Hypothyroid Diet – Foods That Help and Foods To Avoid
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Posted: Monday, September 11, 2006
by Alison Cassar
Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) can remain undetected for years. People commonly have the symptoms of hypothyroidism even though their blood tests indicate that their thyroid function is ‘normal’. This is because standard pathology tests for thyroid function can have difficulty detecting ‘sub clinical’ cases of hypothyroidism. The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are chronic tiredness, constipation, feeling the cold and dry skin. If you are in a high risk category for thyroid dysfunction - have a family member with a thyroid condition (especially your mother); are at the menopausal age; have experienced lots of stress in the past two-three years; or have hormonal imbalances - then it’s important that you support your thyroid, even if the tests tell that your thyroid is ‘normal’. One of the best ways to support thyroid function is with diet.
Tyrosine-rich foods. The amino acid tyrosine combines with iodine to make the hormone thyroxine. These foods include meat, fish, turkey and chicken breast, low fat milk and yogurt, almonds, avocado, bananas, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils. Supplements of tyrosine should be taken on an empty stomach or with other carbohydrate foods so that it doesn’t have to compete with other amino acids.
- Iodine-rich foods. Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormones. Ideal food sources include Celtic sea salt, seaweed (sushi, nori rolls), salt water fish and sea food. Iodized salt is available but should be used in small amounts once or twice a week along with a good quality Celtic sea salt. Iodine supplements are usually in the form of kelp tablets. Consult your health practitioner before using these, because the wrong dose can unbalance your thyroid.
- High quality protein. All of our body’s glands and hormones are made from protein. Try to eat high quality lean protein at every meal.
- Selenium-rich foods – meat, chicken, salmon, tuna, seafood, whole unrefined grains, brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, dairy products, garlic, onions and black strap molasses.
- Supplements of Vitamin B complex and essential fatty acids because they help to balance the entire hormonal system.
- Sunlight – while not a food, its important to get a daily dose of safe sun. Light stimulates the pineal gland, which in turn positively affects the thyroid as well as all the other endocrine glands.
- Soy products. Isoflavones are hormone-like substances found in soy products. High consumption of soy products have been found to suppress thyroid function in some people and can even cause or worsen hypothyroidism. In particular, an isoflavone called genistein, appears to reduce thyroid hormone output by blocking the activity of an enzyme called thyroid peroxidase. This enzyme is responsible for adding iodine onto the thyroid hormones.
- Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mustard, rutabagas, kohlrabi, and turnips. Isothiocyanates are the category of substances in cruciferous vegetables that have been associated with decreased thyroid function. They appear to reduce thyroid function by blocking thyroid peroxidase, and also by disrupting messages that are sent across the membranes of thyroid cells. Cooking these vegetables does make the isothiocyanates less available. Also, because they are so good for us in other ways, only restrict this group if you have been actually diagnosed with hypothyroidism or have strong symptoms.
- Low progesterone goes hand in hand with low thyroid, so avoid foods that promote oestrogen dominance. This includes any animal product that has not been produced organically (chicken, eggs, dairy, beef, lamb, pork, etc.). All of these foods are available organic.
- It is believed by some researchers that chlorine and fluoride (found in most tap water) block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland, eventually leading to hypothyroidism.
- Gluten is linked to thyroid dysfunction (both hyper and hypo thyroid) so if you have any digestive problems or any one in your family with a gluten sensitivity, it would be worth dramatically reducing your gluten intake.
Please note: The information in this article is not intended to take the place of a personal relationship with a qualified health practitioner nor is it intended as medical advice.
Alison Cassar is a naturopathic practitioner and nutritionist and runs a busy clinic in Sydney, Australia. Her particular interest is chronic tiredness as it’s a very common presenting symptom in clinic. Her website and e-book www.whydoifeeltired.com explores the many causes of tiredness as well as solutions and prevention.
This Article has been viewed 73,334 times. (Not updated in real-time.)More comments
» left by Elan from Malaysia 1 year 191 days ago.
My doctor says my thyroid is normal but my symptoms tell me otherwise. My eyebrows have almost 1/2 disappeared, my weight has not gone down even though I exercise 4 times a week for 1 hour doing cardio and weights. I am on diet all the time but I do not see any change to my health. My Dr does not prescribe anything for me and I am very depressed when I look at myself» left by jenny boll 1 year 138 days ago.
Ive had the same problem with worse symptoms . It has taken 7 months of arguing & going through 4 doctors to finaly see a specialist , who has confirmed I have hypothyroidism & is finally doing the correct blood tests ( out of intrest I have asked for a copy of my previouse numorouse blood tests to be printed & given to me , only to find out 3 of the 4 drs had looked me in the eye & lied saying blood tests had come back fine & it was all in my head & i need to see a shrink & go on strong antidepressants !!!! ...when in fact they came back as abnormal , with drs comment at the top of each page 'tell patient normal ' ) All I can say is if things get worse , dont let the dr fob you off , & demand copies of your blood tests . GOOD LUCK» left by Sean from USA 149 days 14 hours ago.
you are in a system of socialized medicine, maybe the UK, right?» left by Jezreel from Makati City Philippines 1 year 75 days ago.
I had the same experience as you mentioned above. It felt bad bec I love to exercise but wow, my weight never changed and I still felt heavy. I was depressed and i keep on feeling tired no matter what kind of sleep and rest i take! After reading various articles and comments online i knew i have hypothyroid. And by the way, my aunts, uncles and grandma also have thyroid problems so i know our family is prone to this thing.» left by Steph from Kelowna 1 year 21 days ago.
GP's only consider you to have hypothyroidism if you hit a certain number, but if you are borderline to that number you are not considered to have it. Go to a Naturopath to get retested, they will let you know if you are borderline and what to do. They also will suggest or prescribe a natural form of the medicine.
» left by Cathy from WV 1 year 187 days ago.
I was diagnosed at the age of 35 and began taking synthroid then. I dropped 30 lbs in 3 months with no alteration of diet or exercise. The fatigue has been my major struggle, although many other symptoms have been present even WITH the medication...many symptoms I did not even realize were related to my thyroid. At 38 I became pregnant and had a healthy full term baby...that's when my thyroid REALLY went haywire. The symptoms are too numerous to list. At times I thought I would die. I did have trouble with the breathing at that time for a little while as you describe Angela. It sounds like your dr has started you out on the absolute lowest possible dose and will probably re-check your levels in 3 months. At that time, he will probably increase it. Until he/she gets your levels right, you will not feel any better. Even then, as was mentioned above, it can take up to 3 months for you to feel the full effects of the corrected dosage.
Since the birth of my child, the worst symptom I experience is burning in my spine. Don't know if it's thyroid related or maybe due to the epidural??? Recently, the burning/itching has spread to the joints in my shoulders and now my right knee. It's obvious to me that this symptom is going to continue to spread to all my joints in time if I don't get a handle on it. I had no idea I was supposed to be avoiding certain foods. In an effort to lose weight, I began to eat a lot of vegetables, especially cruciferous. I make (and eat) a vegetable soup that contains tofu, cabbage, celery, carrots, tomatoes, etc. almost every day. In addition when I'm not eating my soup, I eat broccoli and cauliflower several times a week. AAAAaaargh!!!! Maybe if I stop eating these things, my joint pain will subside. Thanks for your article.» left by jasmine from SJ 1 year 58 days ago.
You probably figured out by now that you Can eat those vegitables if cooked. Yes, stay away from soy products. I had/have your typical symptoms of hypothyroidism. Not on any medications of western medicine. I am on herbal medication from my accupuncturist. I was not too sure if accupuncture was going to help, but it did! My joints no longer hurt along with other symptoms. But please be careful on who you choose to be your accupuncturist. I prayed on it and met my accupuncturist is certified from Japan. A lot of people are afraid of needles, but I had nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
Fact exercising helps. I kicked this hypothyroidism 8yrs ago with just exercise & watching what I ate. But its back and I will do what I got to do in getting rid of it again. Good luck to you all. Information is key.
» left by Kaitlyn from Canada 1 year 181 days ago.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 3 years ago, when I was 16, and my thyroid gland isn't just under active - it's "dead", in simple terms. Before I found out, I was depressed (sometimes it still comes back in waves), had bald spots on my head (about the circumference of a golf ball), would lose and gain weight - in up to 10lb incriments - without any change in my diet, and I was sleeping for upwards of 15 hours a day and still had no energy.
Now, I take my medication daily and am extremely physically active - I'm an amateur boxer. I've found that sometimes my weight gets a little out of control, which is hard because I have to make weight all the time, but that when I take really good care of it and eat very, very clean I can maintain a weight - even though most people would drop weight if they ate the way I do. To be honest, it sucks. My skin gets dry and itchy, I get pins and needles all over my body when my anxiety increases, and my hair falls out in clumps. I'm going to go get my blood work done again because a lot of the symptoms are coming back (like before I was diagnosed), so I'm hoping that just an increase in medication will fix a lot of these things, especially so that my weight is easier to maintain.
If anyone has any tips on how to avoid the spurts of weight gain, could you please let me know? It sucks to have to drop weight all the time for fights because my weight unexpectedly spikes.
Kaitlyn» left by Cindy from Atlanta 1 year 97 days ago.
Go to the library and check out the book Eat Right 4 Your Type by Peter D'Adamo. You have to know your blood type first, ask your doctor or go give blood and they'll type you. Also some health stores carry the kits to type yourself...or go on line and get one. It will change your life and help with your weight. I have been doing it for years and if I stick to it all is good. It really makes sense that not all diets are for everyone. The Atkins diet was all protein...that is good for a type O blood but not for type A...so the weight goes back on these people. I have seen many of my friends lives change when they changed to the blood type diet. God bless you.
» left by Stacey 1 year 172 days ago.
I have been overweight since I had my youngest son 9 yrs ago. I have been trying to lose weight and when i did lose weight and it came right back on. I had my blood work checked 2x about low thyroid and everytime it came normal, but i have never had any problems until I had my youngest son, and now I have the hardest time. I went on extreme weight lose this year and only lost 10 lbs in 6 months, and I was only eating 1300 calories a day and exercising 4 x a week..... any suggestions.
» left by michelle from georgia 1 year 162 days ago.
I am so, so tired and I am extremely depressed. I have been seeing 2 of the best endocrinologists in Atlanta, but they will not put me on any medication because my blood tests keep showing my thyroid is "normal". I've been seeing these doctors for two years now and they have prescribed me nothing...they just keep me coming back for more tests, tests, tests and still "normal". 2 tests did show that I have parathyroidism, the formation of a goiter, and cysts on my thyroid, but because the test keeps coming back "normal", they will not prescribe any medication for me. I FEEL SO TIRED EVERYDAY. I feel like I'm dying. Meanwhile, I have two sisters with hypothyroidism and they were feeling like me until their doctors put them on medication. Now they are both losing weight and have energy and are happy. They are many states away and I cannot afford to travel to see another doctor. Any suggestions for any doctor in Atlanta who doesn't rely soley on "normal" test results? I am Begging for help. Please Help. Thanks.» left by Loreal 1 year 154 days ago.
Order Source Naturals Raw Thyroid online OR buy from Fred Meyer Nutrition Center/ or another local Nurtrition Center and start taking 3 in am., 3, six hrs later and 3 more six hrs. later or b4 bedtime. I did this 3 days ago and I am starting to feel alive again......I had same symptoms as you and cant get into my Dr. until the 28th of Dec., I needed to do something until then because I felt like I was going to die! There is such a thing as a thyroid coma if it gets real bad, so you need to get raw thyroid in you until you can find a Dr. that WILL listen. Get a new Dr. ASAP oned that WILL treat you off of your symptoms NOT blood tests.
» left by cindy from Atlanta 1 year 97 days ago.
I'm going to a great doctor right now...who reads the blood work differently than anyone other doctor I have known. His name is Dr. Michael Milton in Cummings Georgia, his number is 770-205-6068. I took my blood work to him and he said the TSH should be 2.0, he gave me Thyroid Response by Innate to take for 2 months to see if that would make a difference for me...it did. But I need to up it to three pills a day and come back in 2 months. I would prefer not to take a prescription drug if I can do it naturally, so that is why I'm not on Synthroid or Armour. He is a family doctor who doesn't jump at your blood work results like a lot of doctors do..wanting to put you on medication you may not necessarily need. Don't get me wrong he would definitely give you a thyroid medication if you need it! He's great and with the history of your sisters he will be compassionate. He is can help you! Also find out your blood type and check out the book Eat Right 4 Your Type and follow the diet that Peter D' Adamo suggest...it has changed my life and many of my friends. What we eat is really important and we don't all have the same blood type...even sisters..if our parents have two different blood types. If both of your parents are type O, then your O as well. God bless you.» left by Tammy from Georgia 25 days 12 hours ago.
Could you email me or Facebook me I tried to sent message but can't seem to get them to go through» left by cindy from atlanta 1 year 97 days ago.
I am going to a doctor right now for my thyroid, his name is Michael Milton in Cumming Ga. his number is 770-205-6068. He said the TSH should be 2.0 and he gave me a vitamin called Thyroid Response by Innate. I have taken it for 2 months and he saw an improvement. He suggested I try it for 2 more months upping the amount....I am feeling better. I had hair loss and was tired as well with the eyebrows half gone. I am not one to jump on a thyroid medication, I want to try the natural way first...he is not opposed to that. I am willing to try Armour (not synthroid) if I have to but first I'll stay with this for 2 more months. Also find out your blood type, ask your doctors or go and give blood or by a kit to do it yourself on-line. If both of your parents are type O then your type O as well and so are your sisters.. your sisters could be a different type than you! Each person is different, what works for one doesn't always work for the other. Like the Atkins diet was good for type O because protein is great for them but not for type A who should be vegetarians. So many people gained their weight back plus some. Dr. Milton looks at your blood work in a way that no other dr. I know has. If something is too high and out of line, he stops to look at other factors in the blood that may balance out the whole picture. He just good and a great listener and very compassionate to your feelings. You'll be in good hands....God bless you.» left by Tammy from Georgia 25 days 12 hours ago.
I can't get this to let me comment longer than a few lines or leave my email so could the person seeing Dr.Milton look me up on Facebook it's Tammy Mazzola in Georgia and sent me a message I just want to ask you a few questions» left by Deanna from British Columbia 1 year 89 days ago.
Speak to your doctor about doing a test for thyroid antibodies. this is not a test they usually do as it is more expensive but a specialist will do it if you ask. It proves that you have a thyroid disfunction even though your tests will show your thyriod to be normal.» left by Jezreel from Makati City Philippines 1 year 75 days ago.
My friends and family could not believe why i am so lethargic every day. I was eating less bec i lost interest or zest in my life bec i think it comes along when you are feeling lethargic. i suffered severe depression as a result of this hypothyroid. many years bef i realized i had this problem, my aunt who has thyroid problem suggested that i take a thyroid blood test. i kept on getting normal results many times. then i read that there are many cases wherein hypothroidism doesnt show up on blood results. so then i stopped these tests (includng thyroid uptake test and all those scanners) and i just took extra care with what i eat. mine usually resurfaces so easily as soon as i eat any green leafy vegetable. oh my, what a difficult life.» left by linda owens from ridgeland mississippi 280 days 2 hours ago.
Avoid sugar and increase magnesium
» left by Mia from Mississippi 1 year 139 days ago.
I appreciate this article. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at the age of 24. I did not know that I could have and should have been responsible for my own health by researching my symptoms, contacting a physician, and correcting my diet. Instead, I relied only on the advice of a physician. Now, after radioactive iodine treatment I am hypothyroid. I traded on condition for another. Had I taken responsibility for my health and researched what a person with hyperthyroidism needs, I would not be hypothyroid today. I have been taking synthroid for years and have had good and not so good results. I have had two healthy sons since my diagnosis and have had no difficulty with conception, no miscarriages. I am writing because of the comments to find a doctor, rely on the doctor, rely on the synthroid. Research! Find out what is best for you. Yes, go to your physician, but no one should know more about your condition than you. Ask questions. Get second opinions. Visit other primary care physicians besides M.D. like Naturopaths, DO, Chiropractor, and herbalist. MD's diagnose and treat, they don't usually educate and prevent. A lot of them are slaves to the insurance business and pharmaceutical companies and don't think as much about prevention as they should. They have little to no education about nutrition and how good nutrition can help to heal the body. Be informed. Find out what your body needs. Remember, someone made synthroid in a lab, not to say that it is not good, but it is made from something, by people who make mistakes. It could be recalled at anytime. Hopefully not, but 10 years from now we may find out that it may be the cause of this or that or the pharmaceutical companies will find a cheaper way to make something similar and then start to not use synthroid but use "blank". So, I said all of this to say: Don't put your trust in a medication or a physician. Put your trust in God, let Him guide you. Hope this helps. He will help you. He made your body. He knows what it needs.
» left by Brian 1 year 133 days ago.
I really like this article but there is something that contradicts itself in your article. You said Broccoli is good for hypothyroidism then you add it to the foods that are detrimental for it, which one is it?» left by Susan from Georgia 1 year 97 days ago.
Many other articles say broccoli (and a few other vegetables) is detrimental to Hypothroidism if they are RAW. If you cook them, they are good for hypothyroidism.
» left by S from TRINIDAD 1 year 78 days ago.
Hi, can anyone tell me of some foods that realy help with hypothyroidism?
» left by avis 1 year 55 days ago.
For all who has hypothyroidism, pls try using virgin coconut oil. this helps metabolizes fat and sugar and stabilizes a lot of things. VCO also helps with cholestrol, blood pressure, gout, etc. many other benefits.
» left by Min-Min 264 days 10 hours ago.
I feel for anyone suffering with hypothyroid. I was diagnosed with it back in 2005. I would walk and walk, excersise and the weight just would not go away and I was not eating that much, I have always been health concious. Finally I went to the Dr. and she could hardly get my blood pressure and she appoloized "for sqeezing the blood pressure band so tightly on me to get my reading." After that she said, "She wanted to have two test ran on me, a Thyroid Pannel and a Cholesterol Reading." Well a few days later I received a phone call letting me know, "I had hypothyroid and would be on medication for the rest of my life." My Doctor's exact words were, "I want to be very direct with you right now about hypothyroid." "If you do not take your medication for the rest of your life you will die." I guess she was trying to make sure I knew of the importance of taking my thyroid meds. daily. Anyways I was first put on synthroid, and that did nothing for me. Then I tried Armour Thyroid and that helped some, after that, I was okay, but not really dropping the weight as I felt I should for exersising as I do. Then I read a book called "Is your thyroid making you fat." Please read it, it is packed full of great infromation for "all" Thyroid patients to know about. Then on the internet I read about a Thyroid medicene called Nature Throid, and the reviews were great on it and I went on that and "Wow" what a difference in my life!! I have even lost more weight. I am now researching all the foods that I should and should not eat and will stick with that too, and hopefully be able to live a better more energized life. I also take a great multi-vitamin, and my B vitamins, and fish oil, Calcium (I am almost 58 years old) and a vita C daily, and these have helped very much too. I run most days 2 miles per day and have been doing that for one year now, and pray I can continue well up into my older senior years. I just wanted to share this infromation because if I can help one person out there with what has helped me, maybe it can help you as well. The medicene I take is Nature-Throid 65 mg. read up on it and you will be happy you did research it out. I also just found out from my Doctor "that even if your thyroid is off just a little you can be prone to heart attacks, strokes, and high cholesterol, so it is mega important to always take your medicene, and have your thyroid checked as often as you feel necessary to maintain healthy levels. You can continue to research foods that you should and should not have and eat what you should and it will make a huge difference to your life. Here is to great health for "all" who suffer with Hypothyroid or any Thyroid condition. Take Care and God Bless!!