Goitre: How a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet can help prevent thyroid disorder

Iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) is preventable. Here’s how you can prevent it.


Representational image (PHOTO: Unsplash)

Goitre, a health condition caused by iodine deficiency, is prevalent in India and iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) is one of the main causes of brain damage worldwide, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The Indian Council of Medical Research also stated in its 2012 report that 350 million people in India continue to be at risk of IDD. However, IDD is preventable. Here’s how you can prevent it and all you need to know about the symptoms and causes of goitre, and home remedies to help you if you are suffering from goitre complications.

Goitre signs and symptoms

- A most common symptom of goitre is the appearance of swelling in the neck

- tightness in the neck

- difficulty in swallowing

- coughing

- hoarseness in your voice

- difficulty in breathing

- weight gain/loss

- dry hair and skin, depression, weakness, joint pain, fatigue, constipation, etc. are the early signs of goitre.


What are the causes of goitre?
The common causes of goitre are:

- iodine deficiency

- an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)

- an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)

- an inflamed thyroid gland (thyroiditis)

- growth of fluid-filled nodules or cysts on the gland

- Graves' disease - an autoimmune disease which causes the thyroid to swell and produce excess hormones or thyroxine (T4).

- Hashimoto’s disease - an autoimmune condition in which the Thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormone.

- thyroid cancer


What are the types of goitre?
There are different types of goitre:

Diffuse goitre:  This happens when the entire thyroid gland swells and feels smooth to the touch

Nodular goitre: This happens when solid or fluid-filled lumps called nodules develop in the thyroid gland making it feel lumpy to touch. There are two types of nodular goitre- multinodular goitre and single nodule. In multinodular goitre, the thyroid gland feels generally lumpy. A cyst (a non-cancerous sac-like swelling filled with fluid), an  adenoma (a solid non-cancerous tumour) and  cancerous tumour can cause single nodule goitre.

Home remedies to treat goitre naturally
While there’s no special diet to cure thyroid disorders completely, following a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activities and eating a well-balanced diet can definitely help maintain a healthy thyroid. Try these home remedies to treat thyroid disorders.

Coconut oil: Virgin coconut oil has a high amount of lauric acid. On consumption this acid is converted into monolaurin, which has antimicrobial properties and improves iodine absorption from the food. It can reduce the swelling of your thyroid gland because of its anti-inflammatory properties as well. Coconut oil can be added to smoothies, tea or coffee and soups.

Castor oil: With its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil can help reduce swelling in the thyroid gland. Take a few drops of castor oil and gently massage the swollen neck area in a circular motion. Leave it overnight. Repeat this every night until the swelling reduces.

Apple cider vinegar: It is mildly acidic and restores the pH balance of the body and it detoxifies your body. It indirectly increases the iodine absorption and helps to reduce the thyroid swelling. Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, half teaspoon of honey and mix with warm water and drink the mixture, preferably on an empty stomach.

Pineapple juice: Pineapple juice is abundant in vitamins and minerals. It can improve the hormonal thyroid status and help in tackling goitre symptoms like coughing. Pineapple ingestion can reduce the size of the goitre.  Drink a glass of pineapple juice everyday to see the magic.

Lemon water: Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help to flush toxins from the body. Warm lemon water can help balance and detoxify the body. It also helps in weight loss by controlling hunger and cravings. Squeeze the juice of lemon in a glass full of lukewarm water and mix it well. Drink it at least twice a day until the goitre symptoms are gone.

Celery juice: Celery (Apium graveolens), a great source of several nutrients and antioxidants, reduces inflammation and supports the thyroid. Celery has the ability to cleanse the thyroid of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) toxins and also supports the production of the thyroid hormone T3. Blend the cleaned bunch of celery until smooth and add water as required. Drink celery juice everyday.

Best foods for goitre

Iodized salt, cod fish, tuna, eggs, natural yogurt, milk, navy beans, baked potato with skin, and cranberries. Lettuce, azil nuts, sunflower seeds, shellfish, onions, mushrooms, wheatgerm, barley, meats, poultry, eggs, and fatty fish, bananas and pineapples

Foods to avoid for goitre

Patients who have Goitre must avoid eating vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, turnip, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, spinach, broccoli, kale, soybeans, peanuts, radish, sweet potatoes, strawberries, millets, bamboo shoots, peas.

Avoid alcohol and smoking. They suppress thyroid gland functions.

First Published:Dec. 18, 2020, 5:44 p.m.

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