What is the Thyroid Gland and What are its Functions?
The thyroid gland is a small gland in your throat. This butterfly-shaped gland is situated just behind the Adam’s apple.
The thyroid gland produces hormones which affect your metabolism and energy levels. This hormone regulates utilization of oxygen, modulation of carbohydrates, utilization of vitamins and metabolism of fats and protein. It also controls nerve and muscle activity, flow of blood, and sexual and reproductive health.
Any imbalance in the levels of thyroid in our body thus adversely affects many systems in our body.
Cause and Types of Thyroid ProblemsThyroid problems can be caused due to stress, certain auto-immune diseases, nutritional deficiencies or environmental toxins. They are of two types:
- Hyperthyroidism – in this, the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid, leading to a higher pulse rate, intolerance of heat, increased body temperature and flushed skin. The affected person has a very high metabolic rate, is usually full of a ‘nervous energy’ and tends to lose weight. The eyes may also protrude. Sometimes, the gland gets enlarged and causes a visible bulge, leading to a condition called ‘goiter’.
- Hypothyroidism – in this condition the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient amounts of thyroid leading to a condition called myxedema. The affected person has a slower heart rate, body temperatures may be lower and the person feels generally lethargic and sluggish.
Thyroid problem treatmentThyroid problems are treated in various ways such as with supplements of vitamins and minerals, following a certain diet pattern with foods rich in iodine. They are also treated with medicines, surgery or radio-iodine.
However, Yoga has proved to be very effective in treating thyroid problems.
Yoga for thyroid: Yoga is an ancient form of exercise which has a firm scientific basis, directed towards developing and maintaining the perfect balance between the body and mind. Many of the yoga postures help to massage and stimulate the thyroid glands, thereby correcting any disorders, improving their function, and helping them work at their optimal levels.
Yoga poses for thyroid problems are:
- Shoulder Stand, Boat Pose, Fish Pose, Uttanpadasana and Yashtikasana.
- Along with these you can also do breathing exercises (Pranayama) such as Alternate Nostril Breathing and Cleaning Breath.
- Follow a diet which is rich in iodine, vitamin A, zinc, copper and amino acids. These would be found in sprouts, yellow vegetables such as carrots, tomato and pumpkin, dark green vegetables such as spinach, celery, zucchini and wheat grass, alfalfa, nuts, legumes, raisins, dried beans, oatmeal, eggs, chicken, fish and seaweeds.
- A vitamin and mineral therapy with plenty of Vitamins A, B-complex, C, along with Calcium, magnesium, selenium and manganese also proves effective.
- Herbal therapy, using a combination of Irish moss, kelp, black walnuts or ginseng also helps to restore the balance of the thyroid glands.
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