Foods for Managing Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism 

Dated 25 January 2016
 
Foods for Managing Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism

Foods that may manage Hyperthyroidism Symptoms

There are foods by which we can manage Hyperthyroidism. Although a healthy diet can't cure or prevent hyperthyroidism, eating healthy foods may help ease hyperthyroidism symptoms. There's no such thing as a hyperthyroidism diet, but what you eat matters. Hyperthyroidism-when your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone-can't be prevented or treated through diet alone. It's often treated with prescription medication, so see your doctor immediately if you have hyperthyroidism symptoms. But by eating certain foods, you can limit some mild hyperthyroidism symptoms. This slideshow shows you 5 foods that may help ease hyperthyroidism symptoms.

Berries pack a powerful punch because they're bursting with antioxidants, which keep your immune system strong. Eat a serving of berries every day. From strawberries to blueberries to raspberries-the choice is yours.

Cook with Cruciferous Veggies. Broccoli is part of the goitrogen family-foods that can decrease the amount of thyroid hormone your thyroid gland produces. Foods that belong to this group are known as "cruciferous" foods. Not a broccoli fan? Other cruciferous veggies include cauliflower, kale, and cabbage. Eat one or more servings of these veggies a day.

Vitamin D and Omega-3s for Thyroid Health. Salmon contains vitamin D-an essential nutrient that works with calcium to prevent bone loss. Salmon also carries a megadose of omega-3 fatty acids that keep you healthy. Your body doesn't naturally produce these fatty acids, so you have to get them from food. If you're not into fish, get your vitamin D from eggs and mushrooms and your omega-3s from walnuts, olive oil, and flaxseed oil. Eats foods with these nutrients daily.

Turkey is an excellent source of protein-important because your body needs protein for energy and to build and maintain muscle. Weight loss is a common hyperthyroidism symptom, so eating enough protein can help ensure you stay at a healthy weight. Don't eat meat? No problem-you can get protein from beans and nuts. Just try to eat protein at every meal.

Watchairy in Your Diet. Untreated hyperthyroidism can eventually weaken your bones and may lead to osteoporosis. To prevent this, get 3 servings a day of calcium from yogurt or other dairy foods, such as cheese and milk.

Foods to avoid for managing Hypothyroidism


Hypothyroidism can be a tricky condition to manage, and what you eat can interfere with your treatment. Some nutrients heavily influence the function of the thyroid gland, and certain foods can inhibit your body's ability to absorb the replacement hormones you may take as part of your thyroid treatment. There's no such thing as a "hypothyroidism diet" that will make you well, but eating smart can help you feel better despite the condition. Here are nine foods to limit or avoid as you manage hypothyroidism:

Foods for Managing Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism


Soy

The hormone estrogen can interfere with your body's ability to use thyroid hormone, says Stephanie Lee, MD, PhD associate chief of endocrinology, nutrition, and diabetes at Boston Medical Center and an associate professor at the Boston University School of Medicine. Soy is loaded with plant-based phytoestrogen, and some researchers believe too much soy may increase a person's risk for hypothyroidism. People with hypothyroidism should moderate their intake of soy. However, because soy hasn't been definitively linked to hypothyroidism, there are no specific dietary guidelines.

Cruciferous Vegetables


Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone, particularly people who have an iodine deficiency. Digesting these vegetables can block the thyroid's ability to absorb iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function. People with hypothyroidism may want to limit their intake of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and bok choy. Cooking the vegetables can reduce the effect that cruciferous vegetables have on the thyroid gland. Limiting your intake to 5 ounces a day appears to have no adverse effect on thyroid function.

Gluten

People with hypothyroidism should consider minimizing their intake of gluten, a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley, rye, and other grains, says Ruth Frechman, RDN, a dietitian and nutritionist in the Los Angeles area and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Gluten can irritate the small intestine and may hamper absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication.

Fatty Foods


Fats have been found to disrupt the body's ability to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medicines, Dr. Lee says. Fats may also interfere with the thyroid's ability to produce hormone as well. Some health care professionals recommend that you cut out all fried foods and reduce your intake of fats from sources such as butter, mayonnaise, margarine, and fatty cuts of meat.

 Sugary Foods

Foods for Managing Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism



Hypothyroidism can cause the body's metabolism to slow down, Frechman says. That means it's easy to put on pounds if you aren't careful. "You want to avoid the foods with excess amounts of sugar because it's a lot of calories with no nutrients," she says. It's best to reduce the amount of sugar you eat or try to eliminate it completely from your diet.

Processed Foods


"Processed foods tend to have a lot of sodium, and people with hypothyroidism should avoid sodium," Frechman says. Having an underactive thyroid increases a person's risk for high blood pressure, and too much sodium further increases this risk. Read the Nutrition Facts label on the packaging of processed foods to find options lowest in sodium. People with an increased risk for high blood pressure should restrict their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Excess Fiber


Getting enough fiber is good for you, but too much can complicate your hypothyroidism treatment. Guidelines currently recommend that older adults take in 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day. Amounts of dietary fiber from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes that go above that level affect your digestive system and can interfere with absorption of thyroid hormone replacement drugs. If you're on a high-fiber diet, ask your doctor if you need a higher dose of thyroid medication. Your maintenance dose may need to be increased if you aren't absorbing enough medication.

Coffee

Caffeine has been found to block absorption of thyroid hormone replacement, Lee says. "People who were taking their thyroid medication with their morning coffee had uncontrollable thyroid levels, and we couldn't figure it out," she says. "I now have to be very careful to tell people, 'Only take your medication with water.'" You should wait at least 30 minutes after taking your medication before having a cup of joe.

Alcohol


Alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on both thyroid hormone levels in the body and the ability of the thyroid to produce hormone. Alcohol appears to have a toxic effect on the thyroid gland and suppresses the ability of the body to use thyroid hormone. Ideally, people with hypothyroidism should cut out alcohol completely or drink in careful moderation.

Your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck below your Adam's apple, is your chief gland of energy and metabolism and is like a master lever that fires up the genes that keep cells doing their jobs. You can think of the thyroid as a fundamental mechanism in a complex machine, as every cell in your body has thyroid hormone receptors.

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is a silent epidemic, according to many functional medicine doctors. People can suffer for years with symptoms that our conventional medical system frequently doesn't know how to treat because complaints seem scattered or vague and often there is no pill for the ill(s).

What's worse, in most cases, hypothyroidism isn't rooted in a thyroid problem in the first place. It's rooted in an immune system gone awry, but most doctors don't test for the antibodies that show the presence of autoimmunity.

According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, 90% of people with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto's, an autoimmune hypothyroid condition, whereby the immune system attacks thyroid tissue. Therefore, to cure thyroid disease, or any autoimmune condition, you have to get to the source of the imbalance, focusing on suppression of symptoms with medication is simply barking up the wrong tree.

 

Foods for Managing Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism



Your Dietary Defense


Making dietary changes is your first line of defense in treating hypothyroidism. Many people with hypothyroidism experience crippling fatigue and brain fog, which prompts reaching for non-nutritional forms of energy like sugar and caffeine. I've dubbed these rascals the terrible twosome, as they can burn out your thyroid (and destabilize blood sugar).

1. Just say no to the dietary bungee cord. Greatly reduce or eliminate caffeine and sugar, including refined carbohydrates like flour, which the body treats like sugar. Make grain-based carbohydrates lesser of a focus, eating non-starchy vegetables to your heart's content.

2. Up the protein. Protein transports thyroid hormone to all your tissues and enjoying it at each meal can help normalize thyroid function. Proteins include nuts and nut butters; quinoa; hormone- and antibiotic-free animal products (organic, grass-fed meats, eggs, and sustainably-farmed fish); and legumes.

Note: I'm not a fan of soy and soy products: tofu, soy milk, fake meats, energy bars, etc. Even when organic and non-GMO, soy can impede cell receptors and disrupt the feedback loop throughout your entire endocrine (hormonal) system.

3. Get fat. Fat is your friend and cholesterol is the precursor to hormonal pathways; if you're getting insufficient fat and cholesterol, you could be exacerbating hormonal imbalance, which includes thyroid hormones. Natural, healthful fats include olive oil; ghee; avocados; flax seeds; fish; nuts and nut butters; hormone- and antibiotic-free full fat cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese (yes, full fat, not skim); and coconut milk products.

4. Nutrient-up. While nutritional deficiencies may not be the cause of hypothyroidism, not having enough of these micronutrients and minerals can aggravate symptoms: vitamin D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc, copper, vitamin A, the B vitamins, and iodine.

A few highlights:
It's commonly believed that hypothyroidism is due to insufficient iodine, but this isn't true. Dr. Kharrazian states that if you have Hashimoto's, taking supplemental iodine is like throwing gasoline on a fire, so eschew iodine supplements and iodized salt. Primary sources of iodine: sea vegetables and seafood. Secondary sources: eggs, asparagus, lima beans, mushrooms, spinach, sesame seeds, summer squash, Swiss chard, and garlic.

Optimal vitamin D levels are between 50-80 ng/mL; anything below 32 contributes to hormone pathway disruption.

 

Omega-3s, found in fish, grass fed animal products, flaxseeds, and walnuts, are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function and cell growth, are critical to thyroid function, and improve the ability to respond to thyroid hormones.

5. Go 100% gluten-free. The molecular composition of thyroid tissue is almost identical to that of gluten. So for those with Hashimoto's, it's a case of mistaken identity. Eating gluten can increase the autoimmune attack on your thyroid.

6. Be mindful of goitrogens, which are foods that can interfere with thyroid function. Goitrogens include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, millet, spinach, strawberries, peaches, watercress, peanuts, radishes, and soybeans. Does it mean that you can never eat these foods? No, because cooking inactivates goitrogenic compounds and eating radishes and watercress in moderation isn't going to be a deal-breaker.

 

Foods for Managing Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism



7. Go for the glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and is one of the pillars of fighting Hashimoto's. It can boost your body's ability to modulate and regulate the immune system, dampen autoimmune flare-ups, and protect and heal thyroid tissue.

While few foods contain glutathione, there are foods that help the body produce glutathione: asparagus, broccoli, peaches, avocado, spinach, garlic, squash, grapefruit, and raw eggs. A plant substance found in broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, (those goitrogens), helps replenish glutathione stores.

8. Address underlying food sensitivities. Just like the body's attack on the thyroid in the presence of Hashimoto's, the body will also see offending or inflammatory foods as an invader and will up the ante on the autoimmune response.

9. Do a gut check. A whopping 20 percent of thyroid function depends on a sufficient supply of healthy gut bacteria, so it's best to supplement with probiotics (friendly intestinal bacteria).

10. Address silent inflammation with whole foods nutrition. Systemic inflammation and autoimmunity often go hand-in-hand.

11. Address adrenal fatigue. There is an intimate connection between your thyroid and adrenal glands and it's uncommon to have hypothyroidism without some level of adrenal fatigue. The thyroid and adrenals are like Frick and Frack - so tightly in cahoots that it's not effective to address one without the other.

12. Look at your stressors and practice relaxation. The thyroid is a very sensitive gland and is exceptionally reactive to the stress response.

13. Ask for the thyroid collar. The thyroid is sensitive to radiation, so next time you're getting an x-ray at the dentist, ask for the thyroid collar.

With correct selection of your food eating habits, one can definitely manage her Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism.


Listen To Podcast