This hormone could be driving your unexplained weight gain especially belly fat
When you were younger, many of us could eat whatever we wanted and would not gain an ounce. That was because your metabolism was faster and more efficient, and the fat burning receptors and hormones in your body were functioning optimally.
Fast forward, when you get into your 40s, 50s and 60s, you may notice that your weight is increasing especially around your midsection. The primary reason for the weight gain is because the hormone responsible for regulating your body weight declines as you age, and the fat burning receptors are no longer functioning optimally, and therefore your body starts to hold on to fat and your fat storage increases. In addition, you will also notice that your metabolism slows, your energy level suffers, you become more inflamed, and joint pain creeps in. These changes can leave you feeling very drained, frustrated and overwhelmed.
All the above is usually driven by some type of hormonal imbalance. Despite your best efforts to eat healthy, exercise frequently, drink plenty of water and get adequate sleep, you continue to experience those annoying conditions.
The hormones that are often the culprit when it comes to hormonal imbalance driving weight gain and fat storage and some of the other frustrating symptom include:
The above hormones must be balanced before you can lose weight and alleviate your other symptoms
In this blog, I am going to focus on the thyroid hormone. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck and plays some very important functions on your body. It produces two main hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and these two hormones affect every cell in your body. This tiny gland is very mighty and powerful when it comes to regulating several of your body functions and influencing how your cells and hormones react. It is responsible for your:
Metabolism, the rate at which you use energy or you burn calories
Your thyroid gland can determine if your body will burn fat or store fat.
When your thyroid is not functioning optimally, all your hormones are going to suffer and weight gain among other symptoms is inevitable.
Some factor that can cause your thyroid hormones to decline:
The aging process. This tends to occur frequently in women in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
Toxins build up in your body from the foods we eat, water we drink and other environmental toxins like insecticides, BPA, phthalates, etc. that clog your cells and wreak havoc on your thyroid. Most toxins are structurally similar to thyroid hormones and as a result, they trick your master fat-burning gland into accumulating more toxins, which creates even more hormonal imbalances. This leads to fat storage and weight gain as the fat cells cannot flow into your bloodstream to be used for fuel.
What can you do?
Most women immediately resort to cutting calories and reducing their carbs as they see this as the only way to shed the weight. However, it is quite the contrary, you see, a low carb or low calorie diet can cause thyroid hormones to decrease, which slows down your metabolism and can fuel weight gain - this is not what you want.
It is critical to get your thyroid gland to work optimally, otherwise you will continue to experience weight gain, difficulty losing weight and alleviating your other symptoms.
Some things you can do to improve your thyroid function include:
Adding iodine or foods containing iodine to your diet. Iodine is one of the key nutrients required for the thyroid hormone and it requires more iodine than any other tissue in the body. As a result, the thyroid takes iodine before any other tissue can get it. However, if there is not enough iodine to go around, the thyroid will swell up to try to trap it more efficiently which could develop into goiter.
Have your doctor test your blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine.
Remove inflammatory foods such as anything that is highly processed and replace them with anti-inflammatory whole foods such as sweet potatoes, cruciferous vegetables (if you can tolerate them), salmon, sardines, etc.
Thyroid conditions can occur because of certain nutrient deficiencies, adding certain nutrients can be effective:
Adding selenium. Eat foods high in selenium like Brazil nuts, grass fed beef, egg, spinach, and yellowfin tuna.
Take a high quality whole-food multivitamin, and make sure you’re getting enough iodine, B-vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc and copper. Vitamin B12 Good sources of B 12 include raw milk, raw cheese, cottage cheese, wild caught salmon and grass fed beef. Thiamine is abundant in Crimini mushrooms, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios, and ground flaxseed.
Supplement with probiotics, as good thyroid functioning depends on a supply of healthy gut bacteria.
Detoxifying your body regularly. Detoxification helps to remove toxins and improve nutrient absorption and the functioning of the thyroid gland.
Adding certain herbs. These can effective on supporting the thyroid:
Ashwagandha helps balance your hormone levels and is the first choice in Ayurveda. The herb is useful for underactive and overactive thyroid issues. It also helps to stimulate a sluggish metabolism, lose weight, boost immunity, reduce anxiety, stress and insomnia.
Tulsi or Holy Basil is similar to ashwagandha.
Black walnut hull is a natural remedy for treating goiter and hypothyroidism. The herb is rich in iodine and is a natural detoxifying agent.
Follow a gluten-free diet, which has also been shown to improve thyroid function. Research has found a link between wheat allergies and thyroid disease.
Making lifestyle changes.
Practice stress reduction techniques such as meditation or deep-breathing. Chronic stress is said to be one of the main triggers of hypothyroidism.
Avoid chemicals like triclosan, which is commonly found in items like antibacterial soap, deodorant, lotions, and even in cutting boards.
Exercise is especially important to correct thyroid function. Walking briskly for 30 minutes a day is a good place to start.
Adding essential oils to your daily routine have been found to be effective in supporting thyroid function. Consider the following oils:
Thyroid essential oil blend
6-8 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Frankincense essential oil
5 drops Clove essential oil
5 drops Lemongrass essential oil
5 drops Myrrh essential oil
5 drops of Peppermint
Carrier oil of choice
Add oils to a 10-ml glass rollerball bottle and top off with a carrier oil of your choice. Replace top, cap, and swirl to combine. To use, apply daily directly to your thyroid.
In Good Health,
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide medical advice. The purpose is to provide education and broader understanding to my readers. Always seek the advice of your qualified healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. I do not recommend or prescribe, or recommend changing dosage or discontinuing, any prescription medications or pharmaceutical drugs.
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