Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, may cause tiredness, depression, constipation, and other major health problems. Fortunately, some foods may help enhance the functioning of your thyroid – a little butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that plays an important role in how effectively your body functions.
Thyroid hormones control mood, metabolism, energy levels, body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. When this gland does not produce enough hormones to fulfill your body’s demands, you have hypothyroidism. Taking thyroid hormone replacement therapy on a regular basis may help restore your thyroid hormone levels and reduce your symptoms.
In addition to taking your thyroid medication, a well-balanced diet rich in produce and protein, among other healthy foods, can help boost thyroid function, according to Gregory B. Dodell, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes, and bone disease at Mount Sinai in New York City. Look for these seven nutrient-dense foods the next time you go grocery shopping.
Omega-3s in Fish Help With Inflammation and Immunity
According to Virginia Turner, MS, RD, LDN, clinical nutrition manager at Morrison Healthcare in Tennessee, the omega-3 fatty acids present in fatty fish such as wild salmon, trout, tuna, or sardines make this cuisine a good option for lunch or supper. Uncontrolled hypothyroidism may raise the risk of heart disease due to elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. “Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation, aid in immunity, and lower the risk of heart disease,” Turner says. Fish is also high in selenium, which is found in high concentrations in the thyroid and aids in the reduction of inflammation.
Nuts Are High in Selenium, Which Helps the Thyroid Function
Nuts are another excellent source of selenium and are a portable snack. They’re also delicious in salads or stir-fries. Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts are especially rich in selenium, which helps the thyroid operate correctly, according to a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology. You just need one or two Brazil nuts to receive your daily nutrients; for other nuts, a small handful is fine — but keep an eye on portion size, since nuts are also highly heavy in fat. One thing to keep in mind: walnuts might interfere with thyroid hormone absorption, so avoid eating them while taking your medicine.
Whole Grains Help Ease Constipation, a Symptom of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is characterized by constipation. Whole-grain meals, such as cereal, bread, pasta, and rice, are abundant in nutrients as well as fiber, which may aid with bowel regularity. Turner warns that fiber may interact with synthetic thyroid hormones. Some hypothyroid patients avoid whole grains entirely, but if you do, “the recommendation is to take your thyroid medication several hours before or after eating foods rich in dietary fiber,” she explains.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Help Manage Weight Gain
Weight gain is an early sign of hypothyroidism. Fresh vegetables and other low-calorie, high-density meals are the foundation of every effective weight management program. If feasible, include fresh fruits and vegetables at each meal. Blueberries, cherries, sweet potatoes, and green peppers are all high in antioxidants, which are believed to lessen the risk of heart disease.
People with hypothyroidism, on the other hand, should restrict their consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, to 5 ounces per day since they might inhibit the thyroid’s capacity to absorb iodine, which is necessary for regular thyroid function.
Seaweed Contains Iodine, Which Is Essential for Thyroid Function
Iodine, a vital vitamin for thyroid function, is abundant in seaweed. “Iodine is a precursor for the production of thyroid hormone,” adds Dr. Dodell. Seaweed, which comes in the forms of nori, wakame, and dulse, may be utilized in sushi, soups, and salads. Another advantage is that seaweed contains fiber, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.
Dodell advises that having too much iodine might aggravate thyroid illness. According to the American Thyroid Association, the probability of this occurring is increased if you take iodine supplements. Before increasing your iodine consumption, consult with your doctor.
Dairy Adds Essential Vitamin D to Your Thyroid Diet
According to a 2018 research published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, vitamin D supplementation reduced TSH levels in hypothyroid participants as well as thyroid antibodies in persons with autoimmune thyroiditis. Not only is vitamin D added to fortified milk, but so are calcium, protein, and iodine. Because Hashimoto’s may also produce changes that contribute to stomach difficulties such as heartburn, foods containing beneficial bacteria, such as yogurt, may help manage other bacteria, according to Dodell.
Beans Help Maintain Energy
Beans are a cheap and adaptable meal that provides prolonged energy, which might be beneficial if hypothyroidism leaves you feeling fatigued. Beans are high in protein, antioxidants, complex carbs, and vitamin and mineral content. They are also rich in fiber, which may help with constipation, which is a major side effect of hypothyroidism. If you’re new to beans, there are several to try, all of which may be used as the foundation for entrées, as side dishes, or to season soups, salads, and stews. Just be careful not to overdo it – although people should consume 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, too much fiber might interfere with your hypothyroidism therapy.