Thyroid imbalance has a lot of undesirable changes in the body. Although medication works best, following the right diet for thyroid imbalance can bring about positive changes in your body.
In the case of people with thyroid, diet plays an important role in managing this hormonal imbalance.
Proper diet for thyroid is one that includes food to eliminate the nutritional deficiencies and excludes food that aggravates the medical condition.
This post is mainly aimed at discussing the types of food that can be included or excluded as part of the diet for thyroid patients.
The diet is different for those suffering from under-active thyroid (hypothyroid) and those suffering from hyperactive thyroid (hyperthyroid). Here’s why.
Diet for Thyroid containing Iodine
Iodine is like a fuel for the thyroid gland to work. If the body is deficient of thyroid, then it leads to an under-active thyroid. As lack of iodine is one of the causes of hypothyroid, including foods rich in iodine is a good idea for people suffering from hypothyroid.
Potatoes, eggs, cow’s milk and iodized salt are great sources of iodine. But there are circumstances where increase in iodine rich food irritates thyroid. So, consult your physician before including them as part of the diet.
Though considered as rare, over intake of iodine leads to hyperthyroid. While iodine deficiency is seen much in the world, too much of iodine is also harmful for the thyroid gland.
However in some cases of hyperthyroid, iodine comes to the rescue. Nascent iodine, Potassium iodide are some forms of iodine that slow the release of thyroid hormone.
Clinically, radioactive iodine is applied to slow thyroid hormone production.
Selenium-rich foods are sometimes given as a part of hypothyroid diet. Though the benefits are not clear, hypothyroid is aggravated in people who have low sodium and supplement selenium.
It is considered safe to consume foods like groundnuts, meat, fish and mushroom as they are better than the selenium supplements.
As Selenium is studied to reduce the symptoms of both hypo and hyper thyroid, adding the above selenium-rich food in moderation helps a lot.
If a person with thyroid condition is sensitive to gluten, his/her immune system confuses gluten with thyroid tissues and starts to attack and damage the thyroid gland.
Both hypothyroid and hyperthyroid conditions improve if gluten is removed from the diet.
Absorption of T4 hormone given for Hypothyroid issue is greatly affected and reduced if consumed with caffeine.
Hence, it is very important for thyroid patients to drink coffee after an hour of taking the hormone replacement pill.
Calciferous vegetables also known as goitrogens like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage aggravates the hypothyroid condition and needs to be avoided.
But intake of these vegetables at moderate levels after cooking doesn’t have much impact. Also, as cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients and can’t be neglected, it is important to cook and consume them.
Make sure the iodine intake is adequate while consuming these vegetables.
Goitrogens have the characteristics of inhibiting the excessive thyroid hormone and hence, consuming them as part of the diet helps people with hyperthyroid.
Diet to Follow
The hypothyroid friendly foods are
– Food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, tuna or sardines.
– Whole Grains (sometimes they interfere with medication. Hence, medication should be taken hours before consuming whole grains).
– Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (consume cruciferous vegetables in moderation and in cooked state).
– Seaweed (as it contains iodine. In case of iodine supplement intake, take care while including seaweed in diet).
The hyperthyroid friendly foods are
– Fruits, especially berries as they boost the immune system.
– Vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables.
– Vitamin D and Omega-3 rich food.
– Protein rich food to maintain weight.
– Dairy products for getting calcium as part of the diet (untreated hyperthyroidism affects bones).
Always keep in mind that diet is only one part of maintaining health. For managing thyroid issues completely, regular exercise, proper sleep, stress-free environment and above all, hormone replacement therapy is essential.