Driven…. Would This adequately describe you? For many athletes who reach out to me and read this Blog Series, I would probably say so. The Drive you display each day needs to be tempered with healthy habits to keep you on track and your systems firing. Thyroid health is essential for overall health. This small glad and its performance dictates how fast you can get to your health goals. Thyroid health can give you a snapshot into what is happening inside your body. Lets dig into this and see how your diet and training plan are either helping or hurting your Thyroid.
The Thyroid glad sits at the base of the neck and is like a little fleshy butterfly and hormone powerhouse. Working in conjunction with the Pituitary Gland in your brain (another important topic for later discussion) it produces chemicals that are utilized by EVERY single cell in you body. Can you believe that, I mean seriously… we can look at our GUT and see a pretty clear pathway to overall health but to envision a gland so small but so powerful is really quite amazing.
T4 and T3.. Remember these hormones because they literally are vital for health. T4 is the hormone most produced by the Thyroid but T3 is the most utilized in the body. The Hormones control many things but most importantly your Metabolism. Look beyond the normal connotation now and see metabolism for what it really is, the symbiotic relationship of energy transfer in and out of the cell. When metabolism occurs at optimal rates, you are able to lift more, run faster, think clearer, have sex more often. Basically shit is firing when things are going well. When things are not going well, you can suffer from decreased energy, high stress, high inflammation, decreased sex drive, fat gain, and Cancer growth. So you see how important this little guy is to you now, Right!
Carbohydrates and more precisely Processed Carbs are a major issue in our western diets. Comprising up to 50% of our daily nutrient intake we need to monitor the quality and quantity of these carbs in order maintain health. I have made many claims for decreasing shitty carbs and increasing dense nutrient rich ones because it decreases stress hormones and inflammatory substances in the blood. I speak a lot about the GUT but downstream, we find the absolute effects in the Thyroid..
The tricky thing is…The thyroid and Pituitary gland function on Glucose.. which is sugar… which is broken down Carbohydrate… so what do we do?
Low Carb and Ketogenic dieting has gained popularity among athletes. Moving the Carb scale from a lot to extremely few is an option that many have explored. Given the ratios which many of us once ate at, the initial decreases in Carbohydrates probably yielded some cool outcomes. You lose weight, you dont have allergies anymore, your joints feel better, you think clearer, you have sex more often. Your performance increases because you feel so good.
But remember that the Thyroid functions on glucose. If we starve our bodies of carbs and constantly eat too little during heavy training cycles we run the risk of too much inflammation occurring and weight gain becoming a real thing.. Recall that T4 and T3 are utilized by EVERY cell in the body so the metabolic function of every cell is effected when things are out of whack.
The good news is that ONCE AGAIN optimal nutrition is the answer. Eating foods high in iodine and nutrient dense/ low glycemic carbs are 2 ways to keep your Thyroid functioning properly.
Iodine Rich foods include:
-Kefir (amazing for GUT Health as well)
-Wild Caught Tuna
Nutrient Dense Carbs (That will fuel Performance) ;
-Quinoa (not Really a carb, more of a seed but whatever)
-Winter and Fall Squash (all colors and all types)
Driven athletes need to keep things in perspective and stick to the plan. Over-training and poor dieting is no way to reach the goals you wan tot get to. Fitness is a long term plan that literally should last your lifetime. As we age the importance of Thyroid health cannot be stressed enough. Beating back the stress and inflammation that come from living an athletic life need to be priority number 1 as you open your mouth for fuel.
Keep the Good Vibes going, Love on your body and all of its little parts and pieces. The Goals that you want to achieve are possible and good Thyroid health will get you there. Ill keep digging into the information and you keep being the most conscious and driven athletes possible.
Have a great week of Training and living!!