The thyroid is an organ, located in the neck, that produces the hormones which control the body's metabolic rate. The thyroid uses iodine to manufacture these hormones, so a deficiency in iodine can lead to many thyroid-related conditions.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition resulting from an overproduction of thyroid hormones. Symptoms include increased heart rate, anxiety, and weight loss. Extreme cases can cause an enlargement of the thyroid, known as a goiter. Hypothyroidism occurs when not enough thyroid hormones are produced. This condition is characterized by depression, sluggishness, weight gain, and heart failure.

Hashimoto's disease, also called autoimmune thyroiditis, causes the gradual destruction of the thyroid gland, and is characterized by alternating periods of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Several studies have indicated that the mineral selenium may help fight the effects of this disease.

Beneficial Foods

Coconut Oil Stimulates thyroid function, relieves hypothyroidism.
Kelp Relatively consistent levels of iodine make kelp an excellent supplemental food for thyroid dysfunction resulting from iodine deficiency.
Radishes Used in Russia for treating thyroid imbalances, particularly black radishes.
Watercress Helps treat thyroid deficiencies.

Beneficial Nutrients

Copper Important for the production of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. May help treat or prevent hypothyroidism.
Iodine Critical to normal functioning of the thyroid and to production of thyroid hormones.
Selenium Helps combat autoimmune thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto's disease.
Vitamin C May improve thyroid function.
Zinc Increases thyroid function.