As I’ve written in the past, proper digestion is very important with regards to thyroid health. The reason for this is because a big part of achieving optimal thyroid health has to do with eating quality foods, as well as taking quality nutritional supplements. However, if one’s digestive system isn’t working efficiently then it won’t matter if you eat high quality foods and take high quality nutritional supplements. And this is a big problem for many people who follow a natural thyroid treatment protocol, or even those who don’t follow such a protocol but just make some dietary changes on their own.
A lot of people who make such changes don’t notice a big difference, and in most cases the primary reason is because their digestive system isn’t functioning properly. So one of the first things people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions need to do is to focus on restoring their digestive health BEFORE they can improve their thyroid health.
When it comes to having someone obtain optimal digestive health, in addition to making sure the person eats quality foods, you of course need to make sure they have sufficient stomach acid to digest the food they eat. But another important component is to make sure they properly eliminate the food they eat. Not only do most people have problems digesting their food, but they also have problems eliminating, as many people don’t have regular bowel movements.
This problem can usually be corrected by making sure that 1) you drink plenty of purified water, 2) you eat a minimum of 3 to 5 servings of fresh vegetables each day, and 3) you get enough fiber in your diet. Most people need to drink more water, as you need to drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day. But consuming a sufficient amount of fiber is very important as well. We should be consuming about 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day, but many people don’t even consume half of this amount. In addition to helping with constipation, fiber has the following benefits as well:
Benefit #1: Fiber can help decrease the risk of heart disease. Eating soluble fiber can help with the cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which may in turn help decrease the risk of heart disease.
Benefit #2: Fiber can help prevent colon cancer. By helping you have regular bowel movements, this can prevent colon cancer from developing. The risk of developing other types of cancer can also be reduced by increasing your fiber intake as well.
Benefit #3: Fiber can help prevent diverticular disease. This condition can cause pain, diarrhea, and/or constipation, and can be prevented by increasing the amount of fiber you consume.
Benefit #4: Fiber can help with hemorrhoids. Consuming fiber will help to soften the stools, which will make them easier to pass, and thus will help to prevent hemorrhoids from developing. And if you already have hemorrhoids, then increasing your fiber intake can help prevent them from getting irritated and flaring up.
So these are just some of the benefits of consuming sufficient fiber. There are actually two different types of fiber. Insoluble fiber is the one that can really help with constipation. Some sources of insoluble fiber include wheat bran, nuts, and numerous vegetables. Soluble fiber can help to lower blood cholesterol and glucose, and can be found in certain fruits, as well as beans.
How To Increase Your Intake Of Fiber
The obvious answer to this is to eat more foods which are fiber-rich. While there are many different foods that can help with this, some good foods to eat are raw nuts and seeds, as well as certain fruits. For example, when it comes to overcoming constipation, some people have improved this condition dramatically simply by drinking more water, eating a couple of apples each day, along with a couple of handfuls of raw seeds and nuts (raw almonds, sunflower seeds, etc.). And as I have already mentioned, you should also eat at least three to five servings of fresh vegetables daily.
In addition to increasing your consumption of fiber-rich foods, you can also supplement with fiber. A good fiber supplement is Psyllium Husks, which you can find at most health food stores. Adding one tablespoon of this supplement in a glass of water or smoothie once or twice each day can help a great deal. However, you might need to start with a smaller quantity, as you might want to begin with half a teaspoon for a few days, and then slowly increase the dosage until you’re able to take one full tablespoon.
In summary, while consuming fiber by itself doesn’t directly relate to thyroid health, having a properly functioning digestive system is important for anyone looking for optimal thyroid health. And getting a sufficient amount of fiber can greatly help to improve digestion, which not only will help with your thyroid health, but your overall health as well.