Treat Your Thyroid Right

Nutrition Advice

Treating Your Thyroid Right

If you’re like most, you’re probably thinking, “Jess, I don’t even know what a thyroid IS!”

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the area of your neck just below the Adam’s apple. It’s part of the endocrine system, and it secretes the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyroxine (T3), which regulate the body’s metabolic rate.

Thyroid issues can present in a variety of ways, but we most typically hear about hypothyroidism (reduced effects of thyroid hormone on tissues) and hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid hormone on tissues). The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is 4 to 10 times more common in women. The symptoms of an underactive thyroid can be subtle, but often include depression, weight gain and fatigue, as well as increased cholesterol.

If you want your body chemistry in synch – and trust me, you do – a healthy thyroid is essential. Iodine, selenium and iron (and some now say Vitamin D) are the main nutrients associated with the thyroid, and unfortunately, conventional diets are often deficient in these key nutrients. I’ve found that iodine deficiency is very common and leads to an increase in thyroid disorders. When I see symptoms of this with clients, I recommend they ask their doctor for a urine iodine test to confirm.

Some guidelines to regulate an underactive thyroid:

Nutritional Tips

  • Reduce consumption of common triggers, including caffeine, sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates (inflammatory!)– a positive move for so many reasons and will do wonders for your overall health!
  • Eat protein with every meal. This helps get the thyroid hormone to your tissues, which we need consistently!
  • Avoid all soy products including: soy sauce, tamari and miso (even fermented, organic and non-GMO types). It can impact cell receptors and disrupt feedback throughout your endocrine system.
  • Be mindful of goitrogens – foods that can interfere with thyroid function. These include soybeans, peanuts, millet, strawberries, turnips, watercress and brassica vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts). You know I love my green veggies, so I’m certainly not saying you can never have these items – they just can’t be eaten raw. Cooking inactivates the goitrogenic compounds. Cook very well!
  • Use dulse flakes in your cooking – they’re high in kelp/iodine.
  • Use seaweeds in soups and salads – also high in iodine.
  • Eat 3-4 Brazil nuts daily due to their high selenium content.
  • Focus on Omega 3s, found most abundantly in oily fish, walnuts, flaxseed and chia. These are the building blocks for hormones that control immune system function and cell growth, and they’re vital for proper thyroid function.
  • Increase your intake of iron, which is found in lamb and beef, oysters, legumes and beans, spinach and other dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds.
  • Remove any known or unknown food intolerances that can trigger an autoimmune response on the thyroid. For clients with Hashimoto’s, I recommend going 100% gluten-free. The body sees offending or inflammatory foods like gluten as an invader and will go into attack mode.

Lifestyle Tips

  • Take care of your adrenals by prioritizing rest and deep belly breathing daily. Incorporating true rest and solitude every single day is very important. Put those legs up against a wall and breathe deeply. High cortisol (which is pumped from the adrenals) is directly linked to lower thyroid function.
  • Balance your vitamin D levels. For optimal health, levels should be around 80 ng/mL.
  • Use a non-fluoride based toothpaste. Weleda has a great one – all-natural.
  • Drink only filtered water.
  • Consider supplementation of: iodine, selenium and iron (with the guidance of a nutritional practitioner).
  • Check your gut health. Healthy thyroid function depends on healthy gut bacteria, so consider supplementing with probiotics.
  • Next time you’re having dental x-rays, ask for a throat collar. The thyroid is sensitive to radiation, so you want to protect it.
  • Incorporate exercise – Yoga, weight training and interval training is best for boosting metabolism and overall health.

Consider the emotional factor

Some believe thyroid disorders are associated with the inability to speak up. People have an overwhelming “when will it be my turn” mentality, but can’t quite say what they need to say. It makes sense – the thyroid is in your throat, and energetically the thyroid gland represents your throat chakra. If you’re feeling this stress and pressure, a good way to express yourself can be to write a letter to the person you need to get those feelings out to – it may also give you the empowerment you need to talk to them. Speaking your intentions out loud can improve not just the health of your thyroid – but the overall quality of your life.


I have time for everything / I can voice how I feel/ I can express myself freely 




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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.


Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!


Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!


I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.