A good diet for hypothyroidism can be tricky because some healthy foods can cause more harm than good to a person with hypothyroidism. If you’re thinking of a menu to help you manage hypothyroidism, you have to know which foods are beneficial and which ones to avoid.
When you have hypothyroidism, changing your lifestyle and managing your diet plan are a must. It can be difficult at times as you need to watch what you eat.
Remember, getting the essential nutrients can help battle the thyroid condition. The healthy food list in this article can help you better with your hypothyroidism diet plan.
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In this article:
- What Is Hypothyroidism?
- What Causes Hypothyroidism?
- What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
- Foods Recommended for People with Hypothyroidism:
Diet for Hypothyroidism | 9 Foods to Eat
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland is underactive. People who are suffering from this health issue have thyroid glands that don’t create enough thyroid hormone, negatively affecting many bodily functions.
One major function of the thyroid is controlling metabolism, the process by which cells use food for energy. This activity affects how much you burn calories, your heartbeat, and your temperature.
If you don’t have much of the thyroid hormone, these body processes slow down.
What Causes Hypothyroidism?
Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, and this autoimmune thyroid disease causes inflammation in the thyroid gland.
Hashimoto’s Disease Definition: A condition where the body creates antibodies that destroy and attack the thyroid
Other causes are as follow:
- Hypothalamus disorder – Not enough thyrotropin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus can affect the formation of the thyroid-stimulating hormone in the pituitary gland. The latter aids in the regulation of the thyroid hormones.
- Pituitary gland damage – A problem with your pituitary gland can disrupt the thyroid hormone production.
- Problems with the thyroid gland at birth – Some infants may be born with a less developed thyroid.
- Pregnancy – Some pregnant women experience a high increase in their thyroid hormone and then a sudden drop, leading to an inflamed thyroid.
- Low iodine levels – Iodine is an essential nutrient for the thyroid but the body does not produce it. You need to get it through an anti-inflammatory diet (see list of foods recommended for the diet for hypothyroidism below).
- Radiation therapy in the neck – Radiation primarily destroys the cells in the body, and if you have undergone neck radiation, chances of developing hypothyroidism are high. The therapy may make it difficult for your thyroid to create hormones.
What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
The symptoms of hypothyroidism may be unclear and can mimic other illnesses, and these include the following:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Difficulty losing weight or unexplained weight gain
- Inflammation of the thyroid (goiter)
- Slow heart rate
- High sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Hair loss and dry hair
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Definition: A condition where the median nerve is compressed causing tingling, numbness, and pain in the hand or arm
Infants suffering from hypothyroidism usually don’t have signs and symptoms, but if they occur, they may include the following:
- Inflamed tongue
- Puffy face
- Poor feeding habits
- Yellowing of the skin
- Low muscle tone
- Little to no growth
- Hoarse cry
- Extreme sleepiness
- Cold hands and feet
It’s crucial to consider that these signs may be due to other medical issues, so see a health professional right away if you observe these.
Foods Recommended for People with Hypothyroidism
1. Wild-Caught Fish
Wild-caught fish are great for a thyroid diet for weight loss because they’re good sources of iodine. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) and selenium.
These nutrients help regulate thyroid hormone levels and support healthy thyroid functions. A stabilized level of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is needed in a hypothyroidism diet.
It promotes healthy neurological function and reduces inflammation.
A well-balanced diet for hypothyroidism includes salmon, sardines, and mackerel. These can help sustain a healthy immune system and amplify neurotransmitter activity.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is packed with medium-chain fatty acids, lauric acid, and saturated fat. These unique components make a good source of usable energy for the body.
The fat balance is nourishing for the thyroid gland as well.
Coconut oil also has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. These are helpful for suppressing inflammation.
A basic hypothyroidism diet plan with coconut oil increases energy and fights fatigue. It also supports a healthy metabolism.
Eating iodine-rich foods, such as seaweed, helps prevent various forms of thyroid disorders. Iodine deficiency can disturb thyroid function.
This may lead to hypothyroidism in the long run. Seaweeds like dried kelp, nori, and dulse are good choices in soups, sushi, and salads.
So, make sure to add seaweeds to your thyroid diet. Just be cautious if you’re taking iodine supplements since too much iodine can be harmful.
Before adding a dosage to your iodine intake, make sure to talk to your doctor.
If you’re allergic to seaweed or just need an alternative source of iodine on the go, you can opt for thyroid support supplements. Go for all-natural products with little to no side effects.
4. Probiotic-Rich Foods
Studies show the association between Hashimoto’s disease and vitamin D deficiency. These two are the most known causes of thyroid problems.
Probiotic-rich foods are a significant source of vitamin D. They’re also a good source of nutrients like calcium, protein, and iodine.
These good nutrients help improve the thyroid gland. They also balance the microflora bacteria in the body for a healthy gut.
Make sure to include milk and yogurt in your diet. Other fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, curd, and kefir are also great choices to include in your diet for hypothyroidism.
5. Sprouted Seed
Sprouted seeds can help a lot with hypothyroidism. They provide omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart and help with thyroid hormone balance.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role in maintaining thyroid functions. A sufficient intake of healthy fats is necessary for a hypothyroidism diet.
These fats help reduce inflammation, boost mood, and support brain function. Healthy fat intake also aids weight loss and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
These are vital for sustaining a healthy body weight. Among all the seeds, flax, hemp, and chia seeds are good sources of nutrients.
6. Clean Water
Rehydration is the perfect solution for most illnesses. It helps regulate the thyroid hormone.
Clean water prevents fatigue and helps a lot with digestive function. Always remember to drink at least eight glasses a day (or 8 ounces every two hours).
This helps maintain the right amount of hydration in your body.
Remember, clean water benefits your thyroid gland and helps you lose weight. So, try and reach for it more often, and soon, you’ll see a decrease in your weight.
7. High-Fiber Foods
High-fiber foods help a lot with your digestion and balance your blood sugar. They also support heart health and weight loss.
They are essential for suppressing many forms of thyroid disorders as well.
Maintaining proper digestion goes a long way in keeping your body healthy. Adequate fiber intake helps increase your metabolism.
This boosts the absorption of beneficial nutrients and vitamins in your body. For proper digestive health, the recommended intake of fiber is 30-40 grams.
Some examples are fresh vegetables, berries, beans, and lentils.
8. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a significant source of nutrients. They also help people with hypothyroidism lower the risk of heart disease.
A low-carbohydrate diet and high-density of fruits and vegetables form the foundation of any hypothyroid diet. This helps fight off weight gain caused by hypothyroidism.
Eating fresh produce like apples, blueberries, tomatoes, and other vegetables are good for the thyroid gland. They are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant properties.
They also lower inflammation and fight against free radical damage.
Be mindful of the vegetables you consume, especially when following a plant-based diet. People with hypothyroidism symptoms must avoid cruciferous vegetables.
Such examples are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. These varieties are goitrogenic foods.
They can block the thyroid gland of iodine and other nutrients essential for thyroid hormone production. Be aware of the cruciferous vegetables you must never eat.
Remember to choose the best varieties available.
9. Bone Broth
Bone broth can help a lot in maintaining safe thyroid hormone levels. The stock of a bone broth consists of amino acids, which are great for your digestion as well.
The broth helps repair digestive lining. It’s an advantage for reducing the severity of thyroid disease.
Bone broth helps fight fatigue and manage muscle pain. It also boosts energy levels and even improves immunity.
Adding bone broth into your diet for hypothyroidism is a very simple way to get started with your healthy eating habits. While whipping up bone broth, you may also include thyroid-stimulating foods like watercress and bok choy.
A good diet for hypothyroidism revolves around the idea of eating everything in moderation. Although food items rich in iodine is key, it’s still important to remember not to go overboard and ingest every iodine supplement you come across.
As always, remember to consult with a doctor on a thyroid diet plan whenever possible to achieve the best results.
For assistance in dealing with thyroid-related disorders, you can reach out to LIV Health.
What healthy tips on planning a diet for hypothyroidism can you suggest? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 1, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.