The thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped endocrine organ, is tucked in your neck just in front of the larynx, or Adam’s apple, has the vital function of controlling your body’s metabolism. Since it’s so close to the surface of your body, and not usually covered by clothing, the thyroid gland is highly sensitive to environmental changes, oxygen levels in the air, and exposure to toxic chemicals. It is also dependent on elements in the foods you eat. Diseases that impair the function of this gland can lead to depression, fatigue, weight gain, joint pain, hair loss, slowing of your metabolism and increased risk for heart disease. As with virtually every bodily function, your diet plays a role in the health of your thyroid.
You are what you eat—and what you drink and breath, and the environment you are exposed to. And, all of these influence your thyroid gland, the master gland of metabolism. Though there is no specific diet that corrects hypothyroidism, there are guidelines that help your thyroid gland. A thyroid-friendly diet is much like a hypoglycemic diet – high in protein with a list of foods to avoid, which influence goiter formation (goitrogens). Diets higher in lean and balanced protein sources support thyroid function. It is also like an anti-autoimmune diet in that it is high in fish oils. Remember to eat healthy, whole, fresh, organic foods. Avoid processed foods, hormone-containing meats, dairy products, and transfats. There are also some specific nutrients that your thyroid depends on and it’s important to include them in your diet. Making dietary changes is your first line of defense in treating hypothyroidism.


1-Antioxidant Diet 

Antioxidants are powerful nutrients that reduce the development of particular diseases and can improve thyroid function. Antioxidants inhibit oxidation inside the body and help cells achieve their optimum potential. Antioxidants help protect your body from damage and they also promote the proper function of your entire body, including your thyroid. They are also great for keeping one healthy and boosting the immune system. Thus, there is a need for hypothyroidism patients to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants such as tomatoes, cherries, blueberries, bell pepper and squash. Consuming a variety of these foods regularly may reduce hypothyroid symptoms. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet. They contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals, but they’re also a good source of antioxidants. The antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E can help your body neutralize oxidative stress that may damage the thyroid.

2-Increase Protein Intake

Protein is more additives to help lessen symptoms of hypothyroidism. Diets higher in lean and balanced protein sources support thyroid function. Protein transports thyroid hormone to all your tissues and enjoying it at each meal can help normalize thyroid function. Protein is found in high levels in meats notably seafood, fish and beef, as well as eggs, dairy including a quart of milk per day combined with cheeses, leafy greens, potatoes ,nuts and nut butters; quinoa; hormone- and antibiotic-free animal products (organic, grass-fed meats, and sustainably-farmed fish); and legumes. Vegetable sources alone may not provide sufficient quantities or quality of protein while diets high in meat proteins may overwhelm the body with amino acids. Eat more protein and consume some type of protein with each meal. Drink a rice protein shake as a meal replacement if you are vegetarian.

3-Include Healthy Fats

Fat is your friend and cholesterol is the precursor to hormonal pathways; if you’re consuming insufficient fat and cholesterol, you could be aggravating hormonal imbalance, which includes thyroid hormones. Healthy fats such as Omega-3s these essential fats, found in fish, grass-fed animal products, flaxseeds, and walnuts, are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function and cell growth, are critical to thyroid function, and improve the ability to respond to thyroid hormones. Other Natural, healthful fats include olive oil; ghee; avocados; nuts and nut butter; hormone- and antibiotic-free full fat cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese (full fat, not skim); and coconut milk products. Limit your intake of saturated fat. People with thyroid problems, particularly hypothyroidism, can be at an increased risk for high cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease. Limiting your intake of saturated fat can help reduce your risk and keep your cholesterol level within a healthy range. Instead consume healthy fats that will balance hormones, like coconut oil, coconut milk, avocado, grass-fed beef, wild salmon, chia, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds.

4-Have Enough Nutrients

While nutritional deficiencies may not be the cause of hypothyroidism, studies indicate that severe zinc or selenium deficiencies can cause decreased thyroid hormone levels. Never take zinc on an empty stomach. Brazil nuts are high in both zinc and selenium. Optimal vitamin D levels are between 50-80 ng/ml; anything below 32 contributes to hormone pathway disruption. In addition, B vitamins help to manufacture thyroid hormone and play an important role in healthy thyroid function. And not having enough of these micronutrients and minerals can aggravate symptoms: iron, omega-3 fatty acids, copper, vitamin A, and iodine. Support your thyroid with optimal nutrition, including foods that contain iodine, zinc, omega-3 fats, selenium, and more.

5-Lower Carbohydrate Intake

To help the body to heal itself, remove burdens on its immune system. This means that all processed foods, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, white flour, white sugar, table salt, hydrogenated oils, aluminum, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, and etcetera should be eliminated from the diet. Greatly reduce or eliminate caffeine and sugar, including refined carbohydrates like flour, which the body treats like sugar. People with hypothyroidism have difficulty processing carbs; as a result, a diet similar to that of a diabetic can be helpful. Make grain-based carbohydrates lesser of a focus, eating non-starchy vegetables to your heart’s content. Organic food is the ideal. Do not trust marketing that reads “All Natural”, because this phrase is intentionally unregulated, so that anyone may use it for anything. Lower your intake of sugars and grains and replace them with healthy fats.  Most women especially consume far too many carbs which increase estrogen and negatively affect the thyroid.

6-Go 100% Gluten-free

Eating gluten can increase the autoimmune attack on your thyroid. Gluten is a potential goitrogen and can also trigger autoimmune responses (including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) in people who are sensitive. If you have Hashimoto’s, this also means going on a strict gluten-free diet, as many studies show a connection between Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. A subset of autoimmune thyroid patients has dietary-triggered autoimmunity, due to celiac disease, or wheat/gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by the intake of gluten. For these patients, going on a gluten-free diet may eliminate antibodies, and cause a remission of their autoimmune thyroid disease. Even for some patients who do not have celiac disease, going on a gluten-free diet may reduce antibodies, reduce bloating, and help with energy and weight loss. Gluten is a protein contained in many common foods such as bread and pasta. Foods containing gluten such as barley, rye, semolina, wheat, and bulgur should be excluded from the diet. Hot dogs, ice cream, commercial soups and sauces, candy bars, and all kinds of baked goods can be sources of gluten (even small amounts of gluten must be avoided).

7-Avoid Goitrogens Overconsumption

Goitrogens are compounds, occurring naturally in certain foods especially cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower) that can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge, which is called a goiter. Others Goitrogens include kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, millet, spinach, strawberries, peaches, watercress, peanuts, radishes, corn, sweet potatoes, lima beans, and soybeans. Goitrogenic foods can also function like an ant thyroid drug and actually slow down the thyroid and make it underactive (hypothyroidism.) Some practitioners recommend that people with under-active thyroid glands should be careful not to over-consume raw goitrogenic foods. If you are hypothyroid, it does not mean that you can never eat these foods. Cooking has been reported to inactivate goitrogenic compounds and allowing you to enjoy these foods in moderation if they are steamed or cooked.

8-Include Glutathione

Many people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions are familiar with the benefits of glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and sufficient glutathione is vital for combating autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. It can boost your body’s ability to modulate and regulate the immune system, dampen autoimmune flare-ups, and protect and heal thyroid tissue. Glutathione is commonly deficient in people with Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.   Studies show a correlation between the inability to recycle glutathione and increased autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s. Glutathione helps balance the immune system, protect the thyroid gland tissue from damage caused by inflammation and autoimmune attacks, and also helps repair the damage. Good glutathione recycling is an important tool in managing Hashimoto’s. One can still increase the glutathione levels by eating plenty of fresh vegetables (onions, garlic, asparagus, carrots, squash,  and cruciferous vegetables are especially good sources), along with some fresh fruits (peaches, avocado, grapefruit).  A plant substance found in broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, (those goitrogens), helps replenish glutathione stores. And if you’re not a vegetarian you can also get some glutathione from meat as well.  Eggs can also be a good source.  Selenium-rich foods such as Brazil nuts can also help to raise glutathione levels.

9-Moderate Soy Consumption

Soy is high in isoflavones, which are goitrogens, or foods that interfere with the function of your thyroid gland. Soy suppresses thyroid functions, imbalanced hormones, and it has been shown to cause goiters (an enlargement of the thyroid gland) in previously healthy individuals, which shows that it disrupts iodine usage. Don’t over consume soy, especially processed and high-phytoestrogen forms of soy, like shakes, powders, soy milk, bars, and supplements. You may want to eliminate soy, or limit soy consumption to fermented forms, like tempeh, miso, natto, and traditionally brewed soy sauce, are safe to eat (as the fermentation process reduces the goitrogenic activity of the isoflavones) in small quantities as a condiment, and not as a primary protein replacement. Moderate soy consumption (one serving daily of whole soy foods) should not be a problem.  If you are hyperthyroid, you may want to talk to a nutritional practitioner about incorporating more soy into your diet.

10-High-Fiber Diet

Getting a good amount of fiber is one of the basic tactics things you can do as a thyroid patient if you want to lose weight. Fiber has so many benefits for people with hypothyroidism who are trying to lose weight, and it can come from food, supplements, or both. Many thyroid patients struggle with constipation, and extra weight. Including getting 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day are the first-line treatment for constipation, especially for thyroid patients. One of the key tactics that can help is increasing fiber intake, particularly from foods. A high-fiber diet should provide approximately 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily. If you’re on thyroid medication, excessive fiber intake can interfere with the synthetic thyroid, so stay within this range and seek your doctor’s guidance to ensure you’re on the right track. High-fiber foods include many fruits and vegetables, leafy vegetables, green beans, whole grain bread and cereals, and beans. Some of the highest fiber foods include fruits like berries, greens, nuts and whole grains.

11-Get Adequate Iodine From Dietary Sources

Iodine is an essential element that helps the thyroid gland produce thyroid hormones. Typically an adult should consume around 150mcg of iodine a day. To give you a rough idea a cup of yogurt contains 87.2 mcg of iodine. The safe upper limit of iodine intake is considered to be 1,100 micrograms (1.1 mg) per day.  Since 1 teaspoon of iodized salt contains 284 micrograms of iodine, if you eat 4 teaspoons of iodized salt in a day, you have already exceeded the safe amount. Strange as it may seem, hypothyroidism can be caused both by too much iodine and by too little iodine. Excess iodine interferes with the release of thyroid hormone into the bloodstream and can cause goiter and hypothyroidism.
Incorrect iodine levels in the body can actually cause hypothyroidism making it one of the most important foods to regulate if you suspect hypothyroidism. Adequate iodine from dietary sources is also important – iodized salt, fresh ocean fish, and seaweed are good sources. Because iodized salt is heavily processed, some recommend avoiding iodized salt and instead getting iodine naturally from Primary sources of iodine: sea vegetables (seaweed), such as hijiki, wakame, arame, dulse, nori, and kombu and Seafood is naturally rich in iodine like saltwater fish, Cod, sea bass, haddock, and perch. Baked fish is the safest and most natural way to consume iodine but beware of bottom feeders, shellfish, krill, and etc. Secondary sources: eggs, asparagus, lima beans, mushrooms, spinach, sesame seeds, summer squash, Swiss chard, garlic and dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
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