Healthy body temperature is around 36.6 degrees Celsius, or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Underactive thyroid is a disorder which results in poor body's metabolism, which may affect the body's ability to regulate heat.
Winter brings low temperatures that are hard to handle for a patient with an unhealthy thyroid. This is why hypothyroid people (and those with other thyroid conditions) are very susceptible to winter and its effects. With the temperature drop and the arrival of winter, it's necessary to do anything you can to stay warm.
1. Control your thyroid levels
If your condition gets worse during the winter period, you should consult your doctor and have your blood levels checked. To compensate, some patients will need an increased dose of levothyroxine. Some physicians tend to prescribe slightly larger doses of replacement hormone during the winter.
2. Keep warm
If you have hypothyroidism, you shouldn't risk getting too cold. If it's extremely cold outside, it's best to stay indoors, but if you absolutely have to go out, make sure to double up those layers of warm clothes. Limit going outside on the cold unless absolutely necessary.
Wearing hats or beanies, gloves, and warm coats or jackets should protect you and help you combat the cold. Just bear in mind that sometimes less is more. If you layer several shirts and jumpers under your jacket, you can get sweaty, which means that you'll be cold very soon.
Feet are very important to keep warm. Some people prefer special outerwear made to preserve heat inside the clothes. Many people insulate insides of their homes nowadays to trap the heat inside the house.
3. Don't forget about Vitamin D
For optimal health of the brain and endocrine system, it's recommended to get at least half an hour of sun exposure daily. Because it's hard to get out when it's extremely cold, it's recommended to supplement your diet with nutritional vitamin D supplement. They often come in combination with omega-3, another amazing dietary supplement that aids to your thyroid health.
4. Keep your blood sugar in a healthy range
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, isn't good for your immune system. Blood sugar that is too low makes you more prone to getting sick. Also, hypoglycemia obstructs a proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which may affect your risks of getting too cold (hypothermia).
It's recommended to consume mostly proteins and fats to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Cutting all sugar is not recommended, but cutting out processed sugars can prevent sugar spikes that can inhibit your thyroid and metabolic health. Another side of the coin is bad as well. If you eat too much sugar, you can make worse not just your hypothyroidism, but also possibly develop other problems such as depression, insulin resistance, food allergies, etc.
Instead of sugar and empty calories, it's recommended to have a full thermogenic meal which consists of foods that can increase your body's temperature. A lot of widely-available foods such as fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy, herbs, and spices fit into this category, but top thermogenic foods include:
- Whole-grain foods including oats and brown rice
- Hot peppers
- Lean red meat
- Fish and shellfish
5. Sleep well
Unfortunately, many people skimp on sleep to get other things done, or simply can't fall asleep because of stress or other issues. Without sleep, we can't function well, and our health will definitely suffer – immunity drops down, as well as thyroid function.
If you sleep only a few hours, you're at risk of developing various hormonal imbalances. Studies have shown that autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's disorder, as well as hypothyroidism, have an impact on people's sleep, so good night sleep can be a challenge, but you have to do all in your power to get that necessary rest.
6. Stay active
Winter makes us serene and unmotivated to move, but it would be good to remain active even during the winter months. You don't have to go to the gym for a few hours every day to call yourself active. It can be anything from a moderate workout at home, to a pilates class 2-3 times a week. Yoga is also amazing for everybody, especially people with some kind of health impairment.
Staying physically active helps people with underactive thyroid to get rid of stress, but also maintain warmth during the cold months.