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Thyriod Disease Symptoms , Causes , Intervention and Cure (Diet & Yoga)


Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in our neck, just above our collarbone. It is one of our endocrine glands, which make hormones. Thyroid hormones control the rate of many activities in our body. These include how fast we burn calories and how fast our heart beats. It plays a major role in metabolism, growth and development of the human body. It helps to regulate many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of thyroid hormones T3 (Triiodothyronine) and T4 (Thyroxin) into the bloodstream.

Thyroid Gland

How much of thyroid hormones are needed to be released is controlled by TSH (Thyroid Stimulating hormones). TSH is released by our pituitary gland located in brain. Good functioning of thyroid gland depends on enough amount of iodine intake. Deficiency of iodine leads to malfunctioning of thyroid gland; it causes imbalance in production of thyroid hormones. Due to imbalance of hormones, thyroid gland produces either too much or too less hormones (T3 & T4).

Hypothyroid is a condition when thyroid gland produces too less hormones. This stimulates hypothalamus to order pituitary gland to produce more TSH in order to balance T3, T4 levels which bring TSH level higher than normal. It affects many body functions regulated by thyroid gland.

Women are affected by thyroid disease at much higher rate than men. The American Thyroid Association reports that women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems and that 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid problem (most of the time hypothyroid )during her life time.


Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid disease, is a common disorder. With hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone (T3, T4). How much of thyroid hormones are needed to be released is controlled by TSH (Thyroid Stimulating hormones) produced by pituitary gland. Hormones released by the gland travel through the bloodstream and affect nearly every part of the body, from the heart and brain, to the muscles and skin.

Functioning Of Thyroid Gland

Major Functions Performed by Thyroid Gland

The thyroid controls how body’s cells use energy from food by a process called metabolism. Among other things, the metabolism affects body’s temperature, heartbeat, and process of burning calories. If we don’t have enough thyroid hormone, our body processes slow down. That means our body makes less energy, and our metabolism becomes sluggish (slowdown metabolism).

Thyroid Metabolism and Body Weight

Common Causes of Hypothyroidism :

There are a number of causes of hypothyroidism. Approximately 90% of primary hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (inflammation of thyroid gland), an autoimmune disease in which our immune system mistakenly attacks our thyroid gland to make antibodies.

Other causes of hypothyroidism causes are iodine deficiency (due to low iodine intake in diet), a genetic disorder, pituitary gland damage, hypothalamus disorders, certain medications, and surgery that removes part of the thyroid.

Thyroid problems in a pregnant woman can affect the developing baby. During the first three months of pregnancy, the baby receives all thyroid hormone from mother. If mother has hypothyroidism, the baby does not get enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to problems with mental development of baby.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism :

    • FatigueWeakness
    • Weight gain
    • Coarse dry hair
    • Dry rough pale skin
    • Hair loss
    • Cold intolerance
    • Muscles cramp and frequent muscle aches
    • Constipation
    • Depression
    • Irritability
    • Memory loss
    • Abnormal Menstrual cycles
    • Decreased libido
Each individual patient may have any number of these symptoms. As and when, individual experiences above of symptoms regularly, they should immediately consult the doctor. Hypothyroidism put strain on pituitary to make additional thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to prompt the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. It causes thyroid gland become enlarged, leading to formation of a goiter. If left untreated, the symptoms of hypothyroidism will usually progress and have adverse effect on regulation of many bodily functions performed by thyroid gland which leads to complications in future. So, wise dietary decisions and right life styles along with regular medications prescribed by doctors assures women long term health.

Complications of Hypothyroidism

Untreated, hypothyroidism may cause :

    • Goiter
    • Heart problems
    • Mental health issues
    • Infertility
    • Joint pain
    • Obesity
    • Birth defects

Side Effects of Prolonged Use of Hypothyroid Medicines :

Any medicine, if used for a long time, has side effects. Even, hypothyroid medicines also have side effects. These effects are mild; they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they are more severe or don’t go away, it is advised to talk to doctors.

1. Common Side Effects : 

    • increased appetite
    • weight loss
    • heat sensitivity
    • excessive sweating
    • headache
    • hyperactivity
    • nervousness
    • anxiety
    • irritability
    • mood swings
    • trouble sleeping
    • tiredness
    • tremors
    • muscle weakness
    • changes in menstrual periods
    • hair loss (usually temporary)
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
    • stomach cramps

        2.  Serious side effects : 

Some side effects can be very serious and require medical supervision immediately. A few serious side effects and their symptoms are:

    • Heart Problems (Attack/Failure)
    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • discomfort in your upper body
    • shortness of breath
    • extreme tiredness
    • swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet
    • Irregular heart rhythm

 INTERVENTION (Counselling)

Hypothyroidism is prevalent in India and affects 1 in every 10 adults. Symptoms develop gradually and are non-specific, leaving a significant number of cases undiagnosed. Untreated hypothyroidism adversely affects the physical and mental well- being of the patients.

Knowledge about nutrients, food and special herbs in hypothyroidism :

Hypothyroidism affects 1–2% of people worldwide and is 8 times more likely to affect women than men. Foods alone won’t cure hypothyroidism. However, a combination of medication, right nutrients and physical activities can help to improved thyroid function and to reduce the dose to minimum.

People with hypothyroidism make less thyroid hormone. This means they have a slower metabolism and burn fewer calories.

Having a slow metabolism comes with several health risks. It may leave patient tired, increases blood cholesterol level, and make it harder to lose weight.

This intervention brings knowledge about important nutrients and right food/diet to manage hypothyroid.


Important Nutrients: 

Several nutrients are important for optimal thyroid health. Listed below are few of them :

Iodine : Iodine is an essential mineral that’s needed to make thyroid hormones. Thus, people with iodine deficiency might be at risk of hypothyroidism. If you have an iodine deficiency, consider adding iodized table salt to your meals or eating more iodine-rich foods like sea food, fish, dairy and eggs.

Selenium : Selenium helps to “activate” thyroid hormones. This essential mineral also has antioxidant benefits, which means it may protect the thyroid gland from damage by molecules called free radicals.

Food sources of selenium: Whole grains (breads, cereals), brown rice, dairy products like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, mushroom, oatmeal, spinach, onion, tomato, lentils, cashews, bananas, Brazil nuts, fish, pork, beef, chicken etc.



Zinc : Like selenium, zinc helps the body to “activate” thyroid hormones. Studies also show that zinc may help the body regulate TSH, the hormone that tells the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormones.

 Food sources of Zinc: Nuts, seeds, lentils, yogurt, oatmeal, mushroom, beef, chicken, tofu, pork

NOTE: Research shows that iodine, selenium, and zinc are especially beneficial for those with hypothyroidism. Supplements
can create toxic effect if taken in large doses. However, it is best to avoid iodine and selenium supplements unless your healthcare provider advises you to take them.

Important Foods To Eat :

Several foods are important for optimal thyroid health. There are plenty of food options for people with hypothyroidism, including:


Eggs: whole eggs are best, as much of their iodine and selenium are found in the yolk, while the whites are full of protein

Vegetables: all vegetables — cruciferous vegetables are fine to eat in moderate amounts, especially when cooked
Fruits: Except above mention fruits, all fruits like berries, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, etc.
Gluten-free grains and seeds: rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds, and flax seeds
Dairy: all dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
Meat: All meats, including lamb, beef, chicken, etc.
Fish: all seafood, including salmon, tuna, halibut, shrimp, etc.
Beverages: water and other non-caffeinated beverages



People with hypothyroidism should eat a diet based around vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. They are low in calories and very filling, which may help prevent weight gain.

Nutrients to be avoided:

Several nutrients may harm the health of those with hypothyroidism. Listed below are few of them :

 Goitrogens : Certain food which contains goitrogens may interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. Many common foods contain goitrogens, including:

 Soy foods : Soy milk, tofu, edamame beans etc.

 Cruciferous vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc.

Fruits and starchy plants: sweet potatoes, cassava, peaches, pear, strawberries, etc.

Nuts and seeds: pine nuts, peanuts, etc.


People with hypothyroidism should avoid goitrogens. However, this only seems to be an issue for people who have an iodine deficiency or eat large amounts of goitrogens. Cooking foods with goitrogens may inactivate these compounds.


Foods to avoid:

Here is a list of foods and supplements you should avoid:

 Millet: all varieties

Highly processed foods: hot dogs, cakes, cookies (gluten contained food must be avoided, if hypothyroid is due to Hashimoto disorder) etc.

Supplements: Adequate intakes of selenium and iodine are essential for thyroid health, but getting too much of either may cause harm. Only supplement with selenium and iodine if your healthcare provider has instructed you to do so.


·  Here is a list of foods you can eat in moderation. These foods contain goitrogens or are known irritants if consumed in large amounts.

Soy foods: soy milk, tofu, edamame beans etc

Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, etc.

Certain fruits: peaches, pears, and strawberries.

Beverages: coffee, green tea, and alcohol — these beverages may irritate your thyroid gland.







Special herbs good for hypothyroidism :

Ashwagandha helps to reduce TSH levels and increas T3 and T4 production

Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It helps to produce thyroid hormones. You can roast it and powder it and can use in dal, sabzi, soups etc.

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and you should include in your cooking.

Guggul helps to reduce inflammation of thyroid gland.

Increase water and fiber intake :

Hypothyroid patients must increase their fluid and fiber intake. Constipation and water retention (swelling) are the problems usually find in hypothyroid patient.

Following items can help in water intake: Butter milk, bone broth (non-veg), ginger-lemon tea, caffeine free green tea, turmeric tea or vegetable soups (without cruciferous veggies) etc.



  Suggestions about full day Sample Diet Plan and weight loss (Total9 tips are there) :

Tip 1: Start your day by taking your thyroid medicine with warm water and if you walk or exercise after that it all help to increase your metabolism and weight loss. Warm lemon water is also good for weight loss.

Tip 2: In breakfast you can take oats-upma or vermicelli-upma or 2-egg omelet (if you are a non-vegetarian). Add lot of veggies especially capsicum (very good for weight loss). Post breakfast, one ginger lemon tea helps digestion.

Tip 3: In mid-morning meal, add any one melon or citrus fruits (as suggested in picture) which are very good for weight loss.

Tip 4: For lunch, start with one cup salad, avoid cruciferous vegetables. You can take either 1 cup brown rice or broken wheat dalia or 2 small fulkas / jawar roti with any vegetables except cruciferous vegetables. Add 1 small bowl dal and curd. If you are non-vegetarian, then instead of curd add 50 grams fish or chicken.


    Tip 5: One hour post lunch, you can take buttermilk or one cup green tea, and after that do 15 minutes’ walk and then you can go for small power-nap.

Tip 6: In evening, if you have habit of taking milk tea, you prepare it with ginger or you can take caffeine free green tea. In addition, you either take walnuts (1 or 2) or brazil nuts or roasted makhana. Late evening (optional), you can take any vegetable soup except cruciferous vegetables or if you are non-vegetarian then take bone broth (150-200 ml).

Tip 7: Start your dinner with 1 cup salad, after that, take 2- jawar/bajra/thalipeeth (mix flour) roti with bottle gourd/ridge gourd or carrot sabzi and take one small bowl curd as well.

Tip 8: Half an hour post dinner, take one glass warm lemon water and have a walk for 15-20 minutes. It all will help in digestion and weight loss.

Tip 9: At bed time, make a habit of taking turmeric tea prepared with following ingredients as mentioned in picture. It helps to kick start your thyroid functioning.


These tips, if adopted in daily food routine, will be really helpful to lose/maintain weight and improve thyroid functioning.

Suggestions about physical activities :

1.According to present study, thyroid functions improves in hypothyroid patients by doing regular physical exercise. It helps TSH levels decreases and T3 and T4 increases. Exercising increases metabolic activity, this helps to burn more calories and helps to keep weight down and maintains overall health. It is advised to do moderate to high intensity cardio exercises like fast-paced walking, running, hiking, and rowing.


Research shows that moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise may help boost your thyroid hormone levels. In turn, this may help speed up your metabolism.

2. Ayurveda also mention that certain yoga and pranayam helps in improving thyroid functioning, improves BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate) and helps to decrease TSH levels.

  • Ujjayi Pranayam: It is one technique that helps to calm the mind and warm the body. For Ujjayi, you completely fill your lungs (take a deep breath), with slightly contracted throat. There will be a sound “ummmm” from throat. Then breathe out through your nose. Initially you may get some cough while doing so which is normal. Start with 30 times and slowly increase it to 50 times daily. It helps to improve thyroid functioning.

  • Bhramari Pranayam: (Humming bee pranayam):

1. Sit in a quiet and well-ventilated corner and close your eyes.

 2. Place your index fingers on your ears right at the cartilage.

 3. Breathe in and while breathing out press the cartilage with your fingers.

 4. Breathe out with humming bee sound and continue the same pattern.

Do it daily 7 to 15 times. It helps to reduce inflammation in thyroid gland and improves mental health as well.


  • Anulom-Vilom Pranayam:

 1. Always sit in Sukhasana or padmasana with your hands resting sideways on the knees.

2. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and take a deep breath through left nostril.

3. Now, exhale slowly from the right nostril.

4. Now inhale through right nostril and exhale through left nostril.

5. Repeat this process – using alternate (left-right) nostril for inhaling and exhaling.

Anulom-Vilom Pranayam helps to balance vata, pitta and kapha. According to ayurveda, any imbalance in these three elements causes diseases. This pranayam helps to relieve stress. It is also called nadi sodhan pranayam. It improves the functioning of central nervous system. Do it minimum 50 rounds daily.

  • Asanas: Include following asana for 15 minutes. It helps to improve thyroid hormone secretion and weight loss. Best is if you will do Surya-namaskar 8-10 rounds. Based on your capability, age, choose appropriate asana or Surya- namaskar. Surya namaskar helps to tone muscles, weight loss, improves thyroid functioning, improves central nervous system and many more.



So, if we include an ideal package of yoga, pranayam, cardiac and physical activity, it will bring great benefit to thyroid gland activity. Hence, helps to manage with hypothyroidism.

Important things to remember :

    • Take your medicine exactly as directed by your doctor daily and at the same time every day & you must inform your doctor if you are taking any other medicine.
    • Don’t stop taking medicine even if you feel better. It may cause the symptoms to reoccur.
    • Don’t take your thyroid medicine with fiber supplements, calcium, iron, multivitamins or aluminum hydroxide antacid or any medication that bind bile acid. It hinders the absorption of thyroid medicine. Keep the gap of minimum of 4 hours.
    • Too much of eating and eating too much of single type of food or drinks is bad for disease. Have regular timings of food.
    • First meal of the day should be taken within 2 hours of getting up. Don’t skip meal (especially breakfast) at one time and eat more another time.
    • Don’t eat junk (biscuit, bhujia, chocolates or other sweets) to fulfill your meal needs. Have proper meal according to suggested diet plan).

Early physical signs of dose adjustment :

The strength and power of thyroid gland changes over time. It fluctuates with the change of seasons or age. Following symptoms indicate about need of medicine dose adjustment:

    • Unexpected loss or gain of weight
    • More stress than usual
    • Irregular heartbeat
    • Shallower and quicker breathing
    • Sleeplessness
    • More sweating

An inappropriate quantity of thyroid hormones can trigger these effects. It must be brought to notice of doctors at earliest. Some common problems are:

    • Digestion becomes faster. Perhaps you have lost weight without any effort.
    • A drop in thyroid hormones might trigger cold-like symptoms: Sudden shivers, cold hands and feet, or a swollen throat.
    • Frequent muscle twitching, cramping, and pain can be a sign of both too much and too little thyroid hormones.
    • Weight gain is one of the signs your metabolism might not be working properly, even if you are regular in medicines.

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