The best hypothyroidism diet will look a lot like a simple balanced diet for anyone. However, there are some foods that may improve symptoms, while others may interfere with the treatment and make the condition even worse.
Although the hypothyroidism diet includes nothing fancy, there are certain foods that are considered great for this condition.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is basically a condition where the thyroid gland, which is a butterfly-shaped, small gland in the neck, doesn’t make thyroid hormones. That, in turn, slows down the body’s metabolism and leads to certain symptoms, including weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, muscle pain, depression, hairfall and sensitivity to cold.
One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism is chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It’s an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. Other potential causes include iodine deficiency, thyroid surgery, thyroid inflammation, taking certain medicines, and treatments that damage the thyroid gland.
Various studies have shown that in addition to medication and treatment, a proper hypothyroidism diet and certain lifestyle changes can help ease symptoms and promote overall health in people with this condition.
Foods to add to a hypothyroidism diet
Below, we look at some of the best foods that must be included in a hypothyroidism diet. Following a nutritious and healthy diet can have specific benefits for people with hypothyroidism:
Chickens and other lean meats, such as beef, are some of the best sources of zinc – an important nutrient the body needs for proper functioning of the thyroid gland. If you’re a vegetarian, though, instead of meat, you can add beans, such as chickpeas, kidney beans, or baked beans to your Hashimoto disease diet.
Seafood such as tuna, shrimp, and other shellfish should also be added to different diets for Hashimoto. Seafood is rich in iodine and other essential nutrients the body requires to use the thyroid hormone efficiently.
Seaweed, cod, and tuna are great sources of iodine and help in the production of thyroid hormones. Sardines, meanwhile, are a good source of selenium – another essential mineral that helps activate the thyroid gland. Seafood such as lobsters and oysters contain high amounts of zinc that helps regulate the thyroid hormone and also helps the body absorb essential minerals.
Legumes and nuts
If you have hypothyroidism, you must add nuts and legumes to your hypothyroidism diet.
These foods are high in selenium – a mineral that can affect the working of thyroid hormones. Among them, Brazilian nuts are the best for people with hypothyroidism, as they contain high levels of selenium.
Leafy green vegetables
Dark green and leafy vegetables like chard, spinach, kale, and collard make an amazing hypothyroidism diet food, as they’re loaded with vitamin A and magnesium, important nutrients required for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
Studies have shown that vitamin A may help reduce the chances of hypothyroidism, especially in people who are obese or have undergone a gastrectomy.
Yogurt and dairy items
Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy items are all excellent sources of iodine, and hence must be added to a hypothyroidism diet. Moreover, dairy foods contain vitamin D, another very important nutrient hypothyroidism patients need more of.
Eggs, the white part in particular, are loaded with protein that help boost metabolism. The yolk, meanwhile, has selenium and iodine, both important nutrients to include in a hypothyroidism diet.
Foods to avoid if you have hypothyroidism
If you have hypothyroidism, avoid the following foods:
Gluten and processed foods
People with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are at an increased risk of celiac disease, so they must opt for a gluten-free hypothyroidism diet. However, there’s not enough evidence to determine whether a gluten-free diet can benefit people with Hashimoto’s and improve thyroid function.
Processed foods such as cookies, hot dogs, donuts, and all kinds of fast foods must also be avoided, as they contain high amounts of sugar and increase thyroid symptoms.
Soy-based food items
Foods containing soy such as edamame, soy milk, and tofu can all interfere with thyroid medication and treatments. However, medical experts suggest that you don’t have to give up on these foods entirely; just eat them in moderation. and wait for some time after taking your medicines.
Foods containing goitrogens
Goitrogens are basically a compound that may affect thyroid function if consumed in large amounts. However, when eaten in moderation, goitrogen-based vegetables like bok choy and broccoli are quite beneficial for health, and they do not interfere with thyroid medications and functions. Cooking these vegetables reduces or entirely deactivates goitrogen compounds.
It’s very important to follow a healthy and balanced hypothyroidism diet that helps with maintaining a moderate weight, reduces the symptoms, and most importantly doesn’t interfere with thyroid medications and other treatments. It’s also important to consult your doctor before making any dietary changes if you have hyperthyroidism.