Photo credit Derrick Brutel via Flickr Commons
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland, which is responsible for energy use in the body, becomes overactive. Since itís functioning at a higher than normal rate, metabolism speeds up. This can cause symptoms such as sudden weight loss, rapid heartbeat, increased appetite, nervousness, sweating, and fatigue, among others .
Common treatment for hyperthyroidism is through medication, but recent research shows changes in diet may also be an effective treatment plan. As hyperthyroidism is often caused by an auto-immune disorder, scientists looked to societies where auto-immune diseases are rare, such as rural populations. These people generally follow a plant-based diet.
A study published in Public Health Nutrition, as part of the Adventist Health Study, examined the diets and medical histories of 66,000 vegetarians.
Researchers found that those who were Lacto-ovo (including eggs and dairy) and pesco- vegetarian (including fish) diets showed only moderate protection, and semi-vegetarian diets showed no protection against hyperthyroidism. Vegetarians that excluded ALL animal foods had HALF the prevalence of hyperthyroidism when compared to those who did consume animal products.
There are other things that contribute to the development of hyperthyroidism such as BMI. Even after making statistical adjustments for these factors, a plant-based diet still showed a significant reduction in risk.
The study suggested that the benefits of a vegan diet may be due to the absence of animal products which tend to contain high amounts of estrogen, often linked to autoimmune disease.
The benefits could also result from increased intake of phytonutrients and antioxidants found in plant foods. These nutrients have a significant immune-boosting effect and could be contributing to protection from hyperthyroidism.
A great way to increase antioxidant intake is to follow a raw food diet, meaning processed foods are eliminated and one focuses on alive, vibrant and fresh natural produce.
Advocates of a raw food diet, such as myself, claim that eating foods in their most natural raw state ensures a multitude of vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, antioxidants and phytochemicals are available to the body for optimum functioning.
If you are interested in exploring a plant based diet check out my website where there are free raw food recipes and lots of tips. I also have a raw food diet plan to assist people in their transition into a raw food diet .