Diet can have a significant impact on symptoms of hypothyroidism. Some foods can improve some symptoms, while others can make them worse or interfere with treatment. The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the throat. Hypothyroidism, or inactive thyroid, means that this gland produces less hormones than the body needs. This can slow down the body’s metabolism and lead to weight gain and fatigue, among other symptoms.
See how diet can affect hypothyroid symptoms and specific foods to eat and avoid.
How does diet affect hypothyroidism?
Having hypothyroidism means that the body does not have enough thyroid hormones. While a change in diet cannot cure this problem, it can help manage it.
To get started, it might be helpful to know the following trusted source:
– Foods that contain certain nutrients, such as iodine, selenium, and zinc, can help maintain healthy thyroid function.
– Certain foods can have a negative effect on thyroid function and worsen the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
– Certain foods and supplements can interfere with the body’s absorption of thyroid replacement medications, so limiting them can also be helpful.
Foods that contain iodine
The body needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones. But since the body cannot produce iodine, people must get it from their diet.
Foods rich in iodine are:
– iodized table salt
– saltwater fish
– whole eggs
Iodine deficiency is relatively rare due to the widespread use of iodized table salt. Deficiency can cause an enlarged thyroid gland, called a goiter.
However, it is essential to avoid consuming too much iodine. This can actually worsen hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, i.e. an excess of thyroid hormones in the body.
For this reason, you should only add more iodine to your diet if recommended by a doctor.
Foods that contain selenium
Selenium is a micronutrient that plays a role in the production of thyroid hormones and has antioxidant activity. Thyroid tissues naturally contain it. A 2017 study found that maintaining selenium levels in the body helps prevent thyroid disease and promotes overall health.
Foods rich in selenium include:
– Brazil nut
– tuna fish
– brown rice
Foods that contain zinc
Zinc is another nutrient that can specifically benefit people with low thyroid hormone levels. One study showed that zinc supplementation, alone or in combination with selenium supplementation, improved thyroid function in women with hypothyroidism.
Foods rich in zinc include
– the crab
– fortified cereals
– pumpkin seeds
Foods to avoid and why
Certain nutrients can interfere with thyroid health. While foods rich in these nutrients should not be avoided, restricting their intake can help a person manage their hypothyroidism.
Goitrogens are compounds that can affect Safe Source thyroid function if a person consumes large amounts of them. However, in regular amounts, vegetables that contain goitrogens, such as broccoli and bok choy, are beneficial for overall health and do not interfere with thyroid function.
In addition, cooking vegetables largely deactivates goitrogenic compounds.
Foods that contain goitrogens are often green cruciferous vegetables, including:
– Brussel sprouts
– Russian cabbage
There is some evidence that soy can interfere with the body’s production of thyroid hormones.
Foods that contain soy include:
– soy milk
– soy sauce
People with Hashimoto’s disease are more likely to have celiac disease than the general population. This is because Hashimoto’s disease and celiac disease are two types of autoimmune disorders, and someone with one of these disorders is more likely to develop the other.
Eliminating gluten from the diet improves thyroid function in people with Hashimoto’s syndrome who do not have celiac disease. This disease causes chronic inflammation and damage to the small intestine due to ingestion of gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains, including barley, oats and rye. The treatment for celiac disease is to adopt a gluten-free diet. People with hypothyroidism related to an autoimmune disease may try switching to a gluten-free diet to see if their symptoms improve.
Reducing your intake of ultra-processed foods and added sugars can help improve symptoms, manage weight, and increase overall well-being.
Here are some examples of ultra-processed foods and drinks that also contain high amounts of added sugar:
– fast food
Other dietary advice
It is important to take thyroid medications on an empty stomach so that the body can fully absorb them. Take at least 30-60 minutes before breakfast or at least 3-4 hours after dinner. This medication should not be taken within 4 hours of eating foods that contain iron or calcium.
In addition, the following medications and supplements may interfere with the body’s absorption of thyroid medications:
– antacids or acid reducers
– Milk and calcium supplements
– iron supplements
– high fiber foods such as bran flakes, fiber bars and fiber drinks
– foods rich in iodine
– soy foods
* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT shall the information provided be a substitute for medical advice.
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