Foods for Thyroid Health: Amla and Other Natural Remedies
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Natural Remedies for Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid gland is one of the master glands in your body, which produces thyroid hormone, a master endocrine hormone that helps to regulate your body temperature, body weight, appetite, and hair growth.
Because of the vital role your thyroid gland plays, conditions affecting it can be tremendous challenges to deal with because they can impact your entire body and overall health.
However, when it comes to thyroid health problems, there’s still a lot that we don’t know, and there is still a large body of active research dedicated to understanding how to keep your thyroid healthy and functioning normally.
In this article, we’ll explore some natural remedies that could improve thyroid health, including amla powder (also known as Indian gooseberry), and the health benefits these substances may have for your thyroid.
Table of Contents
Thyroid Health and Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid gland is a master gland. It controls a wide variety of functions within your body ranging from temperature regulation, hair growth, energy levels, appetite, and body weight.
It’s for this reason that disorders within the thyroid gland (and its related glands, like the TSH-producing pituitary gland) can cause various health conditions ranging from hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, obesity, and more.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland overproduces thyroid hormone (T4).
This thyroid disease can result in an elevated metabolic rate, rapid weight loss, hair loss, increased blood pressure, and various other symptoms.
Your thyroid gland controls so many metabolic functions that hyperthyroidism is often described as “increasing your body’s thermostat.”
Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism, and is a thyroid condition resulting from an insufficient production of thyroid hormone (T4).
When your thyroid gland underproduces T4, it can result in a slowed metabolic rate, rapid weight gain, low energy, temperature sensitivity, and hair loss.
Another danger to be aware of with hypothyroidism is a significant disruption in blood glucose (blood sugar) that can cause major fluctuations in your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
This condition is a precursor condition to hyperthyroidism. See above for more information.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that targets the thyroid, resulting in hypothyroidism. See above for more information.
Goiter is a condition that results when your thyroid gland underproduces thyroid hormone, resulting in an enlarged thyroid gland. A goiter can make it difficult to swallow in mild cases, or in more extreme cases cause difficulty breathing.
Treatment ranges from careful watching, when the condition will return to normal after a short time, to critical, which can require corrective surgery.
Thyroid nodules can also occur as the thyroid grows, creating a wide variety of nodules that can range from harmless bulbs of thyroid tissue that recede eventually to cancerous cells.
The main concern with thyroid nodules is that these extra cells may turn cancerous, but this is a rare occurrence. If you notice thyroid nodules, it’s worth checking in with a doctor.
Foods for Thyroid Health
There are two key aspects of your overall health that influence your thyroid function. First, keeping your weight and cardiovascular health in an optimal state reduces the stress placed on your thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone.
Second, if you ensure that the thyroid has the nutrients it needs to function, which include iodine, selenium, and zinc, you can improve its overall performance.
Below we’ll touch on some natural additions to your diet that can benefit your thyroid health.
Is Amla (Indian Gooseberry) Good for Thyroid Health?
Amla can actually help in both areas discussed in the above section. First, it has high levels of zinc and selenium, which help provide the thyroid with critical nutrients it requires to function properly.
In addition, amla also has high levels of vitamin C and significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. All these reasons combine to make amla (also known as the Indian gooseberry) a definite winner for thyroid health.
To learn more about this powerful fruit and why amla juice and amla powder are prominent parts of ayurvedic medicine in India you can explore our article on 12 reasons why Indian gooseberries should be in your diet.
Are Healthy Fats Good for Thyroid Health?
Some healthy fats, especially seeds and nuts like flaxseeds, as well as those directly derived from plants like coconut oil and olive oil, can contain the key compounds that support thyroid health (iron, zinc, and selenium).
However, in the long run, high fat foods (even healthier fats like ghee and avocado) can increase your insulin resistance and increase your risk for several chronic diseases, both of which can negatively impact your thyroid function.
In summary, while some foods with healthy fats can improve your thyroid health in moderation, it’s worth being fully aware of how these additions to your diet can affect your body.
Are Eggs Good for Thyroid Health?
This is a tricky one.
Eggs contain the three key minerals for thyroid function — zinc, iodine, and selenium — which contributes to thyroid health. But on the other hand, the research shows that as a staple of your diet eggs can have many deleterious effects.
We recommend finding alternatives to eggs for these key nutrients.
Are Probiotics Good for Thyroid Health?
As the thyroid is the master hormone in charge of metabolism it makes sense that a healthy gut and digestive system would support healthy thyroid function.
Supplements for Thyroid Health
In addition to common foods that can boost thyroid health, there are a number of natural remedies and home remedies that are often described as beneficial for thyroid health. We’ll touch on a few, and their effectiveness, below.
Once thyroid problems have developed, research shows that oxidative stress can worsen these issues. This is where plants that are high in antioxidants can make a big difference, like amla (mentioned above) and turmeric.
Though the effects of turmeric on the thyroid have not yet been tested in humans, this powerful antioxidant-rich food may have beneficial effects on the thyroid, although this requires further investigation.
In recent years, vitamin D has become increasingly studied for its role in metabolic and autoimmune conditions.
So the research is clear: sufficient vitamin D can improve your thyroid health.
As we mentioned above, iodine is one of the key nutrients used by your thyroid in regulating your body. It follows that iodine supplements can help promote thyroid health.
However, while the research shows that sufficient iodine is crucial to your health, numerous studies have also been done that show that excess iodine can actually lead to thyroid disorders, including each of the conditions named above.
Ashwagandha is an herb native to India that is commonly used for stress, as well as a number of different ailments including thyroid problems.
The thyroid is a crucial gland, in charge of critical physiological functions including body temperature, body weight, appetite, and hair growth. Therefore, maintaining a healthy thyroid is of vital importance.
However, for each of us the thyroid will function differently, which is why it’s important to eat a balanced diet that is high in key minerals (which are most often found in fruits, vegetables, and other plants).
We’ve explored a few natural remedies to keep your thyroid healthy, including amla (which we’ve combined with green tea for a tasty, incredibly healthy boost to your day), turmeric, iodine, and others.
However, for all of these health issues and possible supplements, we highly recommend checking in with your doctor. They’ll be able to work with you to understand how your thyroid is functioning, and identify any target areas where you might need to supplement your diet.
Amla Green has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles, and we rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
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Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta