Feeling lethargic, out-of-sorts, and gaining weight? You could be suffering from hypothyroidism and need a tailored diet to restore your health. This article will guide you through the best food choices for managing your condition.
Quick facts: Best Diet For Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition which can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from fatigue and weight gain to depression and constipation. Managing this condition through diet can be an effective way to improve overall health and well-being.
This article will discuss the best diet for hypothyroidism and how to make dietary changes to help manage this condition:
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. This condition can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as fatigue and weight gain, difficulty concentrating, constipation, dry skin and hair, a slowed heart rate, and cold intolerance. It is important to note that hypothyroidism can be caused by either a deficiency in iodine or an autoimmune disorder.
The best diet for hypothyroidism should provide adequate amounts of iodine in order to help maintain healthy levels of hormone production. It should also contain plenty of fiber to help with digestion and nutrient absorption as well as selenium which may help improve the function of the immune system. Additionally, it is important to include lean proteins like fish and chicken as well as Omega-3 fatty acids from nuts and seeds which may help improve symptoms such as fatigue and depression associated with hypothyroidism. A well-balanced diet that includes dark leafy greens, fruits, and other nutrient-rich sources can help maintain optimal health for those suffering from hypothyroidism.
Nutrition is an important part of managing hypothyroidism as what you eat can affect your thyroid hormone levels. Eating a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals and low in processed foods can help improve your thyroid health and manage symptoms.
Let’s look at what foods should be included in a diet for hypothyroidism:
Increase iodine intake
In order to properly manage hypothyroidism, it is important to increase your iodine intake. Iodine is an essential mineral that helps to regulate the production of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland needs a specific amount of iodine in order to generate these hormones, so increasing iodine intake can help support a healthy functioning thyroid.
Food sources high in iodine include:
- Iodized salt
- Dairy products
Additionally, medications such as Synthroid or Levoxyl may be prescribed for those with hypothyroidism who need additional support in boosting their levels of usable iodine. It is important to note that taking too much iodine can also be harmful so it is best to speak with your doctor before increasing intake.
Goitrogens are food compounds that block iodine, which can disrupt the production of the thyroid hormone. This is especially important for those with hypothyroidism, as this condition is caused by an inadequate production of thyroid hormones. Goitrogens can be found in many foods such as cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli and cauliflower), sweet potatoes, cassava, peanuts, and soy products.
While these foods can still be eaten in moderation, individuals with hypothyroidism should opt for cooked versions of these goitrogenic foods to minimize their intake and reduce their risk of exacerbating symptoms. Moreover, they should avoid goitrogenic-rich food like unfermented soy products (e.g., tofu and tempeh) and smoothies featuring high amounts of raw cruciferous vegetables to further decrease the risk of compromising thyroid function.
Increase selenium intake
Selenium is an important mineral for people with hypothyroidism, as it plays a role in producing hormones that regulate the thyroid gland. Selenium enhances the effects of iodine in producing and releasing thyroid hormones, so eating plenty of selenium-rich foods can be beneficial to your hypothyroidism diet.
Some of the best sources of selenium include:
- Brazil nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Wild-caught fish such as tuna and salmon
Increasing your intake of these foods can help reduce symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. It’s important to note that supplementation is not always necessary – increasing dietary selenium intake should be enough to ensure adequate selenium levels are achieved.
Increase zinc intake
Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder caused by an inadequate production of hormones from the thyroid gland. It can cause a variety of symptoms including fatigue, weight gain, and depression. One way to manage hypothyroidism is through nutrition and diet. Increasing zinc intake is an important part of this, as it helps support healthy hormone production and metabolism.
Zinc rich foods include:
- Wheat germ
- Pumpkin seeds
- Beef liver
- Sesame seeds
- Cocoa powder
- Legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas)
- Beef/lamb/turkey/chicken liver/heart etc.
- Eggs (especially egg yolks)
- Fish such as salmon or halibut.
For vegetarians and vegans supplementing with zinc can be beneficial. However it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before supplementing to ensure the right dosage for your needs.
Increase Vitamin B12 and B2 intake
Increasing your intake of vitamin B12 and B2 is essential for managing hypothyroidism. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in regulating both the production and metabolism of thyroid hormones. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps to convert food into energy, which the body can use for cellular repair and metabolic processes.
To increase your consumption of these vitamins, incorporate more animal proteins into your diet, such as eggs, liver, fish, poultry, and meat. Additionally, dairy products are high in vitamin B12 and are a great way to get more of this nutrient into your diet. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you should consider taking a vitamin B12 supplement as these foods typically don’t contain it naturally. Eating plenty of green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli that are high in riboflavin is also beneficial for increasing B2 levels in your body.
Increase Vitamin D intake
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient when it comes to managing hypothyroidism. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body use hormones and minerals effectively.
When it comes to hypothyroidism, getting enough vitamin D can help the thyroid gland produce an adequate amount of hormones. It can also help support healthy blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or prediabetes. Furthermore, Vitamin D plays a role in helping your body absorb calcium for strong bones and teeth, and protect against cell damage from free radicals.
The best sources of Vitamin D are:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel
- Dairy products like cheese and yogurt
- Foods like mushrooms (can be fortified with Vitamin D during the processing phase)
You can also opt for supplements if you find it hard to get the required amount of Vitamin D through food sources alone.
Foods to Avoid
Eating the right foods is essential for managing hypothyroidism. Certain foods can interfere with hormone production, so it is important to avoid these foods to maintain normal hormone levels. This article will discuss some of the most common foods to avoid if you have hypothyroidism.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It can be difficult to digest, especially for individuals who suffer from a condition called Celiac Disease. Even individuals without Celiac Disease may experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms while consuming gluten. For this reason, people with hypothyroidism are often advised to avoid gluten.
Hypothyroidism is a condition which has been found to increase the risk of developing Celiac disease and vice versa. This means that individuals with hypothyroidism are even more prone to experiencing digestive distress when consuming gluten-containing products. Consuming high amounts of gluten can also interfere with the absorption of thyroid medication, leading to an ineffective management of symptoms and resulting in further health complications.
Therefore, it is recommended that those with hypothyroidism reduce or eliminate their consumption of gluten-containing foods entirely in order to maintain optimal health and reduce digestion complications as much as possible. Foods like breads and pastas should be avoided if using a gluten-free diet for hypothyroidism management or relief from symptoms.
Soy is a common food ingredient, and it is difficult to avoid completely. However, it is important to limit the amount of soy in your diet if you have hypothyroidism. This is because soy contains substances called goitrogens, which can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Studies have shown that dietary soy intake can reduce the absorption of levothyroxine, a hormone replacement therapy used to treat hypothyroidism. Symptoms such as constipation, fatigue, weight gain, and cold intolerance may become worse if too much soy is consumed.
Other foods that contain goitrogens include:
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
- Sweet potatoes.
- Cassava root.
To minimize the risk of damaging your thyroid health, only small amounts (1-2 servings) of these foods should be eaten each day.
Cruciferous vegetables—such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage — are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals. However, if you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), they may not be the best choice for your diet. These types of foods contain compounds called thiocyanates which can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormones. For example, when too much of these compounds are consumed from cruciferous vegetables, it can lead to a condition known as goiter (enlarged thyroid glands) or even hypothyroidism.
Therefore, if you suffer from hypothyroidism and its related symptoms such as fatigue and constipation, it’s best to limit your consumption of cruciferous vegetables or avoid them altogether. Instead of consuming these vegetables raw or cooked, consider juicing them with other non-cruciferous foods like carrots or apples which will enable you to benefit from their vitamins while limiting their effect on your thyroid hormones.
Processed foods are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to hypothyroidism diets and should be avoided as much as possible. These foods contain a variety of unhealthy ingredients such as refined sugars, preservatives, food additives, artificial colors, and trans fats. Because of the potential health risks these ingredients pose, it is important to minimize their intake or avoid entirely. Processed foods also tend to be low in essential nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, and minerals which can lead to further health issues if consumed in large amounts.
Some processed foods that should especially be avoided are anything containing refined grains and sugar such as candies, pre-packaged snacks and meals, cookies, cakes, and breads. In general processed food should be kept out of a hypothyroidism diet in order to maintain optimal health.
Foods to Eat
Having hypothyroidism can be a challenge and it is important to follow a healthy diet plan to manage the condition. Eating certain nutritious foods can help improve thyroid health and reduce symptoms. In this article, we will take a closer look at the best foods to eat while living with hypothyroidism.
Seafood is an important part of a healthy diet for those living with hypothyroidism. Seafood, especially cold water fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce inflammation and support the body’s endocrine system. In addition, eating fish can help control cholesterol levels which are often impacted by hypothyroidism.
Seafood also contains iodine which helps to regulate metabolism and promotes healthy thyroid hormones. Consuming seafood at least twice a week is recommended for people with hypothyroidism to receive the health benefits from omega-3s as well as adequate amounts of iodine.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds can be an important part of a healthy eating plan when you have hypothyroidism. Nuts and seeds are rich in zinc, selenium, iron, magnesium and B vitamins, which are essential nutrients that play an important role in thyroid health. They also contain healthy monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Examples of nut and seed choices include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds. Nuts should be raw or lightly toasted for the most nutritional benefit. Seeds may be used raw or sprouted for added benefits.
Eating a handful of nuts or a tablespoon of seeds every day is a great way to get these nutrients into your diet.
Leafy Greens are one of the best foods to eat for Hypothyroidism. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are high in vitamins A and C, which help fight inflammation and support a healthy gland system. They also contain various minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. These nutrients are important for maintaining the balance of thyroid hormones in the body.
Eating dark leafy greens also helps with regulating metabolism since they’re high in fiber, which aids in digestion. Other green vegetables to consider adding to your diet include:
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
Eating these regularly can provide you with many health benefits and could help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.
Fermented foods are a great addition to any diet, especially for those with hypothyroidism. Fermented foods are created through the process of fermentation and contain beneficial bacteria that can help improve digestion and fight off harmful organisms. This is particularly important for people with hypothyroidism, as their digestive system has often been impacted by the condition.
Eating fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and miso can provide much-needed probiotics and help heal the gut. Other fermented foods such as tempeh and kimchi also contain beneficial vitamins and minerals that may aid in restoring balance to the body. Eating fermented foods regularly can be beneficial to your overall health as well as thyroid function in those with hypothyroidism.
In conclusion, if you have hypothyroidism it is important to follow a healthy diet. Eating whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats can help support your thyroid and overall health. Additionally, limiting processed foods and replacing them with nutrient-rich whole foods can help ensure proper nutrition.
Finally, concentrating on eating a balance of foods that contain iodine, selenium and tyrosine is key in managing the symptoms of hypothyroidism and reducing the risk of complications. Overall following a healthy diet for hypothyroidism can make a real difference in managing the condition’s symptoms and keeping you feeling your best.
FAQs about: Best Diet For Hypothyroidism
Q: What diet should someone with hypothyroidism follow?
A: A diet for someone with hypothyroidism should include plenty of fiber, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day can also help regulate metabolism and energy levels. Additionally, avoiding foods that contain goitrogens, such as soy, is recommended.
Q: What vitamins and minerals should be included in a diet for hypothyroidism?
A: Vitamins and minerals that are important for a hypothyroidism diet include iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, B vitamins, such as B12, can help with energy levels.
Q: Are there any foods to avoid if someone has hypothyroidism?
A: Yes, there are certain foods to avoid if someone has hypothyroidism. These include processed foods, white flour, refined sugars, and soy products. Additionally, it is important to limit caffeine and alcohol intake as these can interfere with the absorption of thyroid medications.