The thyroid, the tiny gland at the front of your neck credited with regulating metabolism, plays an outsized role in health. Dr. Mehmet Oz has many tips on how to keep this organ functioning at top performance.
To start with, Oz, host of the popular TV show "The Dr. Oz Show," advises people to know the warning signs and symptoms of a thyroid disorder.
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A thyroid that produces too little thyroid hormones may cause sluggishness, weight gain, depression, dry skin and hair loss, among other symptoms. Conversely, one that produces too much of the hormone may lead to unintended weight loss, rapid heartbeat, muscle weakness, sleep problems and diarrhea.
One article on Dr. Oz's website recommends several steps to boost a slow thyroid.
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- Eat 30 grams of protein in the morning to boost your metabolism and increase energy.
- Choose foods that include the thyroid trio — tyrosine, iodine, selenium — for optimal thyroid health.
- Reduce stress and consider ashwagandha supplements.
Another article on the website recommends five surprising foods that boost thyroid health:
- Cocoa powder — Like spinach, chickpeas, cashews and lean ground beef, cocoa powder contains zinc.
- Turnips — Like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and dark leafy greens, turnips are goitrogenic and can slow down an overactive thyroid.
- Pumpkin spice — Spices such as ginger and cinnamon can help regulate the thyroid.
- Sunflower seeds — These crunchy kernels contain the amino acid tyrosine, which regulates thyroid hormones.
- Brazil nuts — These are recommended for their selenium content, a mineral linked to optimal thyroid function.
Oz has led audiences through thyroid self-examinations to help detect tumors, noting that thyroid cancer, when caught early, is "almost always curable — 97 percent of the time, in fact."
"If you feel a lump, don't panic," he said. "See your doctor. Check it out. Because thyroid cancer grows so slowly, if it's caught early, it's easily treated and even cured."
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