What is Graves Disease?

"Let food be your medicine and your medicine be your food. Each one of the substances in a person's diet, acts upon the body and changes it in some unique way, and upon these changes the whole life depends, whether in health, in sickness or convalescent."  

Hippocrates 2 000 years ago.

The thyroid glan

A plain and simple answer to what is Graves Disease, is... that it is a dysfunction of the auto-immune process, which results in hyperthyroidism.

And that in simple layman terms means you have an overactive thyroid as a result of this auto-immune dysfunction.

Overactivity of the thyroid gland is known as hyperthyroidism, causing thyrotoxicosis. Graves' disease is another name for this disorder, and also one of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidsim occurs when the thyroid gland is tricked into thinking it must produce more and more hormone, causing the body to speed up.

And ladies, take care, you are far more likely than men to develop this condition.

We have now answered the question what is Graves Disease, so lets take a look at all the other issues surrounding this illness and see what we can do to help.

What are the symptoms of Graves' Disease?

  • Menstrual irregularities.

  • Weight loss despite an increased appetite.

  • Restlessness and irritability.

  • Heat Intolerance.

  • Irregular heart beat.

  • Physical and mental hyperactivity.

  • Enlarged thyroid (goitre).

  • Increase in perspiration.

  • Frequent bowel movements.

  • Thick red skin, usually on the shin or top of the feet.

  • Bulging eyes, which is due to the auto-immune antibodies rather than the over-activity of the gland itself. This is known as Graves' ophthalmopathy.

Where is the Thyroid Gland and what does it look like?

The thyroid gland, which is in front of the windpipe just below the Adam's Apple, produces iodine-containing hormones that control the body's metabolic rate i.e. the speed at which food and oxygen are burnt to produce energy for growth, exercise and times of stress.

What is Graves Disease and what Should I be doing?

  • First and foremost you need to see your Doctor and ask the question What is This Disease and do I suffer from it?

  • Sugar intolerance, menopause and depression can cause many of the same symptoms as thyroid disorders, and your medical practitioner needs to confirm that you do suffer from this disease.

  • If you are asking the question "what is graves disease" then a simple thyroid test should be considered to rule out any errors in diagnosis, and if you do in fact suffer from this disorder.

What should I be including in my diet?


Selenium is a trace mineral which is a vital antioxidant that protects the immune system.

Some of the foods containing selenium are brazil nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds, chicken livers, clams, avo's, eggs, garlic, onions and asparagus.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is needed for proper immune function and for healthy eyes, skin and hair.

It may be taken in a multivitamin complex and some of the foods containing this vitamin are: red peppers, carrots and tomatoes.


Zinc is a mineral that is an immune system stimulant and you should be eating oysters, eggs, nuts wholegrains and liver.

What should I be avoiding to help me with Grave's Disease?

  • Avoid processed and refined foods, including white flour and sugar.

  • Do not take anti-histamines unless specifically told to do so by a physician.

  • Take the time to check any other medication you are taking with your Doctor to ensure they will not affect your thyroid medication.

  • Cut down on cabbage, turnips,  peanuts and mustard, which can inhibit the body's ability to use iodine.

  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine.

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