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You eat for energy, you eat for strong bones, you eat for brain-boosting benefits and you eat to improve your heart. But do you eat a diet that would benefit your thyroid? More so, if you already have been diagnosed with a thyroid problem, like hypothyroidism, do you know what you should be eating and what you should be avoiding?
Our thyroid is often overlooked unless a doctor raises concerns about it. Although you may not think about it much it plays a major role in producing hormones and regulating our metabolism. When this process is thrown off it can cause hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism: What Is It?
Hypothyroidism is a disruption in the normal processes carried out by the thyroid. Production of hormones reduces which can lead to weight gain, constipation, changes in skin – becoming too dry – fatigue and even depression.
Hypothyroidism can occur if the thyroid is removed through surgery, stress or simply if it stops functioning as normal.
The good news is hypothyroidism is manageable and one way to do so is through diet.
The Link Between Hypothyroidism and Your Diet
Just as our body requires nutrients for it to function properly, so does the thyroid either. This is why hypothyroidism and diet are so important for proper management.
There are certain types of food which are best for hypothyroidism. They are iodine rich foods and selenium-rich foods. Before we outline foods for hypothyroidism let’s discuss the importance of iodine and selenium.
Iodine is required for the normal functioning of the thyroid so when the thyroid is under-performing, boosting iodine can help it. Iodine-rich foods may aid in symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and assist your metabolism. Selenium is also highly beneficial for your thyroid as it aids in the production of hormones making your thyroid not have to work as hard.
Now that we understand the role of iodine and selenium in addressing hypothyroidism, let’s outline.
Foods to Treat Hypothyroidism: Here Are 13 Foods You Should Be Eating
- Whole unrefined grains
- Iodized salt
- Dairy products
- Beans and legumes
- Fruits and vegetables.
Eating foods to treat hypothyroidism can benefit your overall good health as well. Eating them daily can help boost the health of your thyroid and make living with hypothyroidism manageable and easier to live with.
On the other hand, there are foods you should avoid as they can worsen symptoms and the condition itself.
9 Foods to Avoid If You Have Hypothyroidism
Many of the foods to avoid with hypothyroidism are common foods that should generally be avoided or limited as they do not contribute to good health. These items are:
- Soy: Soy can interfere with hormones, especially in women.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Generally food items like broccoli and cabbage are recommended for healthy eating but not if you have hypothyroidism. This type of food can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones.
- Gluten: Although commonly avoided by those with Celiac disease gluten should also be avoided if you have hypothyroidism.
- Fatty food: Fatty foods may interrupt the absorption of thyroid medications
- Sugary foods: With an already slower metabolism adding sugary foods will lead to greater weight gain.
- Processed foods: Hypothyroidism can result in individual’s having higher blood pressure so the added salts from processed foods will only worsen this.
- Too much fiber: Fiber is good to keep us regular but not in the case of those with hypothyroidism.
- Coffee: You may have to cut back on your morning coffee. Caffeine can limit the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medications.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can disrupt the production of thyroid hormones and reduce the body’s ability to utilize these hormones.
13 Major Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
If you’ve already been diagnosed with hypothyroidism then you are now aware of the best foods for hypothyroidism. If you have concerns about your thyroid but haven’t gotten it checked out yet this is a list of the symptoms you may be experiencing.
- Thinning hair
- Weight gain
- Memory fog
- Weakness of muscles
- Elevated blood pressure
- Pain, stiffness or swelling of joints
- Slowed heart rate
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Elevated blood cholesterol
- Sensitivity to cold
Skin-Related Underactive Hypothyroidism Symptoms
- Dry skin
- Pale, cold, scaly, wrinkled skin
- Coarse, dry scalp and hair
- Absence of sweating
- Skin color (e.g., ivory or yellow)
- Eczema craquele
- Poor wound healing
These symptoms, although part of hypothyroidism, are also quite common among other illnesses. Speak to your doctor and get your thyroid checked to know for sure.
Skin-Related Overactive Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
- Swelling in the neck (caused by enlarged thyroid gland)
- Over-sensitivity to heat, excessive sweating and warm, damp skin
- Itchy skin with raised itchy swellings
- Alopecia (where hair is lost in patches)
How to Live with Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is something you can live with. Along with medications, a hypothyroidism diet can greatly improve your everyday life and assist your thyroid. Enjoying these foods to help hypothyroidism is a great way to boost iodine and selenium – both essential for a healthy thyroid. Lastly, ensuring you’re not consuming the foods to avoid for hypothyroidism can help you feel better in the long run and make your thyroid hormone replacement that much more effective.
Natural healing for thyroid disorders
Noticing how tired you are, the extra weight you’ve put on for no apparent reason, and your hair seems thin and dry? These are just a few of the many problems a slowdown in the output of the thyroid gland can cause. The older you get, especially for women, the more likely you are to experience thyroid problems.
Why you may not be healthy as you think
If I were to ask you if you were healthy, you would answer based on how you’re currently feeling. So if you weren’t coughing, sneezing, dizzy or have a headache, you would probably say you were quite healthy. But having symptoms to an illness isn’t necessarily the only way to measure your health.