When you have an underactive thyroid, what foods should you avoid? The answer to that question is not as simple as it seems.
Some people with this condition may be able to eat these foods while others cannot. What might work for me might not work for you, so we will go over a few things that are worth considering when trying to figure out what is safe and what is not.
How do I know if my thyroid is healthy?
There are other things that you can look for as well. You may be experiencing symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, such as weight gain or difficulty sleeping when there’s no reason behind it other than what’s going on with the endocrine system in your body. Or, if they’re taking medication for something else and have had an effect on the thyroid (again without any signs).
One symptom could also be hair loss. The first thing to do would be to get tested though because sometimes we don’t notice these changes happening until years later.
So What Foods Not To Eat With Underactive Thyroid?
Some people say soy products can cause low levels of thyroid hormones, so it is recommended to avoid them.
Some people also say that you shouldn’t eat tomatoes because they contain an amino acid called tyramine which can trigger hypothyroidism symptoms of fatigue and weight gain out of the blue
The best thing to do if you’re not sure what would be good for your specific condition is to talk with a doctor or registered dietitian about what foods are going to work best.
They will take into consideration any allergies you may have as well as how active/sedentary or young/old you are among other things. This person should know what types of food will help bring up thyroid levels in most cases instead of worsening them.
Avoid sugar because it can interfere in the conversion of T to useful hormones.
If you’re a coffee drinker, try using Stevia or other natural sweeteners instead and if you enjoy tea, use honey as opposed to cane sugar or brown sugars
Soy is a common ingredient in many products, including soy sauce and tofu. Even if you have no thyroid problems, it’s best to avoid eating these foods because they are high in phytoestrogens (plant-based hormones).
The problem with people who have an underactive thyroid is that because their body doesn’t produce enough natural estrogen on its own, the phytoestrogens can make this condition worse.
It is recommended by most experts to avoid dairy products for people with underactive thyroid because they can aggravate the condition.
Dairy has been linked to inflammation and thyroid issues in general. But it also contains substances called tyrosine kinase inhibitors which block natural iodine uptake from the gut into the thyroid gland, preventing the synthesis of important hormones such as thyroxine (T-hormone) and triiodothyronine (thyroid hormone).
These same inhibitors are present in soybeans and some other legumes, so a diet that excludes those items would be necessary if you have Hashimoto’s or any other kind of underactive thyroid problem.
Alcohol is a goitrogenic substance. It will worsen your symptoms of hypothyroidism because it has the ability to inhibit iodine uptake into the thyroid gland which will cause an underactive thyroid issue.
Some people may experience relief from their symptoms with mild drinking, but this varies for everyone and should be discussed with your doctor before trying any form of alcoholic beverage.
If you have thyroid cancer, alcohol should be avoided as it may increase the risk of recurrence.
What foods can help thyroid function?
The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating metabolism. When the body doesn’t have enough iodine, it can lead to an underactive thyroid and also a goiter.
There are many foods that you should eat in order to help your thyroid function properly so that your metabolism stays on track and balanced.
Some of these include: selenium-rich foods (such as Brazil nuts), soybean products, oats, barley, fresh yogurt, or kefir made from cow’s milk which contains high levels of vitamin D and calcium.
Eat Foods with Selenium
Selenium is one of the most important vitamins for thyroid function. Selenium deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, and in some cases, it might even cause goiter. Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, as well as sea vegetables like miso soup or kelp noodles.
If you’re looking for an Asian food that will help with your low thyroid function then try cooking up some miso soup! Miso paste contains high levels of vitamin D which is essential for helping regulate your body’s metabolism; so what does this mean?
It means that you’ll have more energy throughout the day without feeling tired and drained from all those additional tasks due to sluggish thyroids. Add ginger and garlic to the soup.
Ginger is very good for your thyroid because it stimulates thyroid activity, and what better way to enjoy ginger than by adding it into a kelp noodle dish!
Kelp noodles also contain iodine which helps promote healthy thyroid function as well! You can make this dish with or without meat but I would recommend only cooking one type of protein at a time so that you don’t end up undercooking any of them.
Sea vegetables have high levels of selenium, iodide, vitamin A and B12; all things necessary for maintaining optimum health in regards to our thyroids. So how do we get sea veggies? Add some seaweed to your favorite sushi roll!
An excellent source of selenium, and when coupled with the healthy fats in avocados it makes for a perfect snack or meal to eat if you’re struggling with sluggish thyroid function. You can enjoy them on toast as well as mashed into a guacamole-like dip that’s great for dipping vegetables into.
Eat Foods with Zinc
One of the best ways to ensure your thyroid isn’t underactive is to make sure you’re eating foods with high levels of zinc. Zinc deficiency can be a huge contributor to whether or not someone has an underactive thyroid, so it’s important that we get as much zinc into our diet as possible.
Foods rich in zinc include:
- Legumes – Lentils, Soybeans, and White Beans
- Seeds – Pumpkin seeds are especially good for this, but also consider Sunflower Seeds and Hemp Seeds which have higher amounts than most other food sources around us!
- Grains – Wheat germ is one great example here; try adding some to your morning cereal or yogurt. Other options include Oats, Wheat berries, and Puffed Rice
- Nuts – Almonds have the best levels of zinc as do seeds like Pistachios
- Vegetables – Dark Leafy Greens is a great option here including Kale, Dandelion greens, and Beet tops
Some other food choices to consider:
- Brown rice,
- Mushrooms (especially Shiitake),
- Whole wheat breads
- And cereals with oats in them.
You can also sprinkle some pumpkin or sunflower seeds on top for an extra healthy bonus!
The key is that you’re eating foods high in zinc which will help maintain your thyroid status.
Eat Foods with B Vitamins
B vitamins are an important part of the diet for people with an underactive thyroid. They help combat symptoms and prevent flares in this condition.
Some good sources of B vitamins include fish, lean meat, whole grains, vegetables (including potatoes), fruit, and green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale.
Vegans should be careful to eat plenty of lentils that contain vitamin B12 as well as fortified breakfast cereals such as Shredded Wheat.
Eat Foods with Omega 3’s
People with an underactive thyroid should also eat foods that contain omega-three fatty acids such as fish, mackerel, and flax seeds.
Omega-three fats are important for normal brain function and can help improve mood swings or depression but it is important to make sure they are coming from a good source (fish, mackerel) and not just being supplemented with other sources of fats such as animal products or processed food like baked goods that have high levels of sugar in them.
Fish is a good source of protein but some people might not like the taste, so they may be better off eating salmon instead of tuna or other types of canned fish which often have added sugar in them.
Mackerel has more omega three than many other oily fishes while being lower in mercury levels than most others on the market today; it’s also considered to be less smelly!
Flaxseed oil is another way to get your daily dose without having to consume large amounts of food throughout the day.
Eat Foods with Iron
Iron is one of the most important nutrients for a person with an underactive thyroid. Iron deficiency can lead to more pronounced symptoms and poor recovery from disease.
Make sure you’re eating enough iron-rich foods like red meat, beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds; eggs are also full of protein which will help your body recover properly as well.
Be Empowered in Your Healing Journey
A diet does not cure the disease but following some of these guidelines may help those experiencing symptoms find relief from them. The first step is to get educated. Read and learn about your condition, the treatments, and how you can manage it on a daily basis. Study up so that you are empowered in this journey!