What is Hypothyroidism?
It’s a condition where the thyroid gland does not work properly and produces less thyroid hormones than the body requires. According to the National Health & Nutrition Examination survey, about 5% of the world’s population has hypothyroidism. A further 5% go un-diagnosed.
We should all maintain a healthy diet and overall lifestyle. However, it’s especially important for people who suffer from an under active thyroid. The reason why it’s so important for those who have this condition is because diet plays a key role in normalising factors including hormone production and regulation.
However, according to health experts, not all food items and groups are suitable for consumption if you are a hypothyroid patient . There are even certain foods that can increase the severity of the hypothyroidism.
Specifically, for those who suffer from Hashimoto’s, studies have shown that gluten-free, anti-inflammatory, and autoimmune elimination diets are the better patterns to follow
In this article, we cover the various foods you should incorporate into your diet, as well as the foods to avoid. Finally, we discuss the most important nutrients for hormone regulation.
Foods for Hypothyroidism
A diet rich in the following foods can help improve your overall health and promote healthy body weight management. Furthermore, getting in plenty of fibre is key as this can reduce your risk of constipation, which is another symptom of hypothyroidism.
Dairy product contain a high amount of vitamin D which is good for hypothyroidism. According to a study from the Indian Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, vitamin D rich foods help to improve the level of TSH. It increases the production of thyroid antibodies in patients.
Additionally, dairy products such as milk, cream, cheese, contain other healthy nutrients including potassium, calcium, protein, and iodine, all of which help reduce the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Fresh Fruit & Vegetables
Hypothyroidism suffers usually struggle with their weight. Therefore, consumption of a low-calorie, high-density diet helps in weight loss. In addition, foods such as cherries and blueberries rich in antioxidants prevent the risk of cardiovascular disorders.
But keep one thing in mind, if you have thyroid problems, you should reduce the consumption of cruciferous vegetables, e.g. broccoli and cabbage, to a maximum of 5 ounces daily, as these vegetables block the absorption of iodine and decrease thyroid hormone synthesis.
Seaweed has the highest concentration of iodine, an important nutrient for the proper functioning of the thyroid. According a study, consuming iodine rich food is good for thyroid. This is the reason why kelp is the prominent ingredient in our Natural Thyroid Support supplement.
As mentioned, patients with hypothyroidism face constipation. Whole-grain foods, for example, bread, pasta, cereal, and rice, are rich in fibre. This means that whole grain foods help a lot with constipation and other bowel disorders.
Beans are an inexpensive and versatile food, and these are a good source of essential nutrients that provide energy to the body. They contain protein, complex carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Beans are an excellent way to help with hypothyroidism as there is such a great variety of beans to choose from such as red beans, white beans etc.
Foods to Avoid for Hypothyroidism
On the other hand, here are a few foods that you should avoid if you are suffering from hypothyroidism:
According to various studies, consuming soy may actually interrupt the absorption of thyroid medication. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t take medication immediately after eating soy.
According to the Associate Chief of Endocrinology, fats interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the thyroid hormone replacement. Fats also affect the production of the hormone. So, it’s important to be mindful of your intake of fried and foods such as butter, mayonnaise and fatty cuts of meat.
As we have previously discussed, hypothyroidism slows down the body’s metabolism. This means that it is much easier for you to gain weight. Cutting down on your sugar intake is crucial to managing your autoimmune disorder.
Nutrients for Hypothyroidism
Nutrients play an important role in managing hypothyroidism. According to experts, a deficiency in certain nutrients can promote hypothyroidism. This means that it’s even more important to maintain your nutrient levels in these, including:
Iodine is an essential mineral that plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormones. Studies show that the deficiency of iodine causes hypothyroidism. An iodine deficiency isn’t that common but those who don’t consume iodized salt, are pregnant, or vegan, are most at risk.
It should be noted however, that if you are deficient in iodine, a supplement specifically for this is usually not recommended. This is because an excessive amount of iodine can actually be harmful.
Another important nutrient is selenium. It is needed for thyroid hormone production and helps protect the thyroid from damage due to oxidative stress. It works in tandem in selenium. This means that if you are low in iodine, your selenium level will likely be low too, and vice versa.
Selenium activates the thyroid hormone, which helps to prevent hypothyroidism. Luckily, just 3-4 brazil nuts a day can help you reach your recommended daily selenium level intake.
Zinc is a healthy nutrient that activates the thyroid hormone. According to studies, zinc plays a supportive role in the release of the thyroid hormone. It regulates TSH which then prepares the thyroid glands to release thyroid hormones.
People with hypothyroidism can get a good amount of zinc from foods like beef, shellfish, oyster etc.
According to a study published in 2018, vitamin D helps a lot in improving thyroid function. It improves TSH as well as thyroid antibodies levels in people with autoimmune thyroiditis. Fortified milk has added vitamin D, protein, calcium and even iodine.
Having an under-active thyroid is not only a thyroid hormone-related problem, it affects your overall health. It can be the cause of weight gain, diabetes, extreme hair fall, fatigue and other chronic diseases. Hypothyroidism patients should try and incorporate specific foods into their diet because there are certain foods that can cause complications. Fresh fruits & vegetables, dairy products, fibre-rich foods, and whole grains should be consumed. On the other hand, soy, sugar, and fat should be eliminated as much as possible.
While there is no cure for hypothyroidism, the autoimmune disorder can be managed with a supplement. Specifically, ours is rich in iodine and selenium which helps to boost your thyroid hormone production, while improving mood and energy levels. Additionally, it helps to manage your weight. Learn more here.
As a final note, please always be mindful of taking medication for an under-active thyroid. Levothyroxine is known to come with serious side effects and while it helps reduce symptoms in the short-term, it will be something you will have to take for the rest of your life.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.