Food for your Thyroid
If you have Hypo and/or Hyper thyroidism (autoimmune or otherwise) it would be wise to eat foods that are rich in the vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants important for optimum thyroid health. Not only that, there are some foods that may interfere with thyroid function and should be avoided completely and/or minimized.
With all the diet fads going around now, it’s not easy to figure out which one is right for you. Although there are not yet enough studies linking food to autoimmune disease remissions, it is scientifically proven that diet plays a crucial role in treating autoimmune diseases such as Hashimotos and Graves.
If you have an autoimmune disease, be it Hashimoto’s (Autoimmune Hypothyroidism) or Graves (Autoimmune Hyperthyroidism), eating the right kind of food isn’t just important, it’s essential. Treating autoimmune disease is complicated. Many people (especially women) experience a wide range of symptoms affecting their daily lives. Food is the one thing that is in our control. Eating healthy, eating real, eating smart is a lifestyle choice. Make it!
Below is a list of essential nutrients and foods rich in those nutrients which help support thyroid function:
Selenium rich foods – Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts and hazelnuts
Each of these nuts are very high in selenium. Our thyroid tissue requires a higher amount of selenium than any other organ in the human body, making this trace mineral essential for thyroid health.
Iodine rich foods – Seaweed, fish and eggs
Each of these foods are high in Iodine, which is a trace element important for thyroid function.
*Note: People with Hyperthyroidism should not be consuming food high in Iodine
Zinc rich foods
Zinc is a very important immunity booster and is known to improve T3 levels. Zinc rich foods include shellfish, nuts and legumes.
Foods high in anti-oxidants
Foods such as blueberries, pecans, goji berries, strawberries, artichokes, raspberries, and beets are highly nutritious and protect the body against oxidative stress by being high in anti-oxidants. Not enough studies have been conducted on the relationship between anti-oxidants and thyroid imbalances, however, thyroid hormones are involved in the regulation of oxidative stress.
Potassium rich foods
Studies show that potassium helps manage pain and inflammation in the body. Many people with autoimmune thyroid disease and other autoimmune diseases experience chronic pain. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte which helps the muscles in your body work more efficiently, including the muscles which control your breathing and heartbeat. Potassium rich foods include, bananas, avocados, dates, prunes, potatoes, mushrooms, grapefruits, and oranges.
A number of spices are very beneficial when it comes to reducing inflammation in the body (a common element in every autoimmune condition). Not only that, but some spices also upregulate your body’s healthy immune response. On the top of this list is of course, turmeric. Other anti-inflammatory spices include cloves, garlic, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne pepper.
Below is a list of foods to be avoided and/or consumed in moderation, as they may have a negative effect on thyroid health:
Most of the soy produced in the world is genetically modified. Many studies have proved that GM foods do more harm than good to people with autoimmune conditions, given that many auto-immune patients suffer from digestive as well as other ailments. Soy actually interferes with Thyroxin (a common hypothyroid medication) absorption as well, so if you are on Thyroxin for your Hypothyroidism, you should avoid soy completely.
These vegetables can be amongst the most nutritious vegetables, but they contain a chemical that is known to slow down thyroid function. As such, those with thyroid conditions, should be more cautious about consuming excess amounts of goitrogenic vegetables. Goitrogenic vegetables include kale, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and bok choy. Consuming small amounts of these vegetables is just fine and it is recommended that they are cooked or at least lightly steamed for those suffering from thyroid dysfunction, as this type of preparation can reduce the negative effects that these vegetables may have on thyroid function.
There is very strong evidence that supports a link between Celiac disease (an autoimmune disease which is due to a negative reaction to gluten) and autoimmune thyroid disorders (90% of all thyroid disorders are autoimmune). Even if you have not tested positive for Celiac disease, eliminating gluten has known to show positive side effects to thyroid health, including the reduction in thyroid antibodies. People who have removed gluten from their diet have also shown an improvement in their digestive health, inflammation and chronic pain levels.
Certain foods promote inflammation in the body. These foods include, white processed sugar, gluten, fried foods, refined flours, refined vegetable oils, processed meats, some dairy, margarine and additives (emulsifiers, msg, yeast, colour additives and preservatives). Many experts believe that inflammation (especially chronic), contributes to many chronic diseases. Chronic inflammation has links to diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimotos and Graves Disease.
Diet Drinks (and artificial sugars)
Diet drinks that contain artificial sugars, especially aspartame and sucralose, have shown to increase levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is a sign of Hypothyroidism.
Approximately 10% of canned goods contain BPA (bisphenol A, an industrial chemical). BPA is also a synthetic estrogen (phyto-estrogen) known to hold estrogenic properties. Research shows that it disrupts normal thyroid function by interfering with the transport and metabolism of the thyroid hormone.