• Herbal Farmwife

This Is How A Cast Iron Pan Can Help Your Thyroid

A Little Background…

My husband and I are very different in many ways. One is our thoughts on breakfast. I was the city girl that had cereal and toast growing up; while he had a farm mama that wou

ld make a three course breakfast from scratch. His mama would fire up her cast iron pans to cook fresh eggs, bacon, and pancakes for breakfast. Even a hint of smell of his breakfast made from scratch overshadows my cold cereal any day.

What intrigues me about his breakfast was his mom’s use of cast iron skillets. As a new wife and mother, I found using a food release type of skillet was so much easier to clean especially after it sat in the sink all day waiting for my return from work. I saw nothing wrong with using them.

After the birth of our son, my thyroid crashed and medicine didn’t seem to help. Coupled with a stressful job with long hours, I started seeing my weight increase. What does this all have to do with cast iron pans? One day, I was stuck in Providence, Rhode Island over the weekend of a work trip and I picked up a book by Jillian Michaels. (You may know her as one of the Biggest Losers TV show’s trainers.) I don’t remember very much about her book today. But, there is one thing that sticks in my mind. She made a comment to the nature of, “…who has the time to figure out what plastics or man-made surfaces are safe to cook or eat off while the safe list of cooking surfaces seems to change every year?” She continued her discussions about how certain plastics’ properties can leach into our foods disrupting our thyroids. I’m not for sure if there was any research behind her claims, but I was sold. In the following weeks, I changed all our cookware to glass, stainless steel, and cast iron. Much to our kids’ dismay, mason jars are now our drinking glasses. Who knew that I was “hip” before Chip and Joanna made them popular on their Fixer Upper TV show?

Do You Need Iron?

Let’s cut to the chase scene. Do you have extreme fatigue, weakness, chest pain, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, cold hands and feet, brittle nails, unusual cravings for non-food items, or poor appetite? According to the Mayo Clinic, these are all signs of iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues. When your body can’t produce enough of a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen (hemoglobin) to the rest of your body, then you may experience any of the symptoms above. In order to function well, your body needs just the right amount of iron. Causes of iron deficiency may include blood loss, lack of iron in your diet, an inability to absorb iron, and pregnancy.

Iron In Relation To Your Thyroid

Ironically, many of those symptoms above are similar to underactive thyroid symptoms. Hypothyroidism symptoms may include tiredness, weight gain, depression, cold sensitivity, muscle aches, and dry skin, nails, and hair. Many times, people can confuse iron deficiency with thyroid conditions. My mother was diagnosed with an iron deficiency in the 1980s; when in fact, it was her thyroid. I can see how they can be easily mixed up with similar symptoms.

Interesting, iron deficiency does impair thyroid metabolism. In a 2016 research study, the aim was to determine thyroid hormone status in iron-deficient teenage girls. The results indicate that the degree of iron deficiency may affect the thyroid hormone, especially T4, in their study participants. Although a lack of iron deficiency may not be the sole cause of an underactive thyroid condition, it does contribute to one’s thyroid functions. The thyroid gland is an essential hormone gland where it controls development and metabolism of the human body. It helps to regulate many body functions by continually discharging a balanced amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream.

Yes, Cast Iron Pans.

Sure. You can always take an iron supplement in hopes that it will help with your thyroid. I don’t disagree with that thought. But, there are some easy ways to bring iron into your diet naturally. This is where cooking in cast iron comes into play. I know. You’ve been waiting patiently for me to get to this point.

Researchers have found that cooking in an iron skillet greatly increases the iron content of many foods. In a 2003 research abstract, researchers found, “…the introduction of [cast] iron pots or improving their use in communities in developing countries for the preparation of food maybe a promising innovative intervention for reducing iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia.” In a 2013 study, it found that there was an increase of 16% of iron in foods cooked in cast iron pans compared to those cooked in non-stick pans. Although this is an average and food absorption of iron can vary from food to food and based on your own body’s absorption rate, you can get extra iron from cooking in cast iron.

So now you are ready to buy cast iron pans, but you are hesitant about cleaning it. It sounds like a lot of work right? It really isn’t. Most cast iron pans on the market come pre-seasoned already. After cooking in it, wash the cast iron pan by hand with water and use a scrub pad, brush, or pan scraper for stuck on food. Dry the pan immediately after cleaning and thoroughly. Then spray or apply a very light thin layer of cooking oil, preferably while the pan is still warm. Store the pan in a dry place. My mother-in-law stores her cast iron pans in her stove as do I.

What are you waiting for? Pull out that cast iron pan you got from your grandma or go buy one. I can’t wait to see all the fun food that you try in your cast iron pans. If you following the KETO diet plan, you may want to try frying your eggs in a little butter in your cast iron pan. Delicious! Have a wonderful day.

Blessings, Herbal Farmwife

DISCLAIMER: This information should not be considered to be healthcare advice, medical diagnosis, or treatment. This information is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professionals. Always consult a healthcare professional first before trying any herbs, spices, vitamins, or minerals mentioned in this posting. This information is merely a discussion of “thoughts” among friends. Please note that none of these statements have been evaluated by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration.

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