Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC., is partnering with Lindy Ford, RD, LDN, to bring greater awareness to the importance of thyroid care and education. This post is sponsored by Acella Pharmaceuticals and should not be construed as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor about your individual medical situation.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. Consult a medical professional or healthcare provider before beginning any exercise, fitness, diet, or nutrition routine.
The past year has been challenging for all of us, to say the least. Add in thyroid issues, and you may need a happiness boost. A thyroid that’s not working well can contribute to depression, anxiety and overall malaise.1 Smart food choices will not only support your thyroid better but may also help your mood.
It’s important to understand how the brain regulates mood. It uses neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), dopamine and serotonin to communicate signals that keep mood stable.
These mood-affecting chemicals don’t magically appear. They are created by compounds found in food, and some are better at neurotransmitter production than others. It’s also important to know that the gut’s nervous system uses neurotransmitters, just like the brain. In fact, 95% of the body's serotonin is found in the gut. Many of the foods listed make us calmer and happier because they feed the gut in positive ways.
The following are seven of my favorite “feel good foods.” This list is not exhaustive.
Here is my challenge to you. Consume three or more servings (different ones) of these foods every day for two weeks and judge for yourself if there is a positive effect on your mood.
While you’re at it, take out as many mood-lowering foods as you can, such as refined carbohydrates and polyunsaturated (omega-6) oils.
1. DARK LEAFY GREENS
The most popular greens are spinach, collard greens and kale. Some of my patients get tired of hearing me tell them to eat at least one cup of organic leafy greens each day, but I hope they can feel my love in that request.
All dark greens are rich in vitamin C, which helps to convert tyrosine into the brain chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.2
They are also rich in magnesium. Observational studies reveal that people with anxiety disorders tend to have lower magnesium levels.3 Magnesium is imperative in maintaining healthy serotonin levels.
One caveat: Don’t consume raw spinach every day because of its high oxalic acid content, which could contribute to kidney stones.4
2. CABBAGE – Especially Red
I never make a pot of vegetable soup without adding cabbage. One of the reasons is its L-glutamine content. Studies show that L-glutamine improves mood, concentration and memory.5
It is also instrumental in making GABA. Trust me on this one – you want more GABA. It brings calming to the nerve activity in the brain and helps in the production of endorphins.
Red cabbage is considered one of the densest foods containing L-glutamine. Fermenting cabbage creates even more L-glutamine because the enzymes and good bacteria allow for better absorption. Grass-fed beef is a great animal source for L-glutamine.
3. WILD-CAUGHT FISH AND SEAFOOD
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are like WD-40 for the brain. Both components (DHA and EPA) are backed by great research as to their mood-boosting abilities. This may be because omega-3s enable membrane fluidity in the brain to allow maximum neurotransmitter fluidity.6
Wild-caught, low-mercury fish and seafood high in omega-3s are the best sources. These include Alaskan or wild-caught salmon, shrimp, mackerel, sardines, cod, oysters, mussels and rainbow trout.
You will find avocados on just about every healthy food list I create. This superfood is mostly fat, but the heart-protective monounsaturated fat. Fat helps with the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Avocados are loaded with 20 vitamins and minerals, including pyridoxine (B6) and folic acid (B9). Both B vitamins are important for a healthy nervous system, but they also aid in the production of neurotransmitters. Folic acid also contributes to the synthesis and repair of DNA and enhances brain function.7
Avocados contain twice the potassium of a banana. We need 4,700 mg of potassium per day for optimal physiological functioning and weight control. Very few adults in the United States consume enough of it. In fact, nearly 98% are not meeting the daily intake recommendations of potassium.8
5. NUTS AND SEEDS
I’ve heard cashews referred to as “nature’s Prozac” because of their mood-boosting properties. Sesame, pumpkin and sunflowers seeds are high in L-glutamine (think GABA above), while walnuts, flax, chia and pumpkin seeds are rich sources of mood-boosting omega-3s. Almonds are high in zinc, a mood-balancing nutrient.
6. VITAMIN D RICH FOODS
Studies are definitive about vitamin D’s ability to fight depression. I’m finding that even though many of my patients are out and about in the sun, they’re still presenting with low vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is crucial not only to mood but disease prevention. For more information about its amazing benefits, go to my website and read the article, “Superstar D”: http://lindyfordwellness.com/articles/superstar-d/
Vitamin D is found in mushrooms, almond and coconut milk, dairy products and oily fish. Have your vitamin D checked and consider taking a supplement of D3 as directed by a health professional if you are low.
7. FERMENTED FOODS
Although we don’t fully understand how serotonin affects our mood, we do know that most of our serotonin is produced in the gut. This is why gut health is crucial to mood and why we need to feed our guts with foods that feed and make good bacteria.
Also, there are several bacterial strains that produce GABA in the gut. This may increase the neurotransmitter activity in your enteric nervous system.
Fermented foods are the best at doing this and they include sauerkraut (raw is best), kimchi, fermented vegetables of all kinds, tempeh, miso, kefir and kombucha.
For more information about boosting your mood and optimizing your gut, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and check out some of my videos: Lindy Ford Nutrition & Wellness
Don’t forget my challenge to eat at least three different kinds of these happy foods every day. Keep a journal and monitor your mood. I’m hoping that after a few weeks, you will see a positive change.
REFERENCES: 1. Nippoldt TB. Thyroid Disease: Can it affect a person’s mood? Mayo Clinic Website. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/expert-answers/thyroid-disease/faq-20058228 on May 4, 2021. 2. Prerana Gupta, Sanchit Tiwari, Jigar Haria. "Relationship Between Depression and Vitamin C Status: A Study on Rural Patients From Western Uttar Pradesh in India". International Journal of Scientific c Study. 2014;1(4):37-39. 3. Tarleton EK, Littenberg B. “Magnesium intake and depression in adults," J Am Board Fam Med. 2015. 4. Harvard Health Blog. "5 steps for preventing kidney stones.” Harvard Medical School. October 04, 2013, UPDATED AUGUST 31, 2020. 5. Jan Albrecht, Marta Sidoryk-Węgrzynowicz et al. “Roles of glutamine in neurotransmission" Neuron Glia Biol, 2010 Nov;6(4):263-76. 6. Gregory A Jicha and William R Markesbery. “Omega-3 fatty acids: potential role in the management of early Alzheimer’s disease." Clin Interv Aging. 2010; 5: 45–61. 7. Mahmood, L. "The metabolic processes of folic acid and Vitamin B12 deficiency" J Health Res Rev 2014; 1:5-9. 8. Mary E Cogswell , Zefeng Zhang et al. “Sodium and potassium intakes among US adults: NHANES 2003-2008” Am J Clin Nutr 2012 Sep;96(3):647-57.
INDICATIONS & IMPORTANT RISK INFORMATION INCLUDING BLACK BOX WARNING
Important Risk Information
Drugs with thyroid hormone activity, alone or together with other therapeutic agents, have been used for the treatment of obesity. In euthyroid patients, doses within the range of daily hormonal requirements are ineffective for weight reduction. Larger doses may produce serious or even life-threatening manifestations of toxicity, particularly when given in association with sympathomimetic amines such as those used for their anorectic effects.
- NP Thyroid® is contraindicated in patients with uncorrected adrenal insufficiency, untreated thyrotoxicosis, and hypersensitivity to any component of the product.
- In the elderly and in patients with cardiovascular disease, NP Thyroid® should be used with greater caution than younger patients or those without cardiovascular disease.
- Use of NP Thyroid® in patients with diabetes mellitus or adrenal cortical insufficiency may worsen the intensity of their symptoms.
- The therapy of myxedema coma requires simultaneous administration of glucocorticoids.
- Concomitant use of NP Thyroid® with oral anticoagulants alters the sensitivity of oral anticoagulants. Prothrombin time should be closely monitored in thyroid-treated patients on oral anticoagulants.
- In infants, excessive doses of NP Thyroid® may produce craniosynostosis.
- Partial loss of hair may be experienced by children in the first few months of therapy but is usually transient.
- Adverse reactions associated with NP Thyroid® therapy are primarily those of hyperthyroidism due to therapeutic overdosage.
- Many drugs and some laboratory tests may alter the therapeutic response to NP Thyroid®. In addition, thyroid hormones and thyroid status have varied effects on the pharmacokinetics and actions of other drugs. Administer at least 4 hours before or after drugs that are known to interfere with absorption. Evaluate the need for dose adjustments when regularly administering within one hour of certain foods that may affect absorption.
- NP Thyroid® should not be discontinued during pregnancy, and hypothyroidism diagnosed during pregnancy should be promptly treated.
NP Thyroid® (thyroid tablets, USP) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat a condition called hypothyroidism from any cause, except for cases of temporary hypothyroidism, which is usually associated with an inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis). It is meant to replace or supplement a hormone that is usually made by your thyroid gland.
NP Thyroid® is also used in the treatment and prevention of normal functioning thyroid goiters, such as thyroid nodules, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multinodular goiter, and in the management of thyroid cancer.