of beer on hand to wash away the taste, I tried a bite. The radish was great. The harsh mustardy flavor was gone and the taste was clean crisp, and mild!
I finally understood. Black Spanish radish needs to be stored to reach its full potential. Back in the old days black radishes would have been heaped in the cellar with carrots, turnips, celeriac, etc. In the spring after sweeter roots had been eaten up the black Spanish radish would be waiting, ready and good. Beer brewed with the previous fallís grain harvest would be ready to drink, too.
My constant companions--sloth, carelessness, and poor planning--had come to my rescue again. Now I have a good plan. This July I will plant black radish right on schedule and Iíll care for it assiduously. In November we will harvest and clean the crop, then store it. Come next spring Iíll have a crop to sell just when my fields are empty and Iíll need money. Maybe I can even make back the dollars I lost last year.
Ainít I smart?
and a source for seeds. I've grown red & white radishes, they're easy, quick growers & fool-proof. I would imagine that the black radish is easy as well.... :)
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All wombat's Answers
lotsa good info re: various oils & effects on thyroid health here:
How to Help Your Thyroid With Virgin Coconut Oil
By Cherie Calbom, M.S. and Brian Shilhavy
Many Americans suffer from symptoms such as cold hands and feet, low body temperature, sensitivity to cold, a feeling of always being chilled, headaches, insomnia, dry skin, puffy eyes, hair loss, brittle nails, joint aches, constipation, mental dullness, fatigue, frequent infections, hoarse voice, ringing in the ears, dizziness, loss of libido, and weight gain, which is sometimes uncontrollable. Approximately 65 percent of the U. S. population is overweight; 27 percent is clinically obese. Research is pointing to the fact that an underactive thyroid might be the number one cause of weight problems, especially among women.
The Truth About Fats and Oils
Many dietary oils can negatively affect thyroid health. We cook with them almost every day and they are plentiful in commercially prepared foods. Expeller-pressed or solvent-extracted oils only became a major part of the American diet in the last century. It is possible they are among the worst offenders when it comes to the thyroid. They are known as vegetable oils or polyunsaturated oils. The most common source of these oils used in commercially prepared foods is the soybean.
Large-scale cultivation of soybeans in the United States began after World War II and quickly increased to 140 billion pounds per year. Most of the crops are produced for animal feed and soy oil for hydrogenated fats such as margarine and shortening. Today, it is nearly impossible to eat at restaurants or buy packaged foods that donít have soy oil in the ingredients. Often labels simply state "vegetable oil."
Ray Peat Ph.D., a physiologist who has worked with progesterone and related hormones since 1968, says that the sudden surge of polyunsaturated oils into the food chain post World War II has caused many changes in hormones. He writes:
Their [polyunsaturated oils] best understood effect is their interference with the function of the thyroid gland. Unsaturated oils block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system, and the response of tissues to the hormone. When the thyroid hormone is deficient, the body is generally exposed to increased levels of estrogen. The thyroid hormone is essential for making the Ďprotective hormonesí progesterone and pregnenolone, so these hormones are lowered when anything interferes with the function of the thyroid. The thyroid hormone is required for using and eliminating cholesterol, so cholesterol is likely to be raised by anything that blocks the thyroid function. 1
There is a growing body of research concerning soyís detrimental affect on the thyroid gland. Much of this research centers on the phytoestrogens ("phyto" means plant) that are found in soy. In the 1960s when soy was introduced into infant formulas, it was shown that soy was goitrogenic and caused goiters in babies. When Iodine was supplemented, the incidence of goiter reduced dramatically.
However, a retrospective epidemiological study by Fort, et al. showed that teenaged children with a diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease were significantly more likely to have received soy formula as infants (18 out of 59 children; 31 percent) when compared to healthy siblings (nine out of 76, 12 percent) or control group children (seven out of 54; 13 percent). 2
When healthy individuals without any previous thyroid disease were fed 30 grams of pickled soybeans per day for one month, Ishizuki, et al. reported goiter and elevated individual thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels (although still within the normal range) in thirty-seven healthy, iodine-sufficient adults.
One month after stopping soybean consumption, individual TSH values decreased to the original levels and goiters were reduced in size. 3
For more information about the effects of soy in the modern diet, see the Weston A. Price foundation Web site:
Coconut Oil: A Healthy Choice
Traditionally, polyunsaturated oils such as soybean oil have been used for livestock feed because they cause the animals to gain weight. These oils are made up of what is known as long chain fatty acids--the kind of fatty acids that promote weight gain. 4
Coconut oil, on the other hand, is a saturated fat made up primarily of medium chain fatty acids. Also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), medium chain fatty acids are known to increase metabolism and promote weight loss. Coconut oil can also raise basal body temperatures while increasing metabolism. This is good news for people who suffer with low thyroid function. There have been scores of testimonies to this effect.
One happy individual writes:
I am just now jumping on the coconut oil bandwagon (about three weeks now) and Iím really starting to feel GREAT! I have suffered from severe migraines for the past 25 years, the last 15 becoming increasingly severe, coinciding with the addition of soy and the" low-fat mentality" to my diet. Nothing helped! I should be experiencing my pre-menstrual migraine by now and instead I feel like I could climb Mt. Everest! Also I wondered if it decreased the waist to hip ratio because mine has gone from 7.2 all my life to 7 (or something like that). I think I had the sluggish thyroid too, with a low body temperature of between 96 and 96.8. Now itís starting to climb for the first time in years.
Thank you ... Sincerely, V. Potter
For more stories and information, see the coconut-info discussion group.
How MCTs Promote Weight Loss
Several studies have shown that MCTs promote weight loss. One study showed that rats fed long chain fatty acids (LCTs) stored body fat, while rats fed MCTs reduced body fat and improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance... 5 In March 2003, this same journal published findings that medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men. The study was conducted with twenty-four healthy, overweight men with body mass indexes between 25 and 31 kg/m. They consumed diets rich in MCT or LCT for 28 days, each in a crossover randomized controlled trial. Those consuming MCTs lost more weight and had more energy than those consuming LCTs (in this case olive oil).
An earlier study in 2002, The Journal of Nutrition came to the same conclusion. They reported that MCTs are more readily oxidized in the liver than LCTs, which leads to more energy and less weight gain. The study concluded that MCTs increase energy expenditure, may result in faster satiety, and facilitate weight control when included in the diet as a replacement for fats containing LCTs.
Scores of people have discovered the benefits of MCTs firsthand. Sharon writes the following to the coconut discussion group:
I have had the same problem with sluggish metabolism and weight gain since having children. Even a no-calorie diet (fast) for 5 days did not work. As soon as I started taking Virgin Coconut Oil the fat began to melt and I have lost 20 pounds. Over the same period of time, my 13- year- old daughter who was very chubby and very worried about it, but could not bring up the self-control to renounce some of her favorite fatty foods, lost about 10 pounds. She now has the perfect figure, to her great joy! Pants she was bulging out of a year ago hang loose on her!
Coconut Oil and Oxidative Stress
One of the reasons the long chain fatty acids in vegetable oils are so damaging to the thyroid is that they oxidize quickly and become rancid. Food manufacturers know about this propensity towards rancidity and, therefore, highly refine their vegetable oils. Considerable research has shown that trans fatty acids, present when vegetable oils are highly refined (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated), are especially damaging to cell tissue and can have a negative affect on the thyroid as well as health in general. Because the longer chain fatty acids are deposited in cells more often as rancid and oxidizing fat, impairment of the conversion of thyroid hormone T4 to T3 occurs, which is symptomatic of hypothyroidism. To create the enzymes needed to convert fats to energy, T4 must be converted to T3.
Dr. Ray Peat says:
When the oils are stored in our tissues, they are much warmer, and more directly exposed to oxygen than they would be in the seeds, and so their tendency to oxidize is very great. These oxidative processes can damage enzymes and other parts of cells, and especially their ability to produce energy. The enzymes which break down proteins are inhibited by unsaturated fats; these enzymes are needed not only for digestion, but also for production of thyroid hormones, clot removal, immunity, and the general adaptability of cells. The risks of abnormal blood clotting, inflammation, immune deficiency, shock, aging, obesity, and cancer are increased. Thyroid [hormones] and progesterone are decreased.
Since the unsaturated oils block protein digestion in the stomach, we can be malnourished even while "eating well." There are many changes in hormones caused by unsaturated fats. Their best understood effect is their interference with the function of the thyroid gland. Unsaturated oils block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system, and the response of tissues to the hormone. Coconut oil is unique in its ability to prevent weight-gain or cure obesity, by stimulating metabolism. It is quickly metabolized, and functions in some ways as an antioxidant.
Because coconut oil is saturated and very stable (unrefined coconut oil has a shelf life of about three to five years at room temperature), the body is not burdened with oxidative stress as it is with the vegetable oils. Coconut oil does not require the enzyme stress that vegetable oils do, preventing T4 to T3 hormone conversion, not only because it is a stable oil, but also because it is processed differently in the body and does not need to be broken down by enzyme dependent processes as do long chain fatty acids.
Also, since the liver is the main place where damage occurs from oxidized and rancid oils that cause cell membrane damage, and since the liver is where much of the conversion of T4 to T3 takes place, eliminating long chain fatty acids from the diet and replacing them with medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil can, in time, help in rebuilding cell membranes and increasing enzyme production that will assist in promoting the conversion of T4 to T3 hormones.
More research in this area is necessary. In the meantime, those switching from polyunsaturated oils to coconut oil are reporting many positive results. For example, Donna has experienced encouraging improvements in her thyroid health. She writes:
I've been on coconut oil since September, 2002 and, although, that doesn't seem like long, it has changed my life and the lives of my family and friends. My weight actually went UP when I started on coconut oil but I felt so GREAT! Being hypothyroid, I was on Synthroid and Cytomel and had been for years, but with inconsistent results and feeling worse. Other changes besides the addition of coconut oil were the complete removal of soy (and that is a major challenge in itself!), all trans fatty acids, no refined sugar, and organ cleanses seasonally.
My thyroid meds were discontinued with my doctor's knowledge as I was getting too energetic and having trouble sleeping! [Imagine], from being a "sleepaholic" couch potato that was cold! My weight stayed steady until the last three weeks and it has now started the downward move. My goal was health and just believed the weight would come off when I found the right diet and exercise routine that my life was comfortable with. I've tried removing the coconut oil but my energy drops and I don't feel as good. Donna
I have been taking VCO [virgin coconut oil] for about two to three months. Before the VCO, my thyroid results were borderline low. After two months of one tablespoon a day[of coconut oil], they are now mid-normal range. They have never been this high. I do NOT take any thyroid. ALSO my cholesterol is still the same as well as my LDL. BUT my HDL [the good cholesterol] rose 10 whole points from 43 to 53! This is a miracle for me. Lori
Coconut oil has helped scores of women who are menopausal. Several women who were post-menopausal suddenly began having their menstrual cycles start again, which is evidence that coconut oil does indeed increases hormone production.
Another happy lady writes:
I have experienced the same problems as you. Body temperature not going above 97 degrees, cold hands and feet, can't lose weight, fatigued, slow heart rate, can't sleep some nights, dry skin, etc. ... My doctor did the same test and it came back normal. I am also 46 and peri-menopausal. My Naturopath symptomatically diagnosed me with hypothyroidism. She explained the blood tests currently used by allopathic medicine are not sensitive enough. I started on the [ coconut] oil 5 weeks ago.
In the first week I noticed my body temperature had risen and my resting heart rate had gone from 49 to 88 beats per minute. This has since settled to 66. My energy is now really high and I am slowly losing the weight--three pounds in the past five weeks. I also had been taking flaxseed oil and gamma linoleic acid oil but have stopped eating every other oil but what Raymond Peat recommends, which is coconut oil, olive oil and butter (obviously using the last two very sparingly). I take 3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily. I have discussed this with my Naturopath and have given her all the written material on it. She's very open to knowing more about it. Cindy
These testimonies are from the coconut-info discussion group.
Hypothyroidism Reaching Epidemic Proportions
In 1995, researchers studied 25,862 participants at the Colorado statewide health fair. They discovered that among patients not taking thyroid medication, 8.9 percent were hypothyroid (underactive thyroid) and 1.1 percent were hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid). This indicates 9.9 percent of the population had a thyroid problem that had most likely gone unrecognized. These figures suggest that nationally, there may be as many as 13 million Americans with an undiagnosed thyroid problem. 6
In her book Living Well With Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You ... That You Need to Know, Mary Shomon quotes endocrinologist Kenneth Blanchard, M.D., of Lower Newton Falls, Massachusetts as saying, "The key thing is ... doctors are always told that TSH is the test that gives us a yes or no answer. And, in fact, I think that's fundamentally wrong. The pituitary TSH is controlled not just by how much T4 and T3 is in circulation, but T4 is getting converted to T3 at the pituitary level. Excess T3 generated at the pituitary level can falsely suppress TSH." Hence, many people who are simply tested for TSH levels and are found to be within "normal" range are, in fact, suffering from thyroid problems that are going undetected.
Ridha Arem, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Baylor College of Medicine, agrees. He says that hypothyroidism may exist despite "normal range" TSH levels. In his book The Thyroid Solution he says:
Many people may be suffering from minute imbalances that have not yet resulted in abnormal blood tests. If we included people with low-grade hypothyroidism whose blood tests are normal, the frequency of hypothyroidism would no doubt exceed 10 percent of the population. What is of special concern, though, is that many people whose test results are dismissed as normal could continue to have symptoms of an under active thyroid. Their moods, emotions, and overall well-being are affected by this imbalance, yet they are not receiving the care they need to get to the root of their problems. Even if the TSH level is in the lower segment of normal range, a person may still be suffering from low-grade hypothyroidism.
Thus, if we were to include those who may be suffering from "low-grade hypothyroidism," the number could well be double the 13 million estimate.
The statistics on thyroid cancer in the United States also tell a disturbing tale. Since 1990, cancer statistics (see
show that the overall thyroid cancer incidence across all ages and races in the United States has been subject to a statistically significant annual increase of 1.4 percent, per annum. That increase was highest amongst females (1.6 percent per annum). Also worth noting is the fact that between 1975 and 1996 the incidence of thyroid cancer has risen 42.1 percent in the United States. This increase was particularly notable in women and most recent figures as of 1996 show that the incidence of thyroid cancer has climbed to 8.0 per 100,000. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) notes that "the preponderance of thyroid cancer in females suggest that hormonal factors may mediate disease occurrence."
Especially alarming is the rate of thyroid cancer among children. The NCI publication Cancer Incidence and Survival among Children and Adolescents: United States SEER Program 1975-1995 has reported that the most prevalent carcinomas in American children and adolescents younger than 20 years was thyroid carcinoma at 35.5 percent--more prevalent than the highly publicized melanomas (30.9 percent). Approximately 75 percent of the thyroid carcinomas occurred in adolescents 15 to 19 years of age.
What is Causing This Epidemic?
While more research needs to be done, it is generally accepted that diet plays a major role in thyroid health. For decades we have known that low Iodine intake leads to low thyroid function and eventually to goiter. Iodized salt was intended to solve this problem, but it has not been the answer. There are a number of foods known as goitrogens that block iodine. Two goitrogens are quite prevalent in the American diet--peanuts and peanut butter and soybeans used most often in prepared foods as textured vegetable protein (a refined soy food) and soybean oil.
The rise of industrialization, corporate farming, and mass production of food has drastically changed our food supply from what our ancestors ate. Many studies show the detrimental effects of refined sugars and grains on our health. These foods are very taxing on the thyroid gland, and we consume them in large quantities.
Environmental stress such as chemical pollutants, pesticides, mercury, and fluoride are also tough on the thyroid. A growing body of evidence suggests that fluoride, which is prevalent in toothpaste and water treatment, may inhibit the functioning of the thyroid gland. Additionally, mercury may diminish thyroid function because it displaces the trace mineral selenium, and selenium is involved in conversion of thyroid hormones T4 to T3.
Correcting Thyroid Problems
Rather than simply taking thyroid medication, it is very important to identify the underlying causes of low thyroid. You may need to take medication until you have corrected the underlying problem, but simply taking thyroid hormone replacement drugs for a lifetime does not feed the thyroid or correct the problem. David Frahm, N.D. says, "instead of feeding the thyroid and bringing it back into full function in the body, theyíre [medications] simply by-passing it." 7
He says that this does help increase energy to some degree when the body is supplied with some of the hormones it is supposed to make on its own, but none of these drugs actually restore thyroid function. Since the thyroid makes a hormone called calcitonin that allows for absorption of calcium, people who just take thyroid hormone replacement drugs wonít fix the underlying problem and calcium absorption will be impaired. Often these people will experience bone loss, and this is the best explanation as to why many people with hypothyroidism also experience osteoporosis.
Before discontinuing thyroid hormone replacement medication, always check with your doctor. In the meantime, there are a number of things you can do to feed your thyroid and improve its health. You may not have been diagnosed with hypothyroid, but you may experience a number of the symptoms associated with this condition that result from an undernourished thyroid gland. As you incorporate thyroid supporting solutions into your daily routine, watch for signals that your thyroid is beginning to improve such as rapid heartbeat and a rise in body temperature. Dr. David Frahm addresses such symptoms as a "healing crisis." At this point, if you are taking thyroid medication, it would be wise to consult your physician for retesting.
Determining Low Thyroid
If youíve read this article and some of the symptoms ring true for you, but you are not sure if you have low thyroid, take your body temperature for four mornings in a row before you get out of bed. Shake down a glass thermometer to below 95 degrees and place it by your bed before you go to sleep. Upon waking, place the thermometer in your armpit for a full ten minutes. It is important to move as little as possible during this time. Remain still with your eyes closed. Donít get up for any reason. After ten minutes, record the temperature and date. This should be done for four consecutive mornings. Individuals with normal functioning thyroids have a basal body temperature between 97.6 and 98.2. Basal body temperatures below this range may reflect hypothyroidism.
What You Can Do to Nourish Your Thyroid
A number of nutrients and foods have been shown to contribute to healthy thyroid function. As you incorporate these into your diet, you should notice an improvement in your thyroid health.
Eat Only Healthy Fats and Oils
A number of health professionals now recommend that we eat only coconut oil, virgin olive oil, and butter. It is best to eat olive oil and butter sparingly. Coconut oil can be used in place of butter on toast, for example. Coconut oil is one of the most stable oils because of its medium chain triglycerides. It will not easily turn to trans fatty acids when heated, making it one of the best oils for cooking. Avoid all other cooking oils. Never eat margarine. And read every label on packaged foods. If vegetable oil or soybean oil is listed, donít buy it.
Be aware that most commercial salad dressings contain soybean oil or another polyunsaturated oil. You could benefit from preparing your own salad dressings and taking them with you when you travel or eat out. If that is not possible, ask for lemon slices and olive oil and prepare your own on the spot. Restaurant fried foods are particularly worrisome because the oils used are heated to very high temperatures and often used over and over for deep-frying. They are loaded with trans fatty acids. Whenever you can, prepare your own healthy foods at home and control the ingredients.
Many people have improved their thyroid health, have lost weight, and increased their energy by including two to three tablespoons of virgin coconut oil in their diet. There are a number of ways to do this. Cooking with the oil is the obvious method and it tastes great with every food from sautťed onions or vegetables to eggs to baked dishes. You may also want to add one or two extra tablespoons of the oil to your diet daily. Smoothies are one way to accomplish this. You could try my Low-Carb Coconut Smoothie. I have also developed 101 smoothie recipes available in The Ultimate Smoothie Book. You may also wish to try my Coconut Treats recipe.
Consume Plenty of Iodine-Rich Foods
Iodine is most abundant in sea vegetables, fish, seafood, and eggs. You can find a variety of dried sea vegetables at most health food stores, Asian markets, and some grocery stores. Add a strip of kombu to soups or bean dishes; sprinkle black seaweed on salads or add to soup. Season foods with dulse or kelp powder in place of salt. Eat more fish, especially the smaller coldwater fish such as salmon (avoid farm raised), mackerel, halibut, sole, and snapper. Avoid the larger fish such as tuna and swordfish; they tend to be higher in mercury. Choose cage-free, hormone and antibiotic-free eggs; theyíre healthier.
Take Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
A number of nutrients have been shown to contribute to thyroid health; they include zinc, selenium, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A. Margaret Ames, Ph.D. says in her paper Thyroid Health: Do You Have Hypothyroidism? that individuals with hypothyroidism have been shown to have an impaired ability to convert beta carotene to vitamin A, so care should be taken to include supplementation of vitamin A in addition to beta carotene." She also adds that selenium is involved in conversion of T4 to T3 and low selenium levels could lead to low T3 levels. Because mercury will displace selenium, I would suggest a heavy metal detoxification program especially if you have had mercury Amalgam fillings, have eaten a lot of tuna, or have been exposed to mercury in any other manner.
Juicing Can Help
Vegetable juicing can be particularly helpful in restoring health to the thyroid as well as the entire body. Radishes and radish juice can be quite beneficial. A sulphur compound found in the radish is a regulator of thyroixine and calcitonin (a peptide hormone). When enough of this sulphur compound is circulating in the bloodstream, the thyroid is less apt to over- or under-produce these hormones. A steady diet of radishes and radish juice can be quite beneficial. Try my Thyroid Tonic, which is the juice of carrots or cucumber, celery, radishes, and lemon. To that you can add a dash of powdered kelp or dulse for a boost of iodine.
Cranberry is another helpful juice. Because the bogs of Massachusetts where cranberries are grown are near the sea, cranberries contain iodine--35 parts per billion according to The Journal of Biochemistry (79:409-11; 1928). You can juice cranberries with a low-sugar apple such as pippin or Granny Smith and add a squeeze of lemon for an absolutely delicious cranberry juice cocktail and, unlike the store-bought cranberry juice (except for cranberry concentrate), it will not have added sugar. For other juice recipes, see my book The Juice Ladyís Guide to juicing for Health (Avery, 1999).
As we nourish our thyroid, we also want to avoid the foods and substances that can tax this important gland or interfere with nutrient absorption. Following are a few suggestions that can make an important difference in thyroid health. Additionally, there are some lifestyle interventions that can be very beneficial for the thyroid.
Excessive ingestion of certain foods can block Iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland; these include: turnips, cabbage, mustard, cassava root, pine nuts, millet, peanuts, and soybeans. Until your thyroid health is restored, you may want to avoid these foods completely. When your thyroid is healthy again and you no longer have symptoms, you could include them occasionally, but I recommend that you never eat them daily. The foods to watch out for most are soybean oil in salad dressing, textured vegetable protein used as a filler, and peanut butter.. These products are included in many commercially packaged foods. It is interesting to note that in Asian cultures soy is only eaten in small quantities and in forms that have been fermented.
Omit All Refined Grains, Sugar, and Substances that Tax the Thyroid
Foods that are the most taxing on the thyroid are foods many Americans eat every day such as refined grains, Sugar and sweets, caffeine (coffee, black tea, sodas, and chocolate), hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, and alcohol. Avoid all refined grains such as white and wheat bread, rolls, biscuits, pancakes, pizza dough, pasta, and buns. The peanut butter sandwich is a perfect example of a really bad choice for the thyroid--refined grain bread and peanut butter--a goitrogen.
Avoid Sugar in all forms such as white granulated sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, molasses, fructose, and brown rice syrup. Use stevia, an herbal sweetener, instead that can be found at most health food stores. Avoid desserts. In addition, emotional stress (anger, grief, guilt, anxiety, fear) can be very taxing on the thyroid. Other things that are taxing include: giving birth, environmental stress such as industrial pollutants , pesticides (a clear case for buying organic foods!), heavy metals, Candida albicans (yeast overgrowth), and medical stress (radiation, X-rays, and drugs).
Limit Exposure to Fluoride and Mercury
It is beneficial to avoid fluoride and mercury as much as possible. To that end, a water filtration system that removes fluoride and other chemicals is worth the purchase. Buy toothpaste from a health food store that is fluoride free. Get mercury Amalgam fillings removed from your mouth. And choose smaller coldwater fish such as salmon and halibut that usually have less mercury.
Many people have benefited greatly from various cleansing programs such as colon cleansing, the liver cleanse, gallbladder cleanse, kidney cleanse, and the heavy metal detox. My 7-Day Liver Cleanse may be particularly helpful because a well-functioning liver can really benefit your thyroid since much of the T4 is converted to T3 in the liver. A congested liver will not perform functions such as this efficiently.
Exercise is particularly important in the healing of hypothyroidism. Exercise stimulates thyroid gland secretion and increases tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormones. Choose exercises that fit your energy level. You may start by walking and perhaps taking a stretch class. Weight-bearing exercise is particularly important to prevent osteoporosis. Work up to exercises such as step aerobics or fast walking that get your heart rate up--excellent for the cardiovascular system. Exercise has been shown to increase metabolic rate, an important aspect in weight loss. Jumping on a rebounder (mini trampoline) is very beneficial for the organs and lymphatic system. Whatever you do, get up and move. Your energy will improve as you do more exercising, even if itís just for 15 minutes to begin.
How Long Will it Take to Restore Thyroid Health?
"The beneficial effects of a comprehensive treatment of hypothyroidism are usually evident within two to three weeks after starting therapy," says Margaret Ames, Ph.D. "However, it is important to emphasize that, while symptoms may be alleviated and people with hypothyroidism may experience a greater sense of well-being, in most cases, treatment for this condition requires a life-long commitment." Itís worth it. You can look forward to a life of vibrant health and lowered risks of degenerative disease.
In conclusion, thyroid dysfunction has reached epidemic levels in the U.S. and is a major cause of obesity. Our modern diet is the main culprit. The best approach to maintaining a healthy thyroid and proper weight management is to follow the advice I have offered in this article. By eating healthy foods that will nourish and not damage the thyroid, adding the nutrients recommended, avoiding the foods and substances that tax the thyroid, and cleansing the body you can expect to see improvement in thyroid function in just a few weeks. Perhaps the single most important dietary change you can make is to replace soy-based vegetable oils and other polyunsaturated oils with healthy oils, the best being coconut oil. If you need to lose weight, the pounds should melt away naturally as you follow these suggestions. And, you can look forward to living a higher quality of life.
Cherie Calbom, M.S. is a nutritionist, researcher, and the author of eleven books including the best-selling juicing for Life. She has practiced as a clinical nutritionist and is widely known as "The Juice Lady" for her work with juicing and health, juice therapy and cleansing programs. She can be reached at 1-866-8GETWELL and at
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When supplementing Iodine, it's important that we supplement minerals and consume the most nutritious foods possible Since this forum seems to be evolving to embrace minerals, synergies & what have you...I thought I'd go ahead & post this here. Beets are an amazing food...the power of the purple:)Beets are a rich source of folate, manganese, potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, iron, copper, phosphorous and boron.
from "Minerals for the Genetic Code":
"Foods provide the necessary chemicals to fix broken chromosones in the human body. There are basically two kinds of breaks. There is the single-helix break(DNA being a double-helix molecule) and there is the double-helix break. If you break one leg, you can move along on a crutch or with a walker. Getting both legs broken is a bit like a double-helix break. There is research, and there is more research. The single food most capable of repairing DNA is the RED BEET. This food has the necessary raw material to repair chromosonal abnormalities once they've been discovered. It's up to the body to make the discovery. The decision is made at the cellular level. "Can we fix it?" becomes the question. Cellular activity shuts down until the challenge is answered. If a cell is too badly damaged to be repaired, the message goes forth: die! The technical name for programmed cell death is apoptosis.
The first point of retreat is selenium. If there isn't enough selenium, then you can't tell the cell to repair itself or die. If a broken cell continues to live and manages to cope with the induced error, then cancer is made. Thus, we are required to put beets and their by-products on a nutritional pedestal. BEETS ARE THE MOST POWERFUL MEDICINE IN THE PANTRY."
An excellent way to enjoy beets is juiced, with carrots. Juice the carrots first, then the beets. If you pour the beet juice very slowly into the carrot, you can layer it....I call that one a "Nuclear Sunset"....yummy....
The therapeutic use of beetroot in cancer treatment came to prominence with the work of the Hungarian physician Alexander Ferenczi in the 1950s. He introduced a revolutionary new treatment for cancer using nothing but raw beetroot juice. In his papers from the late 1950s and early 1960s, he reported remarkable success in treating cancer patients. His patients suffered from a range of different cancers. His reputation grew and beetroot juice became a sought-after treatment for cancer. Ferencziís treatment was based on consuming a litre of beetroot juice daily, for at least two to three months.
The pigment that gives beets their rich, purple-crimson coloróbetacyaninóis also a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets' potential effectiveness against colon cancer, in particular, has been demonstrated in several studies.
In one study, animals under the double stress of chemically induced colon cancer and high cholesterol were divided into two groups. One group received a diet high in beet fiber while the other group served as a control. The beet fiber-fed animals rose to the challenge by increasing their activity of two antioxidant enzymes in the liver, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase. The liver is the body's primary detoxification organ where toxic substances are broken down and eliminated, a process that generates a lot of free radicals. Glutathione peroxidase and are the bodyguards for liver cells, protecting them from free radical attack, so they can continue to protect us.
In other animal studies, scientists have noted that animals fed beet fiber had an increase in their number of colonic CD8 cells, special immune cells responsible for detecting and eliminating abnormal cells. With the increased surveillance provided by these additional CD8 cells, the animals in one of the studies given beet fiber had fewer pre-cancerous changes.
In stomach cancer patients, when scientists compared the effects of fruit and vegetable juices on the formation of nitrosamines, cancer-causing compounds produced in the stomach from chemicals called nitrates , beet juice was found to be a potent inhibitor of the cell mutations caused by these compounds. nitrates are commonly used as a chemical preservative in processed meats.
Protection Against Heart Disease
In the first study mentioned above, not only did protective antioxidant activity increase in the livers of beet fiber-fed animals, but also their total cholesterol dropped 30%, their triglycerides dropped 40% (elevated triglycerides, the form in which fats are transported in the blood, are a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease), and their HDL (beneficial cholesterol) level increased significantly.
Protection against birth defects
Beets are particularly rich in the B vitamin folate, which is essential for normal tissue growth. Eating folate-rich foods is especially important during pregnancy since without adequate folate, the infant's spinal column does not develop properly, a condition called neural tube defect. The daily requirement for folate is 400 micrograms. Just one cup of boiled, sliced beets contains 136 micrograms of folate.
Roots and leaves are used medicinally against infections and tumours, and Swiss chard as a hypoglycaemic agent by diabetic patients.
The Romans used beetroot as a treatment for fevers and constipation, amongst other ailments. Apicius in De Re Coquinaria gives five recipes for soups to be given as a laxative, three of which feature the root of beet. Hippocrates advocated the use of beet leaves as binding for wounds.
Since Roman times, beetroot juice has been considered an aphrodisiac. It is a rich source of the mineral BORON, which plays an important role in the production of human sex hormones. Field Marshall Montgomery is reputed to have exhorted his troops to 'take favours in the beetroot fields', a euphemism for visiting prostitutes. From the Middle Ages, beetroot was used as a treatment for a variety of conditions, especially illnesses relating to digestion and the blood. Platina recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of 'garlic-breath'.
Today the beetroot is still championed as a cureall. One of the most controversial examples is the official position of the South African Health Minister on the treatment of AIDS. Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Health Minister under Thabo Mbeki, has been nicknamed 'Dr Beetroot' for promoting beets and other vegetables over anti-retroviral AIDS medicines, which she considers toxic.
from "Minerals for the Genetic Code"
"Boron has the ability to absorb radiation and release it without changing the neutron. The heart is the most active part of the body, for which reason boron defends the heart. The story has been told the Soviet truck drivers were offered bonuses to deliver boron to the Chernobyl site, this with the knowledge that their trip would be fatal, but families would be paid. None realized that, fortifies with boron, they could have made their decision with impunity. Boron stopped the "China Syndrome" from occuring in Russia.
Boron is known as the calcium helper and for the the metabolism of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. Boron improves retention of both calcium and magnesium and elevates circulation of serum concentrations of testosterone.
Boron works in the body toward brain function, activates vitamin D, promotes electrical brain activity, enhances memory, and promotes alertness. Signs of possible deficiency include ADD/ADHD, osteoporosis, arthritis, fatigue, decreased motor function, decreased short-term memory, decreased brain function, and increased loss of calcium and magnesium in the urine."
Other sources of boron include lamb's lettuce, plums, quince, strawberries, peaches, cabbage, dandelion greens......
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for this article!
* Tomatoes. Besides loads of vitamin C, tomatoes are one of the richest sources of the flavonoid, lycopene.
* Berries, particularly blueberries. The rich, colored pigments of berries, belonging to the class of compounds known as flavonoids, have repeatedly been shown to protect against several cancers.
* All cabbages - including their kin broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts bok choy, red cabbage and red beets.
* Asparagus contains a number of health-promoting phytochemicals capable of antifungal, antimutagenic, cytotoxic and antiviral activities. In a lab study, crude saponins (like lycopenes, in the terpenoid class of phytochemicals), obtained from asparagus, were found to have anti-tumor activity. (See Shao Y et al., Anti-Tumor Activity of the Crude Saponins Obtained From Asparagus, Cancer Lett 1999.)
* Spinach. The University of Minnesota Environmental Health Services and others have found that people who include two or more servings of spinach per week in their nutrition have considerably lower lung and Breast Cancer rates.
* Garlic. Studies show the sulphur compounds that give it its strong flavour have now been shown to protect against cancer by neutralizing carcinogens and slowing tumor growth. In a recent Iowa Women's Health study, investigators found that women who consume garlic at least once a week also have a 32% lower incidence of breast cancer.
* Oranges. Investigators have now found that oranges contain more than 170 photochemicals, including more than 20 from the potent carotenoid family alone. In addition, compounds called monoids - which give citrus fruit their slightly bitter taste - appear to be highly active anti-cancer agents as well.
* Beans. Research in the food sciences has established that all kinds of beans are loaded with protease inhibitors, compounds that make it hard for cancer cells to invade adjacent tissue.
* Horseradish. This stimulating root is an excellent detox food. Stronger varieties have been studied for anti-cancer properties.
Foods as Medicine: The Scientific Basis
* Which better prevents breast tumors, red grapes or green tea?
A May 2006 study found that the polyphenol, resveratrol, found in red grapes,
is more effective than the polyphenol, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the
major catechin found in green tea in preventing breast tumors in rats.
Starting at birth, rats were given either dietary resveratrol, drank EGCG, or
had regular food. At 50 days' old, the rats were given the carcinogen, DMBA.
The rats on resveratrol had fewer tumors, and there was a delay in time to
the developmentof the tumors.
Analysis of the mammary tissue revealed that resveratrol treatment resulted
in more differentiated lobular structures. Plus, there was a significant
reduction in proliferative cells in mammary ductal structures, making the
mammary tissue less susceptible to damage from carcinogens. (See
Whitsett TG et al., Resveratrol, but Not EGCG, in the Diet Suppresses DMBA-
Induced Mammary Cancer in Rats, J Carcinog 2006.)
* Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Fights Breast Cancer
Inflammation is associated with a wide variety of cancers,
including breast cancer.
Women with atypical hyperplasia in benign tumors in their breasts, who
went on to develop breast cancer, were found to have significantly high
levels of COX-2, which is produced in the body when there is inflammation.
(See Mechanisms' Section.) In a key 2005 study, curcumin, which is derived
from turmeric, was found to down-regulate COX-2. In India, where women
consume curcumin, 79 in a million women develop breast cancer, while in
the US, where women do not consume curcumin, 660 women per million
develop breast cancer. (See Turmeric in Supplements' Section.)
* Anti-Inflammatory Fish Oil Fights Breast Cancer
Omega-3 fats, found in fish oil, inhibit the growth of Breast Cancer cells in
culture and in grafts in mice. Dietary fish oils lead to incorporation into
membrane lipids. Increased cell death is attributed to inhibition of the COX-
2, enzyme which promotes the cancer process. Plus, fish oil activates
PPAR, a regulator of lipid metabolism capable of modulating proliferative
activity in breast cells. (See Stoll BA, n-3 Fatty Acids and Lipid Peroxidation in
Breast Cancer Inhibition, Br J Nutr 2002.) Women in Japan who consume
iodine-rich seafood have a lower incidence of Breast Cancer (See Iodine and
* Cabbage Family's I3C's Anti- Breast Cancer Mechanisms
The cabbage family, including cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, contain
phytochemicals that act against cancer in many different ways. Cabbage,
alone, has 200+ chemicals. There has been important new research on the
phytochemical, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is derived from the cabbage
family, finding that I3C influences cancer genes and a receptor site. Plus,
phytochemicals in the cabbage family are able to induce phase 2 enzyme
activity to protect against chemical carcinogens.
Hot News: In a 2006 Georgetown University study, indole-3-carbinol (I3C)
phytochemicals in broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, were found to boost
the production of DNA proteins BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 - that repair damaged
DNA that are decreased in cancer cells. (See Rosen E et al., Veggies May
Protect Against Cancer, British Journal of Cancer 2006.)
Dr. Eliot Rosen, the lead researcher in the Georgetown study, commented,
"It is now clear that the function of crucial cancer genes can be influenced by
compounds in the things we eat. Our findings
suggest a clear molecular process that will explain the connection between
diet and cancer prevention."
Another I3C study, a November 2005 study, exploring the anti-tumorigenic
properties of the indole-3-carbinol food component in cruciferous
vegetables, found that the anti-tumor effects of I3C in human cancer cells
may be I3C's ability to reduce estrogen receptor-alpha expression.(See
Wang TT et al., Estrogen Receptor Alpha As a Target for Indole -3- Carbinol,
J Nutr Biochem 2005.)
In a broccoli sprouts' study in rats, broccoli sprouts were found to be an
exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against
chemical carcinogens. Extracts of three day old broccoli sprouts were highly
effective in reducing the incidence, multiplicity, and rate of development of
mammary tumors in rats. (See Fahey JW., Broccoli Sprouts: An Exceptionally
Rich Source of Inducers of Enzymes that Protect Against Chemical
Carcinogens, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1997.)
* Berries Help Fight Breast Cancer
A Harvard study tracking the diet and health of 1,271 people wholove
strawberries found an overall 70% decrease in all cancers. A 2004 cell
study investigated the specific effects of ten different extracts of fruits and
berries, including rosehips, blueberries, black currant, black chokeberries,
apple, sea buckthorn, ligonberries, cherries, and raspberries, on breast
cancer cells and colon cancer cells. The extracts decreased the proliferation
of both the breast cancer cells and the colon cancer cells. The inhibition
effect for the highest concentration of the fruits and berries varied - an
average of 52% for the breast bancer cells. Since this rate of anti-
proliferation could not be found by ascorbate standard alone, there was a
suggestion of a synergy between vitamin C and other substances. For
breast cancer cells, the anthocyanins , which are the red to blue pigments
founds in the fruits and belong to the class of compounds known as
flavonoids, may contribute their powerful antioxidant power to the inhibition of
the cancer cells. (See Olsson M. et al., Inhibition of Cancer Cell Proliferation
in Vitro by Fruit and Berry Extracts and Correlations with Antioxidant Levels, J
Agric Food Chem 2004.)
* Tomatoes' Anti-Breast Cancer Mechanisms
Hot News: While carotenoids have been well known as being free-radical
scavengers, a 2006 study sought to determine the mechanism of action of
tomato carotenoid lycopene and retinoic acid on inhibiting IGFs - insulin-like
growth factors - in the proliferation of cancer cells, including breast cancer
cells. In the cell study, the cyclin D1 levels, that act as a growth factor
sensor, appeared to be the target of lycopene's action. The weakening of the
cyclin D levels by the lycopene and the retinoic acid is an important
mechanism for reducing the IGFs' role in malignant cell proliferation. (See
Nahum A et al., Lycopene Inhibition of IGF-Induced Cancer Cell Growth
Depends on the Level of Cyclin D1, Eur J Nutr 2006.)
Organic Strawberries Better Inhibited Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation
Hot News: Organically grown strawberries provided higher antioxidant levels
and better inhibited cell proliferation than conventionally grown strawberries
in breast cancer cells. In a 2006 study, the higher level of ascorbate (vitamin
C) antioxidants found in organic strawberries correlated with a higher
inhibition of breast cancer cell proliferation. The significance of the effect of
ascorbate on cancer cell proliferation might be in a synergistic action with
other compounds. (See Olsson ME et al.,Antioxidant Levels and Inhibition of
cancer Cell Proliferation In Vitro By Extracts From Organically and
Conventionally Cultivated Strawberries, J Agric Food Chem 2006.)
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