NMFIT Thyroid Health Series: Q & A with Nutritionist Katie Bressack

Katie Bressack's motto is helping her clients take the struggle out of being healthy. Being healthy shouldn't be hard even if you have thyroid disease, her approach to nutrition and outlook on life made her the perfect fit for my thyroid health series. I met Katie through Yoga teacher Dina Ivas (Checkout Dina's Thyroid Health Series interview). Both ladies hosted a wonderful Yoga and nutritional workshop in New York in the spring.  After reading about Katie and having a chance to speak with her I knew she would be able to provide the tools needed for the ups and downs when it comes to making the right diet choices for thyroid health.  Whether you have a thyroid disease or know someone that does the interview below is definitely worth reading!

Katie Bressack

NMF: For someone that may not have access to foods and supplements ideal for Thyroid health in their area, what are your suggested websites that offer quality products.

My latest obsession is Thrive Market. It’s like a Costco meets Whole Foods, and I have found that this is the best place for me to buy my superfoods and even my toxic free sunscreen and hand soap. The best part is that once you spend $49 you get free shipping (and that is not hard to do!) Dr. Mercola is also a very trusted source for supplements and other health information.

2. During my research process I noticed that it is recommended to consume sea veggies for their source of iodine.  What are these foods?  Any tips on how they can be prepared?

Yes, you are correct! Foods rich in Iodine really help to support your thyroid. Some sea veggies that I like include nori, kombu and seaweed.  You will probably recognize nori the most as it is what they use at sushi restaurants to make sushi rolls and is at many grocery stores in the specialty section. One of my favorite go-to snacks are nori wraps. I will add some hummus, avocado, sprouts and other veggies and then roll it up. It’s a great snack or sandwich alternative. I sometimes will add some Kombu into my soups and grab some seaweed as a snack. I suggest adding these sea veggies in about twice a week as a start and see if you notice any difference in the way that you feel.

NMF: Since you have traveled to India I was wondering if are familiar with the Indian ginseng Ashwagandha?  Why is this good for promoting thyroid health?  Where can this spice be found in the US or online?

Ashwagandha is very popular in Ayurvedic medicine and has been shown to help lower cortisol and balance the thyroid. We are under a lot of stress, even if we don’t think we are, and prolong periods of stress increase the cortisol levels in our body and effects all of our other hormones, especially the thyroid. Ashwagandha helps to keep us calm and has been shown to support both a sluggish thyroid for people who have Hashimotos and has also been shown to improve an overactive thyroid. Another good thing about Ashwagandha is that is has also been shown to help improve our mood! With any supplements I encourage you to talk with your doctor/naturopathic/acupuncturist first if you have preexisting thyroid conditions. Indian Ginseng/Ashwagandha can be found in capsule form in the supplement section or as a powder which can be made into a tea tincture.

NMF: Unfortunately one of the side effects of a thyroid imbalance is a slowed down metabolism.  What are your suggestions when it comes to giving your metabolism a boost without the help of medications but in a more natural and holistic way?

KB: Our thyroid is the largest of our Endocrine glands and regulates how quickly we burn calories and maintains our metabolism. When we have a thyroid imbalance it can cause a slowed down metabolism but don’t give up hope you can repair your metabolism in a holistic way.

The first step to repairing your metabolism is by looking at what I like to call the 3 S’s; Sleep, Sugar and Stress. Too much sugar, stress and lack of sleep create a lot of imbalance in your body and we should look at these first.

To help lower your cortisol, I encourage you to add yoga in as a daily practice. It is one of the best movements you can do to help lower the cortisol level in your body and de-stress. This movement along with the deep breathing really supports your body.

Yoga can also help us get a better night’s sleep which is vital for our metabolism. If we are not sleeping enough ghrelin the hormone that increases our appetite increases while the hormone leptin which lets us know we will are satisfied decreases. Over time this can cause more imbalance in our metabolism and weight gain.

Plus when we are not sleeping our body tends to crave more sugar for energy which only causes our body to feel more imbalanced. Other ways to de-stress include long walks outside, laughing, spending time with friends, taking breaks throughout the day and also honing in on what is causes the stress in the first place and either eliminate that from your life or see how you can approach it differently.

Once you feel like you are sleeping more, stressing less and eating less sugar the next step would be reducing/ eliminating gluten from your diet and check your Vitamin D levels. Most of us are deficient in Vitamin D which is actually a hormone and probably need to go outside more or take a supplement. In my opinion optional levels of Vitamin D are at 70 – 100 ng/ml

NMF: Lastly for someone that has a thyroid disorder what are 5 things that should be in the kitchen ranging from spices to supplements?

KB: Here are my top things you can add into your kitchen to help repair metabolism; Bee Pollen, Coconut Oil, Ginger, Dandelion, Brazil nuts or sunflower seeds and Holy Basil (this really helps to reduce stress and build immunity in the body). I really love the Tulsa Rose Cinnamon tea in the afternoon, it really helps to soothe and calm my body. Try it out and let me know if you feel a difference. 

For more information on Katie visit: http://katiebressack.com/


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