Maybe you’ve never given much thought to your thyroid—and hey, it’s okay to admit you’re not quite sure where it is—but this little butterfly-shaped gland in your throat just happens to be the furnace that sets your metabolism on fire.
T3, T4 and RT3
Your thyroid cranks out heat, in the form of fat-burning hormones (T3 and T4). These hormones roam around your bloodstream, gathering up calories and oxygen like so much dry kindling—and then touching a match to it.
At least, that’s how it works when you’ve got a healthy metabolism. Three things can wreck your thyroid function:
- Dieting. Low-calorie, restrictive diets make your body think you’re starving to death. Instead of fat-burning hormones, your thyroid actually starts producing an anti-fat-burning hormone (reverse T3, or RT3). RT3 basically sets up a roadblock in front of your fat-burning hormones. It’s a desperate attempt to keep you alive by hoarding fat.
- Stress. Constant stress makes your body think there’s some sort of horrendous disaster going on—an earthquake, maybe, or a famine. Your thyroid cranks out more of that fat-hoarding RT3. Again, it’s just trying to save your life.
- Disease. Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause weight gain, fatigue, headaches, constipation, brittle nails, and hair loss—and it often goes undiagnosed. Simple, inexpensive blood tests can show whether you’ve got any underlying thyroid problems.
You can help your thyroid produce those helpful hormones—T3 and T4—by eating whole fruits, organic vegetables and lean proteins, and by avoiding sugar. And foods rich in B vitamins, iodine, taurine, and healthy fat like steak, lobster, shrimp, arugula, and coconut are just a few superstar foods. They’ll do all the work, coaxing your thyroid into perfect balance. All you have to do is enjoy how delicious they are!