Spices Thyroid

Powerful spices for thyroid health

Spices add flavor and bring dishes alive. However, they also contain important nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. Some spices, such as turmeric and ginger should be used more frequently to support thyroid health and address healing and inflammation.

Turmeric and ginger are two powerful antioxidants and inflammation reducers that support healthy thyroid function and protect the thyroid from environmental damage, which might reduce thyroid hormone levels or impair thyroid hormone action [1]

Turmeric, a rootlike stem, has been used for centuries in Indian cooking and is best known for its characteristic deep orange color. Turmeric has a long history of medicinal use, e.g. in treating pain, reducing inflammation, skin conditions, aiding liver, immune and digestive health [2], to name but a few.

Curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer,  antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant activity [3]. Its anti-inflammatory properties are especially beneficial for stiff joints, muscle aches, skin issues, fatigue and brain fog, all of which are often a challenge for people with hypothyroid and Hashimoto's conditions.

Although curcumin has shown therapeutic efficacy against many human ailments, one of the major problems with curcumin is its poor bioavailability [4]. To help your body absorb the beneficial curcumin from turmeric add fat, e.g. olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, animal fat etc., as well as ground black pepper, if tolerated well. Add some ground or fresh turmeric to dishes such as stews, curries, soups, scrambled eggs or just sprinkle some ground turmeric on your own plate before you fill it up.

Ginger is a rootlike stem, or a rhizome, like turmeric. It is well-known for its many health benefits and works similarly to turmeric to help reduce inflammation and improve digestion. Ginger is rich in zinc, magnesium and potassium, and has been known as a home remedy for healthy thyroid functioning [5] Ginger supports bile flow which in turn supports liver health and elimination of toxins, including hormones. Healthy bile synthesis and detoxification helps to balance thyroid and other hormones. Some classical signs of hormonal imbalance include brain fog, fatigue, poor digestion, and low immunity.

Ginger is also a powerful circulatory stimulant and therefore a great remedy for cold hands and feet, something people with low thyroid function might suffer from. A group of chemicals in ginger known as gingerols can be beneficial in lowering pain and improving motility of joints. Other uses for ginger include nausea, menstrual cramps, aches and spasms, colds, bronchitis, and motion sickness [6].

Grated or sliced ginger root can be added to almost any cooked dishes, e.g. veg stir-fries, stews, risottos, curries, salads, and smoothies.

Inflammation is one of the root causes of bad health and disease, so it is vital to address any chronic and low-level inflammation, which in turn, reduces the attack of the immune system on the thyroid.

Turmeric and ginger can be used together in cooking, baking and as a beverage, e.g. grate some ginger and turmeric root, add hot water and enjoy with or without a bit of honey or lemon. Instead of adding hot water try adding coconut milk and slowly heat it up, adding some ground cinnamon (another great anti-inflammatory) and black pepper to taste.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2935336/#

[2] García-Niño WR1, Pedraza-Chaverrí J2. Protective effect of curcumin against heavy metals-induced liver damage. Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 Jul;69:182-201

[3] Menon VP, Sudheer AR. Antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:105-25.

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918523/

[5] Nagarathna PKM, Deepa KJ. Study on Antithyroid property of some herbal plants review article. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2013;23(2):203-11.

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/

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