What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

If you have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you may be wondering if there is a hypothyroidism diet that can help you treat your condition. Unfortunately, the only treatment that can restore your thyroid function is pharmaceutical medication. However, certain dietary factors may still provide some relief from your symptoms.

“Nutrition and food alone will not cure hypothyroidism,” says Dr. Pamela Mason, PhD, of the Health & Food Supplements Information Service (opens in new tab). “Medical attention is critical. However, a healthy diet plays an important role in thyroid health.”

A thyroid that is underactive has a significant impact on how our bodies use and store nutrients. “Our body’s metabolism suffers numerous changes in hypothyroidism,” explains Lustin-Nicolae Bilibou, a specialist clinical dietitian at Cygnet Health Care (opens in new tab). “Cholesterol and triglyceride levels will be elevated, and we may experience low protein synthesis and intestinal sugar absorption.” Vitamin metabolism can also be affected by an underactive thyroid.”

Given the complexities of this condition, pinpointing an exact dietary pattern that could aid in its management is difficult. “There have been reports of specific diets that have worked for different people,” says Bilibou, “but they are not a standard medical or dietetic approach for hypothyroidism.”

We’ve put together a guide to what research has revealed so far about hypothyroidism diets. However, as Mason emphasizes, “if you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, consult your doctor and a qualified dietitian about an appropriate diet right away.” It is critical to seek individual specialist advice on foods and nutrients because your intake will be determined by the current state of your thyroid gland and the medication prescribed for you.”

 

WHAT EXACTLY IS HYPOTHYROIDISM?

Hypothyroidism (also known as underactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones to meet the body’s needs, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases(opens in new tab). There are numerous causes for this condition, but they are frequently linked to thyroid gland damage or autoimmune reactions in the body.

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. Calcitonin, T4 (thyroxine, or tetraiodothyronine), and T3 (triiodothyronine) are released into the bloodstream. They regulate how quickly cells and organs use oxygen and energy from food. When your thyroid hormone levels are low, your body’s metabolism slows down. Thyroid hormone deficiency can cause a variety of symptoms, including weight gain, decreased energy, depression, and muscle aches.

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

 

WHAT ARE THE BEST HYPOTHYROIDISM FOODS TO EAT?

Certain nutrients may improve thyroid gland function, whereas others may reduce the effectiveness of hypothyroidism medications.

While we don’t fully understand the interactions between underactive thyroid and dietary patterns, multiple studies(opens in new tab) suggest that eating plenty of anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals can be extremely beneficial for thyroid disease management.

According to the Thyroid(opens in new tab) journal, increasing your intake of plant-based antioxidants and decreasing your consumption of animal-based foods may also be beneficial.

 

Iodine
Iodine is an essential component of a hypothyroid diet. This trace mineral is essential for thyroid hormone production, according to The Lancet(opens in new tab), and a lack of it is directly linked to hypothyroidism.

Iodine deficiency is very common, affecting nearly one-third of the world’s population, according to The American Journal of Medical Sciences(opens in new tab). However, in the United States, where table salt is routinely enriched with iodine and many iodine-rich foods are widely available, it is less of an issue.

It’s also worth noting that iodine supplements should be used with caution. Scientists from the International Journal of Endocrinology(opens in new tab) believe that increasing iodine intake may cause thyroid problems in certain at-risk individuals. Meanwhile, European Journal of Endocrinology (opens in new tab) researchers state that more research is needed to fully understand the risks and benefits of such supplementation.

“Ask for medical or dietetic advice before increasing your iodine intake, as excessive consumption may negatively affect thyroid function rather than balancing it,” says Bilibou.

Scientists from the International Journal of Endocrinology(opens in new tab) believe that increasing iodine intake may cause thyroid problems in certain at-risk individuals. Meanwhile, European Journal of Endocrinology (opens in new tab) researchers state that more research is needed to fully understand the risks and benefits of such supplementation.
“Ask for medical or dietetic advice before increasing your iodine intake, as excessive consumption may negatively affect thyroid function rather than balancing it,” says Bilibou.

Bilibou is a skilled clinical dietitian with a background in the hospital and health care industries. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics as well as two Master of Science degrees in Clinical Dietetics and Health Management Systems.

Iodine Daily Value (DV): 150mcg

Iodine safe upper limit: 1100mcg

Dried seaweed, cod, iodized table salt, baked potato, cow’s milk, shrimp, turkey breast, navy beans, and egg are all high in iodine.

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

 

Selenium
The thyroid has the most selenium per gram of tissue of any organ in the human body. Thyroid hormones will not function properly if this important mineral is not present, so it may be another important component of a hypothyroidism diet.

Low levels of selenium, according to The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism(opens in new tab), increase the risk of developing thyroid diseases. And, as described in the International Journal of Endocrinology(opens in new tab), supplementation with this trace mineral aids in the relief of symptoms in patients with autoimmune thyroid conditions.

Selenium is also a potent antioxidant that protects the thyroid gland from free radical damage. And, according to Mason, many of us are deficient in this nutrient. “Our report found that average selenium intakes are 76% of recommended intakes,” she says.

Selenium Daily Value (DV): 55mcg

The upper limit for selenium is 400mcg.

Brazil nuts, tuna, shellfish, lean pork chops, beef steak, tofu, whole wheat pasta, and sunflower seeds are all high in selenium.

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

 

Zinc
Zinc, like selenium, aids in the ‘activation’ of thyroid hormones so that they can be used by the body’s cells. According to the BMJ Journal(opens in new tab), patients with thyroid diseases have lower zinc levels. According to the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research, it plays an important role in the metabolism of thyroid hormones and helps regulate their blood levels (opens in new tab).

However, researchers from the journal Biological Trace Element Research(opens in new tab) argue that there is insufficient evidence that zinc supplementation aids in the treatment of hypothyroidism. Nonetheless, given how important this nutrient is for overall health, it’s critical to ensure you’re getting enough of it.

Zinc Daily Value (DV): 11mg

Zinc’s safe upper limit is 40mg.

Oysters, beef steak, chicken, tofu, lean pork chops, pumpkin seeds, lentils, and low-fat yogurt are all high in zinc.

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

D vitamin
Vitamin D may also be essential in a hypothyroidism diet. Individuals with underactive thyroid have lower levels, according to a meta-analysis published in the journal BMC Endocrine Disorders(opens in new tab). There is also mounting evidence that low vitamin D status is associated with autoimmune thyroid diseases, and that impaired vitamin D metabolism may be a risk factor for thyroid cancer.

At the same time, Frontiers in Immunology(opens in new tab) researchers point out that the underlying mechanisms underlying these associations are largely unknown.

Vitamin D Daily Value (DV): 600IU

Vitamin D safe upper limit: 2000IU

Oily fish, eggs, fortified mushrooms, fortified milk, tofu, fortified yogurt, and fortified breakfast cereals are all high in vitamin D.

Hypothyroidism diet: What to eat, trigger foods & expert tips

B12 vitamin
Another important factor in thyroid health could be vitamin B12. According to a study published in the JPMA(opens in new tab) journal, up to 40% of hypothyroid patients have vitamin B12 deficiency, and supplementation may help improve symptoms.

Another study found that low B12 levels are associated with autoimmune thyroid diseases. At the same time, Clinical Medicine Insights (opens in new tab) researchers did not discover a similar link.

However, eating more foods high in B12 and other B vitamins may provide additional benefits. “They can generate a lot of energy and slightly boost basal metabolism,” explains Bilibou.

Vitamin B12 Daily Value (DV): 2.4mcg

Clams, tuna, beef steak, fortified cereals, fortified soy milk, fortified tofu, low-fat milk, and eggs are all high in vitamin B12.

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

A vitamin
Vitamin A may also aid in thyroid hormone metabolism regulation. When combined with iodine deficiency, scientists from the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research(opens in new tab) believe it may increase the risk of hypothyroidism. In addition, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition(opens in new tab), premenopausal women may benefit from vitamin A supplementation to reduce their risk of developing underactive thyroid.

Vitamin A Daily Value (DV): 900g of retinol activity equivalents (RAEs).

3000g of retinol activity equivalents is a safe upper limit for vitamin A. (RAEs).

Carrots, tuna, butternut squash, sweet potato, spinach, cantaloupe, lettuce, and red bell pepper are all high in vitamin A.

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

 

Tyrosine
Eating foods high in tyrosine, a non-essential amino acid (one of the building blocks of protein), could also be an important part of a hypothyroidism diet. Tyrosine and iodine are required for thyroid hormones to function properly in the body. They may also aid in calorie burn.

“Include protein at every meal or snack because protein is satiating and may help to improve metabolism, so protein may help to maintain weight,” Mason suggests.

Beef steak, lean pork chops, salmon, lean chicken breast, tofu, milk, ricotta cheese, white beans, and pumpkin seeds are all high in tyrosine.

ARE THERE ANY FOODS TO AVOID IF YOU HAVE AN UNACTIVE THYROID?
Levothyroxine interactions
Levothyroxine is a common hypothyroidism medication. Its goal is to replace or supplement the thyroid hormone thyroxine, which is normally produced by the thyroid gland. Although it is a highly effective treatment, certain dietary components may reduce its availability in the body.

“Levothyroxine should be taken on an empty stomach at the same time every day because it interacts with a lot of foods and medications,” says Giulia Guerrini, lead pharmacist at Medino.

“It’s fine to drink your morning tea or coffee 30 minutes after taking levothyroxine, but avoid eating yogurt, drinking milk, or eating cheese and broccoli for at least four hours afterward, as these calcium-rich foods prevent you from absorbing the active ingredient.”

Gluten Scientists have been investigating potential links between gluten consumption and hypothyroidism, but the results have been inconclusive thus far. Thyroid disease is significantly more common in celiac disease patients, according to a meta-analysis published in the journal PLoS One(opens in new tab). However, scientists from the Nutrients journal argue that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet can improve the symptoms of autoimmune thyroid conditions.

What to eat, trigger foods, and expert advice for hypothyroidism

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