A hyperthyroidism diet may greatly help thyroid treatment and manage the condition’s symptoms as well. Hyperthyroidism is the result of an overactive thyroid gland. It causes several natural functions of the body to go out of balance.
As with other medical conditions of the human body, your hyperthyroidism diet plays a huge role in dealing with your symptoms. Read on to learn more about how you can help control your symptoms concerning hyperthyroidism by adding certain foods to your daily diet.
In this article:
- Leading Causes of Hyperthyroidism
- Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
- What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Hyperthyroidism?
- What’s in a Hyperthyroidism Diet?
- Hyperthyroidism Foods to Avoid
- Is Hyperthyroidism Preventable?
- What to Expect in Your Hyperthyroidism Treatment
- What Are the Possible Complications of Hyperthyroidism?
- Ways to Improve the Thyroid Health
Hyperthyroidism Diet to Help Your Thyroid
Leading Causes of Hyperthyroidism
The symptoms of this thyroid disease may be completely undetectable in the beginning stages of an overactive thyroid gland but become more noticeable over time. Here are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism to be aware of:
- Unexplained or sudden weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Fine hair and hair loss
- Experiencing more bowel movements than usual, diarrhea
- Feeling ‘wired’
- Periods of excessive sweating
- Racing heartbeat
- Heat intolerance
- Shakiness and tremors
- Overactive reflexes
If you suspect you may have hyperthyroidism, it is essential you consult your primary care physician to receive a proper diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, it is crucial to begin the medical treatment for this thyroid condition.
What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Hyperthyroidism?
The following have a high chance of developing hyperthyroidism:
- Chronic stress
- Autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes
- Family history of thyroid issues
- Women, especially during pregnancy
What’s in a Hyperthyroidism Diet?
Making healthier choices and changes to your hyperthyroidism natural treatment diet has been shown to help thousands of patients with thyroid conditions. The following foods are great places to start when coping with the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
1. Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
When our bodies are not receiving the omega-3 fatty acids they need, they can experience a hormonal imbalance, including our thyroid hormones. Fatty acids are essential for proper hormone balance, which is necessary for the appropriate functioning of our immune systems and cell growth.
Fatty acids are also critical to our body’s ability to appropriately respond to our thyroid hormones. To increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids your body needs, you can add the following foods to your hyperthyroidism diet:
- Grass-fed animal products
2. Sea Vegetables
Sea vegetables are an excellent source to increase your iodine intake, an essential mineral for optimal thyroid health. The following sea vegetables are superb additions to your iodine diet:
- Sea palm
These sea vegetables also contain vitamin K, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, and B-vitamin. You can find these sea vegetables in their dried form in your local grocery store or whole foods market.
If you’re allergic to seafood or need an alternative source of iodine and vitamin K while on the go, you can opt for thyroid support supplements.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in isothiocyanates and goitrogens. These two substances help prevent the thyroid gland from making too much thyroid hormone – one of the leading causes of hyperthyroidism.
Adding the following raw cruciferous vegetables to your daily diet can significantly ease the symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism:
- Brussel sprouts
- Mustard greens
4. Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Adding foods rich in antioxidants and whey proteins has been shown to be significantly beneficial in managing the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress within the human body, which is created by an increase in thyroid hormone levels.
Add the following foods rich in antioxidants to your hyperthyroidism diet to help ease the symptoms:
- Bell peppers
5. Whey Protein
An overactive thyroid gland can cause an increased breakdown of your muscles. Adding whey protein to your daily diet can help improve muscle strength, as well as muscle mass.
The following foods are excellent sources of whey protein:
- Plain yogurt
- Lean meats
- Coldwater fish
Herbs are of great benefit to the symptoms of hyperthyroidism as well. Adding the following herbs to your diet are great for reducing general inflammation in the human body, including those caused by hyperthyroidism:
- Lemon balm
7. Essential Oils
Essential oils, such as frankincense and myrrh, have been shown to reduce stress on the human body, which, in turn, may help to regulate thyroid function. Here are two ways these beneficial essential oils can be used to reduce stress:
- Frankincense essential oil: Apply two drops to the roof of your mouth every day.
- Myrrh essential oil: Apply three drops to the thyroid area of your neck (below your voice box). You can do this twice a day, once in the morning and early in the evening.
8. Foods High in Calcium and Vitamin D
Foods with calcium and vitamin D do not directly fight hyperthyroidism, but these nutrients may help combat side-effects of the condition.
Hyperthyroidism can cause increased excretion of calcium through your stool and urine. This can cause a deficiency of the vitamin, significantly affecting your bones.
Calcium-rich foods are as follows:
- Bok choy
- Fortified orange juice
- Canned salmon
Because vitamin D works with calcium for bone metabolism, low levels of calcium caused by an overactive thyroid can also affect the vitamin levels in the body.
You can get vitamin D from these foods:
- Fortified cereals
- Fortified soy milk
9. Foods Rich in Zinc, Selenium, and Iron
Iron has been linked to hyperthyroidism as constant low levels of it can result in an overactive thyroid. Selenium can help balance hormone levels and protect the thyroid from cell damage.
Zinc can also aid in normalizing thyroid hormone levels. You can get these nutrients from the following foods:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cocoa powder
- Sunflower seeds
- Chicken or turkey
- Oat bran
- Chia seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Whole grains
- Red meat
- Dried beans
Hyperthyroidism Foods to Avoid
It is essential to know which foods to avoid when dealing with the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
- Food products that contain gluten
- Conventional dairy products
- Food products containing dyes and/or artificial flavorings
- Processed sugar
- Packaged foods that contain genetically modified organism (GMO), which have been linked to autoimmune disorders
Is Hyperthyroidism Preventable?
Hyperthyroidism is not necessarily preventable, but it is manageable with the right medical prescription. It’s also crucial to attend all of your physician’s appointments because it may take several tests to know what treatment best suits the individual.
What to Expect in Your Hyperthyroidism Treatment
Your doctor may give you antithyroid medications to balance hormone production or may suggest thyroid surgery or radiation therapy depending on the severity.
He/She may also recommend a hyperthyroidism diet to reduce symptoms. Such a thyroid-friendly diet may be suggested even before undergoing treatment.
After treatment, your doctor may still require you to continue following the recommended diet.
What Are the Possible Complications of Hyperthyroidism?
When hyperthyroidism gets worse, it can pose a life-threatening condition called thyroid crisis or storm. It may also occur if there is stress or infection.
Thyroid Crisis Definition: A condition where the thyroid gland produces a massive amount of hormones for a short period
Symptoms of this condition can include:
- Chest pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Excessive tiredness
- Breathing difficulty
- Unusual high or low blood pressure
- Trouble swallowing
- Weight loss even if you are eating
Ways to Improve the Thyroid Health
A hyperthyroidism diet plays a crucial role in managing an overactive thyroid, but you can do more to that to keep the organ healthy. You can follow these lifestyle changes:
Detoxification cleans out your system of toxins, including those thyroid disruptors in pop cans and water bottles.
One study revealed that there is a link between phthalates and thyroid hormone levels—as urinary metabolite concentrations of the chemical increased, the serum level of certain thyroid hormones decreased. Another research linked canned soups to the thyroid hormone levels where bisphenol A doubled, and thyroxine levels decreased in participants.
Detoxification can be in the form of exercise, spending time in a sauna, or increasing fiber in your diet.
2. Go for a Blood Test
Getting blood tests to check for thyroid antibodies is crucial if you have a family history of thyroid issues. These antibodies can be an indicator that you need to monitor your thyroid gland for any development of hyperthyroidism and other related conditions.
You can do the test yearly to monitor your thyroid levels closely.
3. Stop Smoking
Smoking can increase your risk of developing hyperthyroidism. The chemicals in cigarettes like nicotine can trigger an increased excretion of iodine levels, significantly affecting the thyroid function.
Quitting this vice might be difficult, so you might need professional help on how you can successfully stop it. You can also try reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke daily and work your way up gradually.
4. Avoid Excessive Workouts
Too much exercise might cause harm to your thyroid as it can raise cortisol levels, preventing the proper conversion of the hormones.
It also increases reverse T3 that blocks your thyroid hormone from entering your cells, which results in cravings for food, a decrease in active muscles, and belly fat.
You can do simple walking outside for at least 30 minutes as your regular workout.
5. Follow a Thyroid-Friendly Diet
Again, a diet rich in nutrients like iron and zinc can be a great meal plan for your hyperthyroidism. It neutralizes not only thyroid levels but also maintains a healthy level long-term.
It’s important not to starve yourself from a strict diet because starvation can interfere with the production of your thyroid hormones.
6. Control Stress
Stress alone is not a cause for a thyroid disorder, but it can worsen the condition. An extreme amount of physical stress, such as getting overworked, may trigger thyroid storm.
To avoid this, you can manage stress through the following:
- Performing meditation
- Making time to relax each day
- Having aromatic baths
- Doing your hobby or whatever makes you happy
- Socializing or spending time with your loved ones
- Avoiding stressful people or situations
- Taking long, restful sleep daily
There are still other things you can do to manage stress. Talk to your doctor to help you further on which type of stress management is best for you.
Instead of only taking your thyroid medications, you can optimize your thyroid treatment by improving your hyperthyroidism diet. Avoid processed foods and follow a gluten-free diet to help better deal with some of your hyperthyroid symptoms.
Adding a few vegetables, protein, and supplements may also improve your treatment. Be sure to consult your physician before making any significant changes to your diet.
What foods have you added to your daily hyperthyroidism diet to help control the condition’s symptoms? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 2, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.