What is Hashimoto’s disease?
Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. These attacks create inflammation, which damage the gland and its abilities to properly function. The result can be hypothyroidism, when the thyroid under-produces the important hormones that direct our bodies on how to use energy. Without this direction, certain bodily functions stop working normally, which explains why so many of the symptoms are noticeable by those suffering from the condition; among them are fatigue, hair loss, constipation, unexplained weight gain, muscle stiffness, and dry skin.
How diet triggers thyroid disease
If you have read the other articles in this series, you know that a healthy and nutritious diet is key to preventing flare-ups of autoimmune diseases. That is because by eating well, you can reduce and prevent the inflammation that causes immunity attacks. In particular, when looking at thyroid disease, preventing leaky gut syndrome is important. That is because when the gut lining becomes too permeable and begins leaking, particles from the digestive system get into the bloodstream. This is problematic because two particles commonly found in the gut – gluten and casein (a dairy protein) – have very similar protein structures to the thyroid. The immune system sees the gluten and casein protein structures and attacks them, since they should not be in the bloodstream. Then it sees the thyroid tissue, which looks a lot like the gluten and casein structures, and attacks it as well.
Diet changes to reduce Hashimoto’s effects
For some people, eliminating gluten and dairy from their diet is all it takes to alleviate the effects of Hashimoto’s disease. However, many people find that the best results come when they not only eliminate the problem foods, but also focus on increasing consumption of nutrient-rich foods. By eating more foods rich in vitamins (colorful fruits and vegetables) and probiotics (yogurt and fermented foods), you can begin healing your gut to ensure that problematic proteins don’t even enter the bloodstream.
Remember, however, that every person is different and what may work for one may not be the solution for another. Dietary diversity is important for optimal health. Unnecessarily eliminating foods isn’t the solution either. The right eating plan for you is what will create your best health.
Since it can be intimidating to begin and sustain major diet changes such as elimination diets, professional support is invaluable. Contact me and I will help you navigate the best course of action to transition into a healthy lifestyle you can live with long-term!