Thyroid Awareness Month

The beginning of each year is a great opportunity to focus on our health, especially after the holidays. Starting with Thyroid Health Awareness!

Now, what is the deal with your thyroid? The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck that produces hormones. These hormones control bodily functions, from growth and development to daily metabolism. Your thyroid is even important for healthy kidney and heart function.

So how do you know if something's wrong?

When you have thyroid problems, it's usually because your thyroid is producing too much or not enough hormones. And when your hormones are off, your body will certainly let you know about it. Some symptoms of thyroid disease may include extreme fatigue, feeling cold or overly warm, weight gain due to fluid retention or sudden weight loss, dry skin and hair loss.

But symptoms of thyroid issues aren't always obvious at first—they can be subtle and easy to brush off as nothing more than a little tiredness or feeling a little chilled. You might not realize that some of the things that are happening to your body—the feeling of being tired all the time, weight gain or weight loss, dry skin, etc. —are signs of something more serious.

It's important to note that some of these symptoms are symptoms of other problems, so if you see one or two on this list in combination with others, follow up with your doctor as soon as possible. When you do check in with your doctor, they may ask if thyroid issues run in your family or how long you've been experiencing these symptoms, so make sure you have this information before making an appointment. Other things to keep in mind are the regularity of your menstrual cycles, whether you have frequent headaches, how much you exercise, and what medicines or supplements you're taking. Be your own advocate and make sure you're armed with this information to get quick and successful results!

Do you feel that perhaps you metabolism is a big sluggish or that you might have some thyroid issues? There are plenty of natural ways to help out your thyroid and your overall health.

One big way to help your thyroid is to lessen your daily stress levels. Stress is a major hormone inhibitor, because when we're too stressed, our bodies produce more cortisol, which signals the thyroid to stop producing the thyroid hormone. Cortisol also controls how much of the thyroid hormone T4 is converted to the thyroid hormone T3, which is the form of thyroid hormone that cells need to function. In short, stress causes our thyroid to not function properly, which in turn causes our metabolism to be slowed, which causes more and more issues throughout our bodies.

It's hard to get away from stress, especially lately. But it is worth every effort to eliminate stress and take steps to lower stress and react better to it. Start each day with some deep breathing and meditation. You'll feel much more prepared for your day and ready to face the challenges each day brings.

Next, make sure to take time to move throughout the day. Our favorite tip is to set an alarm for every 60 minutes, and when the alarm goes off, get up from your desk and take a brisk walk or do some yoga poses. Downward dog or child's pose are both great and easy poses to do, and help circulate your blood flow and calm your mind.

Finally, make sure you're eating a healthy diet, with foods full of selenium, zinc, and essential fats. What foods are these? Ask and you shall receive!

• Brazil nuts
• Walnuts
• Avocados
• Fresh fish
• Pumpkin seeds
• Olive oil
• Flaxseed
• Garlic
• Onions
• Beetroot

Be kind to your thyroid. Exercise regularly, keep stress at bay with meditation and yoga, and make sure the foods you eat nourish your thyroid.