A good diet includes whole foods, fruits, and vegetables and affects your health significantly. Certain foods can trigger conditions like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Therefore, it is essential to understand the required nutrients according to your problem.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce the required amount of thyroid hormone. The condition may not be noticeable in the early stages and usually affects older people. The thyroid is responsible for almost all the functions in the body like how your digestive system works and how your heart beats. Thyroid hormones promote growth and help to control it. Early symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, and muscle weakness if ignored can cause many health problems like joint pain, infertility and heart diseases.
A balanced diet that is rich in certain nutrients along with medication can help you reduce symptoms of hypothyroidism. Below given are essential nutrients and their sources that can improve your condition.
Selenium is essential for everyone’s health. It is a mineral or a micronutrient that aids in the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid tissue also contains some selenium naturally. It helps the enzymes that make thyroid hormones to work correctly. It may also protect the thyroid gland from the damage done by free radicals. However, it is to be taken in a small amount and its supplement should be avoided as a larger dose of selenium can be toxic. Foods rich in selenium include brazil nuts, legumes, oatmeal and whole wheat bread.
Iodine deficiency can be the cause of hypothyroidism. Other symptoms of iodine deficiency include weight gain and swelling in the neck. Iodine is used to make thyroid hormones and its deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. However, eating too much iodine can also have adverse effects. As too much intake of this mineral can damage the thyroid gland. Most countries like the U.S. use iodized salt and people rarely have an iodine deficiency. Countries in Europe and South Asia are more prone to this problem. It is to be noted that iodine supplements only work if hypothyroidism is caused due to iodine deficiency.
Tyrosine and iodine are used to make thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland and the thyroid gland uses the amino acid to produce T3 and T4. It generally helps in reducing the symptoms and intake of food rich in tyrosine is considered safe. However, it is essential to take the medication under a doctor’s supervision only as it is not suitable for people with high blood pressure and can have other negative effects. Sources of tyrosine include dairy and legumes.
- Fruits and Veggies Rich in Antioxidants
Intake of fruits and vegetables helps you to manage weight that is an early sign of hypothyroidism. Include fresh fruits and veggies with almost all meals to manage your weight. Specific foods like tomatoes, blueberries, cherries, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers are rich in antioxidants and help to improve your health including the thyroid gland. However, it is necessary to limit the intake of brassica vegetables i.e. related to the cabbage family as it can interfere with the ability of the thyroid to absorb iodine.
- Dairy Items
All dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cheese are considered healthy and may help you to provide vitamin D that can improve thyroid levels. Using fortified milk rather than pure cow milk adds to more benefits and provides you with vitamin D, vitamin A, protein, calcium, and iodine. Yogurt is also beneficial to regulate other bacteria by providing good bacteria and sufficient levels of iodine.
Food to Avoid in Hypothyroidism
Some foods can make the condition worse and hence needs to be avoided. It is necessary to limit the intake of certain foods as they can interfere with the treatment and makes the treatment less effective. Certain foods that are considered healthy for a normal person can also affect people with hypothyroidism.
Such foods include eatables with soy content. The component called isoflavone present in soy can affect thyroid negatively and it may also interfere with the absorption of your thyroid medicines. Fatty foods such as butter, cream, and fried food also interfere with the medicine’s effectiveness. Fatty foods can also reduce the ability of the thyroid to produce hormones. Sugary foods also affect your health badly as hypothyroidism can slow down your metabolism due to which it gets difficult to burn so many calories that have no nutrition value. Therefore, it becomes necessary to watch out for certain food items that can affect your health negatively.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid produces too much of T3 and T4 also known as thyrotoxicosis. The thyroid gland produces mainly two hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4). Hyperthyroidism happens when both of these are produced too much. The thyroid gland also manages your metabolism through the release of these hormones. Symptoms include unexpected weight loss, irregular heartbeat, irritability and, sweating. However, these symptoms are not experienced by everyone and sometimes people experience no symptoms.
Foods that reduce symptoms of hyperthyroidism and help you to manage the situation along with medications are given below.
- Foods with Iron
Iron is important for every person to carry out daily bodily processes. Sometimes deficiency of iron can lead to the problem of hyperthyroidism. Iron aids the RBCs i.e. the red blood cells in carrying oxygen to the cells of the body. Symptoms like pale skin, brittle nails, and dizziness can indicate iron deficiency. Sources of iron include beans whether white or black, tofu, raisins, spinach, chickpeas, and dark chocolate. Intake of these foods can help you maintain the required amount of iron.
- Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous vegetables are less caloric and are rich in vitamins like C, E, and K. They contain fiber and folic acid. They also help in reducing inflammation and have many other health benefits. The compounds present in them can decrease the production of thyroid hormone. However, these vegetables are not to be eaten in large amounts. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and radish are all cruciferous vegetables.
- Food with low iodine content
The mineral helps in the production of thyroid hormones. Maintaining a low-iodine diet is necessary to maintain low levels of thyroid hormones. Add foods like oats, honey, fresh fruits in your diet. It also increases the effectiveness of radioactive iodine therapy. Avoid foods such as iodized salt, seafood, and dairy products like cheese and butter. It is necessary to avoid salty foods in the restaurant as many restaurants use iodized salt in the preparation of dishes.
Zinc is necessary not only for proper thyroid functioning but also for your immune system. People with hyperthyroidism are more prone to zinc deficiency. Zinc is essential as it helps in the production of TSH. Hair loss, diarrhoea, slow wound healing and low insulin levels are symptoms of zinc deficiency. Eating an excess of whole grains can also block zinc function. However, overconsumption of zinc can be harmful as it may result in zinc toxicity. Sources of zinc include chickpeas, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and cocoa powder.
- Certain Herbs and Spices
Certain spices like turmeric, green chillies, and lemon balm can help in reducing the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and for its medicinal properties. It can aid in reducing the frequency of thyroid disease. Green chillies are useful in regulating hormones and promote circulation. Lemon balm is also said to reduce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and contains healing properties that can help you in managing the symptoms.
Foods to Avoid in Hyperthyroidism
Some food can trigger symptoms for hyperthyroidism and makes the condition worse. Certain food can interfere with the effectiveness of medications and increases the time of treatment.
Iodine-rich foods can worsen the condition as such foods aids in the production of thyroid hormones due to which too much thyroid hormone is produced. Gluten can also affect the absorption of thyroid medicines and it can also increase inflammation. Some studies suggest that a gluten-free diet can help with such conditions. Caffeine is also known to affect badly and worsens the symptoms like insomnia, tremors, and dizziness. Regular intake of black tea or coffee should be avoided to manage the situation. Extra sugary foods soft drinks, desserts, candies add to a lot of calories, they can increase blood sugar levels and affects many symptoms negatively. Such symptoms can be controlled by maintaining blood sugar levels. Alcohol is also related to hyperthyroidism and increases the risk of other problems. It affects energy levels and other symptoms as well. It is advised to avoid the intake of all beverages with alcohol content.