Foods for thyroid health: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid for Hypothyroidism

Your Thyroid health is important. However, hypothyroidism is a condition in which your body does not secrete enough thyroid hormones.

Thyroid hormones that help control growth, cell repair, and metabolism in your body. 

Moreover, people with hypothyroidism may experience fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, feeling cold and depressed, as well as many other symptoms.[1]

Hypothyroidism affects 1-2% of people worldwide and is ten times more likely to affect women than men.

Food alone does not cure hypothyroidism. Interestingly, a combination of the right nutrients and medications can help restore thyroid function and reduce symptoms.

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What is hypothyroidism?

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck.

It produces and stores thyroid hormones that affect almost every cell of your body.

When the thyroid gland receives a signal called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), it secretes thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. This signal is sent from the pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of your brain when thyroid hormone levels are low.

Sometimes the thyroid gland does not secrete thyroid hormones, even if the TSH is high. And called primary hypothyroidism which is the most common type of hypothyroidism.

Nearly 90% of primary hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your thyroid.

Other causes of primary hypothyroidism include iodine deficiency, a genetic disorder, taking certain medications, and surgery in which part of the thyroid gland is removed.

Otherwise, the thyroid gland does not receive enough TSH. This occurs when the pituitary gland is not working properly and is called secondary hypothyroidism.

Thyroid hormones are very important. They help control growth, cell regeneration, and metabolism, the process by which your body converts what you eat into energy.

Metabolism affects body temperature and the rate at which you burn calories. 

Additionally, i.e people with hypothyroidism often experience cold and fatigue and can easily gain weight.

What is the effect of hypothyroidism on metabolism?

Thyroid hormone helps control the rate of your metabolism. The faster your metabolic rate is the more calories your body will burn at rest.

Additionally, people with hypothyroidism reduce the production of thyroid hormone. That means they have a slower metabolism and burn fewer calories at rest.

Moreover,  a slow metabolism rate has many health risks. It can make you tired, raise your cholesterol and make it difficult for you to lose weight.

If hypothyroidism is difficult to maintain your weight, try a moderate or high-intensity cardio workout. This includes exercises such as brisk walking, running, hiking and rowing.

Studies show that moderate and high-intensity aerobic exercise can help you to increase your thyroid hormone levels. Moreover, this can help speed up your metabolism.

Furthermore, people with hypothyroidism can also benefit from higher protein intake. 

Studies show that diets high in protein help increase metabolism.

Nutrients that are important for thyroid health.

Research shows that several nutrients are important for your thyroid health. Some essential nutrients for your thyroid health include:

Selenium

Selenium helps to “activate” thyroid hormones so that the body can use them.

This essential mineral also has antioxidant benefits, which means it can protect the thyroid gland from damage by molecules called free radicals.

In addition, adding a few selenium-rich foods to your diet is a great way to increase selenium levels. Some selenium-rich food includes Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, eggs, and legumes.

However, avoid taking selenium supplements unless recommended by your healthcare provider. Furthermore, supplements provide large doses, and selenium can be toxic in large quantities.

Iodine

Iodine is an essential mineral needed to produce thyroid hormones. Thus, people with iodine deficiency may be at risk of developing hypothyroidism.

Iodine deficiency is a very common phenomenon, affecting about one-third of the world’s population. However, it is less common in people in developed countries such as the United States, where iodized salt and iodine-rich seafood are widely available.

Moreover, if you are iodine deficient, consider adding iodized salt to your diet or eating more iodine-rich foods such as seaweed, fish, dairy products, and eggs.

It is not necessary to supplement iodine as it is possible to receive a lot of iodine from a diet. 

Additionally, studies have also shown that consuming too much of this mineral can damage the thyroid gland.

Zinc

Same as selenium, zinc also helps the body “activate” thyroid hormones.

Additionally, studies also show that zinc can help the body regulate TSH, a hormone that commands the thyroid gland to secrete thyroid hormones.

Moreover, zinc deficiency is rare in developed countries, where food is high in zinc.

However, if you have hypothyroidism, try eating more zinc-rich foods such as oysters, oysters, beef, and chicken.

Which nutrients are harmful for thyroid health?

Goitrogens are compounds that can interfere with normal thyroid function. Moreover, they got their name from the term goiter, which is an enlargement of the thyroid gland that can occur with hypothyroidism.

Surprisingly, many conventional foods contain Goitrogens, including:

Theoretically, people with hypothyroidism should avoid substances containing goiter. 

  • Soy foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.
  • Certain vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc.
  • Fruits and starchy plants: sweet potatoes, cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc.

However, this seems to be a problem only for people who are iodine deficient or who consume large amounts of nitrogen.

In addition, cooking with hydrogen peroxide can inactivate these compounds.

The exception to the above products – pearl millet. Moreover, studies have shown that pearl millet can interfere with thyroid function, even if you do not have an iodine deficiency.

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What Foods to Avoid for thyroid health.

Fortunately, you don’t have to avoid too many foods if you have hypothyroidism.

However, foods containing nitrogen should be consumed in moderation and cooked perfectly.

You can avoid heavily processed foods as they are usually high in calories. Which can be a problem if you have hypothyroidism, as you can gain weight easily.

Here is a list of foods and supplements that needed to be avoided:

  • Millet: all varieties
  • Highly processed foods: hot dogs, cakes, cookies, etc.
  • Supplements: Adequate intakes of selenium and iodine are essential for thyroid health, but getting too much of either may cause harm. Only supplement with selenium and iodine if a healthcare professional has instructed you to do so.

Foods that can be eaten in moderation. These foods contain goitrogens or are known irritants if consumed in large amounts:

  • Soy-based foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame beans, soy milk, etc.
  • Certain fruits: peaches, pears, and strawberries
  • Beverages: coffee, green tea, and alcohol — these beverages may irritate your thyroid gland.

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Foods to eat For thyroid health.

However, there are plenty of food options if you have hypothyroidism, including:

  • Fish: all seafood, including salmon, tuna, halibut, shrimp, etc.
  • Eggs: Whole eggs are best, as much of their iodine and selenium are found in the yolk, while the whites are full of protein
  • Meat: all meats, including lamb, beef, chicken, etc.
  • Fruits: all other fruits, including berries, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, etc.
  • Vegetables: all vegetables — cruciferous vegetables are fine to eat in moderate amounts, especially when cooked
  • Gluten-free grains and seeds: rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds, and flax seeds
  • Dairy: all dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
  • Beverages: water and other non-caffeinated beverages

People with hypothyroidism should strive for a diet based on vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. Because, it is low in calories and very filling, which can help prevent weight gain.

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Conclusion

Thyroid health plays an important role in the overall health of your body. Additionally, hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a disease that affects 1-2% of people worldwide.

And can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and a feeling of coldness, among many other things.

Fortunately, eating the right nutrients and taking medication can help reduce symptoms and improve thyroid function.

Useful nutrients for the thyroid gland are iodine, selenium, and zinc.

A thyroid-friendly diet can reduce symptoms and help you control your weight. Encourage the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods and lean proteins.

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