(Last Updated On: December 24, 2020)
What is hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a situation similar to an underactive thyroid gland that does not produce or release thyroid hormones. Usually, the thyroid gland releases many vital hormones that circulate throughout the bloodstream and reach all the receptors present in the body. Hence, any disturbance in the functions of the thyroid could create serious health problems and the intake of a proper thyroid diet is an essential criterion for the proper functioning of the Thyroid gland.
The major symptoms of hypothyroidism include abnormal changes in metabolism, digestion, energy, sleep, appetite, and even the growth of nails and hairs.
The hypothyroidism diet or the thyroid diet includes food that causes immune reactions and inflammation, which focuses on foods that support the healing of the gastrointestinal tract to reduce inflammation and balance hormones.
The best food supplement for proper thyroid functioning in hypothyroidism to begin the process of healing is mentioned below.
These deliver omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA that are vital for proper thyroid function and hormone balance. Maintaining the level of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet could help healthy neurological functions and reduce inflammation. Wild fish such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines are among the best sources of omega-3s to develop an improved immune system.
It delivers medium-chained fatty acids in the form of caprylic acid, which supports a healthy metabolism, increases fight fatigue and energy. Coconut oil gets digested easily, nourishes the digestive system, and has antibacterial and antioxidant properties that suppress inflammation. Coconut oil improves immunity and increases brain functioning and stabilizes sugar levels.
These involve kefir (a fermented dairy product) or goat’s milk, kombucha, natto, and other veggies. Probiotics generate a healthy gut environment by maintaining balanced microflora bacteria and reduces leaky gut syndrome.
These are among the best natural sources of iodine and prevent deficiencies that disturb thyroid functioning and should exist in our weekly hypothyroidism diet. The dried varieties of kelp, dulse tuna fish, and fish cakes are a good source of seaweeds.
Water improves digestive function and hydration, which prevents moodiness and fatigue. To prevent constipation and low energy, it is recommended to drink at least eight ounces every two hours. Eating enough healthy fats also maintains sugar levels and keeps your weight in control.
A Balanced Diet for Hypothyroidism
Generally, the Mayo Clinic notes, there is no particular diet that combats hypothyroidism. However, eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients helps ensure proper thyroid function while fighting the underlying causes of thyroid disorders.
The following vitamins and nutrients can be found in many foods and are critical in helping your body produce enough thyroid hormones, which is key to managing hypothyroidism.
Your thyroid needs iodine to work properly. Most adults need 150 micrograms of iodine per day, the British Thyroid Association says. Iodized salt can help your thyroid develop the hormones necessary for growth and development. Seaweed, fish, dairy, and eggs are also rich in iodine. You can take iodine supplements, too, but they aren’t recommended if you’re already being treated for hypothyroidism.
Selenium is essential to healthy thyroid function, according to the International Journal of Endocrinology, because it supports thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism. Selenium can be supplemented, but it can also be found in seafood, eggs, garlic, broccoli, seeds, shiitake mushrooms, and nuts. However, the Cleveland Clinic recommends getting no more than 200 micrograms in a given day.
All of the B vitamins are important for thyroid function and hormone balance. For instance, vitamin B6 — found in whole grains, pork, and dairy products — helps the thyroid use iodine to produce hormones. Vitamin B12 — found in poultry, fish, and meat — helps fight fatigue by turning nutrients from food into energy. You can also talk to your doctor about getting proper B-complex vitamins through supplements.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hypothyroidism, according to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. A lack of vitamin D can lead to thin, brittle, or misshapen bones. Although it’s hard to find in most foods, according to the National Institutes of Health, eggs yolks, certain mushrooms, fatty fish are some natural sources of Vitamin D, while certain foods are available fortified with Vitamin D – such as milk, yogurt, orange juice. If you need a supplement, your doctor can prescribe the right dosage.
Foods to Watch Out For
A good hypothyroidism diet looks just like any other healthy diet: You eat the right variety of foods in the correct proportions and avoid highly processed foods. There are no specific food restrictions and no particular calorie caps unless advised by your doctor/physician.
However, certain foods can interfere with thyroid function and exacerbate your symptoms.
Soy — found in tofu, soy milk, soybeans, soy sauce, and vegan cheese and meat products — might interfere with thyroid functions. If you have hypothyroidism, you don’t need to avoid soy completely, but know if you eat or drink too much of it, you may be unable to absorb your medicines, the Mayo Clinic says.
Fruits and veggies are high in vitamins and minerals and dense in nutrients. They support digestion, heart health, brain function, and hormone balance. Your hypothyroidism diet should include large portions of them. However, cruciferous vegetables — such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts — contain natural chemicals called goitrogens, which can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. Baking or steaming these vegetables for over 30 minutes will neutralize most (90%) of their goitrogens. Limiting your consumption of cruciferous vegetables, though, is probably wise, says the San Francisco Chronicle.
A high-fiber diet is recommended for people with hypothyroidism because it can help maintain digestive health and lead to a healthy heart. Up your fiber intake by eating fresh vegetables, beans, berries, and pulses. However, too much dietary fiber can also impair your ability to absorb thyroid medication, the Mayo Clinic says. So don’t overdo it: Men need about 38 grams of fiber per day and women around 25.
Although food alone can’t cure hypothyroidism, eating foods more suited to address thyroid problems is important in helping you feel your very best, every single day.
Cruciferous vegetables as part of an underactive thyroid diet
Goitrogens are naturally occurring substances that can potentially inhibit thyroid production
Vegetables from the Cruciferae family are known as goitrogens. They include brussels sprouts, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and more.
In theory, then, eating these vegetables would aggravate an underactive thyroid and should be largely avoided. But this is only the case if you are iodine deficient or you consume ridiculously large quantities.
Raw cabbage was very problematic in rats when it made up a whopping 33% of their diet One lady also managed to put herself into a coma by eating 1-1.5 kgs of raw bok choy daily. Assuming you don’t eat phenomenal amounts of raw cruciferous vegetables, you are most likely safe. Frequent intake will only aggravate issues if your iodine intake is poor or you have a goiter.
Additionally, cooking cruciferous vegetables and other foods containing goitrogens are thought to greatly reduce its potential impact. A small study in 10 subjects showed that 150 g (5 oz) per day of cooked brussels sprouts for four weeks straight had no negative effects on thyroid function. As cruciferous vegetables are so nutrient-dense, it’s certainly not recommended to cut them out of your diet completely. Rather, ensure you cook them well and that your iodine intake is adequate. Limit or eliminate gluten for a hypothyroid diet Gluten is a protein found in grain and wheat that is not well-digested by around 6% of people.
While it’s fair to say the “gluten-free movement” has gotten out of hand, those with genuine gluten issues are at an increased risk for many health conditions (such as fibromyalgia) if they continue to consume it. And numerous studies have shown a strong link between so-called gluten sensitivity (as well as celiac disease) and hypothyroidism.
For those hypersensitive to gluten, it is thought their immune system can confuse components of gluten with thyroid tissue. The immune system then mistakenly attacks and damages the thyroid gland, characteristic of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Around 16% of those with celiac disease have antibodies that attack the thyroid. Going by this theory, an individual with Hashimoto’s will not improve unless gluten is removed from the diet.
Many studies have found that a gluten-free diet reduces the number of antithyroid antibodies, which is favorable for treatment and in preventing new issues. However, there are also good studies that found no improvement. It would be reaching to say that gluten definitively aggravates an underactive thyroid, but at the same time, it could very well play a part. The truth is we don’t know. Therefore, if you have an underactive thyroid it’s important to get tested for celiac disease first thing. And if you have a family history of autoimmune disease, or you want to play it extra safe, then eliminate gluten from your diet. Gluten-containing foods do not offer any unique nutrients that you can’t get from other food sources anyway.
If you don’t have symptoms of gluten and don’t feel any different on a gluten-free diet, then it’s likely not a problem. Weigh up the social aspect vs the health aspect and go from there. I’d personally only have gluten-foods as a treat.
Common foods that negatively affect people with Hashimoto’s Nightshades
This vegetable food group includes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and potatoes (but not sweet potatoes). The problematic nature of nightshades are its compounds lectins and alkaloids. They’re considered antinutritional as they can bind to your gut, disrupt digestion, and cause ongoing inflammation.
Certain legumes and beans
Lectins are also found in soybeans, kidney beans, Escumite beans, and french beans. However, cooking legumes and beans well will destroy lectins and make them safer to eat.
Beyond lectins, for some people, soybeans can mess with thyroid health by disrupting iodide uptake and blocking zinc from functioning (2). Soy also contains isoflavones—the main active component of soybeans (similar to the hormone estrogen) that produces both hormonal and non-hormonal effects.
This dairy drink contains a very high concentration of antigens and saturated fat—these substances promote inflammation Animal milk also shares proteins that are very similar to human proteins, including some found in the thyroid, which can cause an autoimmune reaction.
Wheat, barley, and oats
You should eat a gluten-free diet if you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and/or a wheat allergy. And if your symptoms resolve when your diet is gluten-free, you might have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity Gluten’s component gliadin is toxic for some people as it can cause damage to the gut, which leads to inflammation that can trigger a chronic autoimmune reaction.
Although nuts can protect against inflammation, for a small percentage of people nuts cause autoimmune flare-ups. This can happen because of nuts’ high protein content, which can cause a reaction from immunes cells in the gut.
Try an elimination diet for 4–8 weeks if you suspect certain foods are negatively affecting you. It’s best to eliminate different foods once at a time to pinpoint what’s harming you.
Track your symptoms and diet to BOOST Thyroid to help you understand your progress. After 4–8 weeks of elimination, slowly reintroduce the food to your diet to see if you have negative effects.
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