Thyroid (butterfly-shaped gland) is located in the base of neck and it is very important for general health. Thyroid produces two hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) which regulates vital body functions including breathing, heart rate, central and peripheral nervous systems, body weight, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, body temperature and cholesterol levels. Hypothyroidism is a specific health condition when levels of thyroid hormones are low. During hypothyroidism gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormones and it can trigger weight gain, sluggishness, depression and increased sensitivity to cold. Depending on level of hypothyroidism, it is necessary to take medication or just follow hypothyroidism diet.
Proper selection of certain foods can improve thyroid functions. Avoiding some “bad foods” and eating more “good foods” can improve body’s absorption of hormones and can also increase thyroid activity (protecting thyroid health). Sometimes hypothyroidism diet is not enough to restore normal thyroid hormone levels.
It is well known that adequate dietary iodine is essential for normal thyroid function. In many countries with natural iodine deficit thyroid problems were eliminated by iodine additives in salt and food.
Hypothyroidism diet can protect thyroid health and can improve thyroid functions.
Hypothyroidism diet – best foods
Fruits and vegetables rich of antioxidants
Antioxidants are crucial for thyroid health – they fight free radicals and improve thyroid functions. Best fruits and vegetables full of antioxidants – berries, black or red grapes, green leafy vegetables, beans, green cruciferous vegetables, carrots, tomato, citrus fruits and melon.
Small amounts of selenium are needed for the enzymes that make thyroid hormones to work properly. Eating selenium rich foods can be beneficial. Best selenium sources – Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, spinach, yellowfin tuna, cooked halibut, sardines, turkey, grass-fed beef, eggs, beef liver and chicken.
Tyrosine is a specific amino acid which used by thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4. Best tyrosine sources – cheese (Parmesan), soy foods, lean beef, lamb, lean pork, fish, seafood, chicken, turkey, seeds, nuts, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils and whole grains.
Several types of seaweed are full of iodine which is needed during hypothyroidism. The most popular seaweed species are nori (used to make sushi), dulse, arame, wakame, kelp and spirulina.
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium that helps regulate thyroid hormones. Daily recommended dose of selenium is 55 micrograms and maximum upper limit of selenium is 400 micrograms per day. Increased selenium consumption can cause “garlic breath”, hair loss, discolored nails and even heart failure. Each Brazil nut kernel contains 96 micrograms of selenium.
Some dairy products can also provide iodine (especially plain, low-fat yogurt and Greek yogurt).
Regular consumption of low-fat milk can be also useful. One cup of low-fat milk contain one-third of your daily iodine needs.
Meat (chicken and beef)
Zinc deficit can also trigger hypothyroidism because body needs zinc for churning out thyroid hormones. Animal foods (chicken and beef) are better sources of zinc than plant foods. Some other products can also provide some limited amount of zinc – spinach, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, beans and mushrooms.
Fish and shellfish
Fish (salmon, cod fish, tuna) is a good source of iodine. Shellfish like lobsters, shrimps and crabs are also good sources of iodine
One large egg contains about 16% of iodine and 20% of selenium human body needs for one day. Some experts consider eggs as thyroid super-food. Most of iodine and selenium is located in egg yolk.
Hypothyroidism diet – what to avoid
Hypothyroidism is very specific health condition which is not easy to manage. Food consumption always has special influence at thyroid functions. Some foods heavily influence the function of thyroid gland and certain foods can inhibit body’s ability to absorb hormones (natural or medical). According to several studies, health experts recommend to avoid certain foods which can trigger hypothyroidism. Try to avoid:
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.