Thyroid Dysfunction- What To Eat And What Not To Eat

July 3, 2023

Contents from this article were shared in an article published in The Times Of India  on 24.12.2022 featuring Mugdha. This article was written to serve as input for the same following a query from The Times Of India.

Hypothyroidism is a disorder where the body produces insufficient thyroid hormones. Growth, cell repair, and metabolism are just a few of the body operations that are regulated by thyroid hormones. People with hypothyroidism can consequently experience a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, cold sensitivity, mood swings, and constipation. While it is always important to eat a healthy whole-food diet, devoid of processed foods, refined sugars, refined seed oils, and including nutrient-dense animal foods, there are a few additional things to keep in mind if suffering from hypothyroidism.

  1. Minimize Goitrogens

These are certain substances found in some plant foods that could disrupt thyroid function when consumed in excess. Common foods high in goitrogens include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, peanuts, etc. 

Goitrogens inhibit iodine uptake and thyroid hormone synthesis, increasing the demand for thyroid hormones and causing problems in hypothyroidism patients.

  1. Increase iodine consumption


Iodine deficiency affects 1/3 of the global population, according to data. 

Iodine is a necessary mineral that aids in promoting thyroid activity in the human body. As a result, if you have hypothyroidism, be sure to include iodine in your diet, which will boost the body's production of TSH. Foods like salmon, dairy products, and eggs can be quite beneficial.

  1. Eat more foods high in selenium


Another crucial trace mineral that aids in the body's abundant production of TSH hormones is selenium. Free radicals, which contribute to inflammation, can be eliminated with the help of enough selenium in your diet. Studies have also suggested that selenium helps improve the body's immunological system. 

Think about including foods high in selenium, such as Brazil nuts, sardines, eggs, and different kinds of legumes.

  1. Animal Protein and Organ Meats

It is highly important to get an adequate amount of daily protein from good quality sources containing all amino acids in a bioavailable form. Pasture-raised animals are the best source. Organ meats, in particular, are incredibly nutrient-dense; they have between 10 and 100 times as many nutrients as regular muscle meat. Liver is regarded as a superfood and nutritional powerhouse for the thyroid. Vitamin A, which directly supports thyroid hormone metabolism and suppresses thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) release, is found in it in the highest concentration seen in nature. In addition, the liver includes minerals like copper, iron, zinc, and chromium as well as vitamins like B12 and folate that support the thyroid. 

Remember that it's crucial to only consume liver and other organ meats from well-sourced, pasture-raised animals that weren't given hormones or antibiotics.

  1. B Vitamins

Because the B vitamins have so many interactions with thyroid function and hormone regulation, they are crucial for persons with hypothyroidism. Organ meats, especially liver, are the best source.

  1. Avoid refined sugars

Refined sugars spike your blood glucose and insulin which in turn has a strong effect on the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary axis which involves the thyroid hormones as well. When this happens chronically, it can lead to thyroid dysfunction. Excessive intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates can also lead to metabolic disorders which drive thyroid dysfunction as well.

  1. Avoid anti-nutrients

Plant foods have a lot of anti-nutrients such as lectins, oxalates, phytates, etc. that are particularly problematic for hypothyroidism. So care must be taken to minimize the intake of plant foods high in anti-nutrients. Preparing plant foods in specific ways such as soaking, cooking, and fermenting also helps reduce anti-nutrient content.

To reverse thyroid dysfunction, proper testing and root cause analysis is required to initiate proper treatment. However, these diet tips are important for all individuals with hypothyroidism. Often, just making these dietary changes might be sufficient for mild cases to reverse the condition.

Mugdha Pradhan
Functional Nutritionist

With a Master’s degree in nutrition and two decades’ experience in health and wellness, Mugdha has successfully healed many people at iThrive (Previously ThriveFNC) since 2017. Mugdha herself was struggling with finding solutions when her health took a nosedive. With modern principles of functional medicine and ancient wisdom about food, paired with spirituality, she beat several chronic illnesses.

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