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Health Blog

The MSN Healthcare Health Blog offers news and analysis on weight loss, fatigue, personal health, and health news. It includes contributions from Dr. Mark Neumann and others. Click now.

 

9 Best Foods to Avoid and Foods to Eat on Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Diet

Mark Neumann

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Diet.jpg

The thyroid gland sits near the base of your neck and is responsible for making and storing thyroid hormones, which affect almost every cell in the body. When the butterfly-shaped gland receives a signal, also known as TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), it delivers thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. Thyroid hormones help to control growth, repair, and metabolism.  

Sometimes the thyroid gland doesn’t perform properly and fails to release thyroid hormones. This is known as primary hypothyroidism, approximately 90% of which is caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. People with hypothyroidism often feel cold, tired, and gain weight because your body temperature is affected by your metabolism.

What is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder which causes the thyroid gland to become inflamed. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels in the blood) in the USA and is diagnosed by blood tests that measure thyroid gland function. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the body mistakenly generates an immune reaction (attack) against thyroid gland tissue, which causes inflammation of the gland.  

Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis are similar to those of hypothyroidism:

●        Depression

●        Dry skin

●        Feeling cold

●        Constipation

●        Fatigue

●        Sleepiness

●        Weight gain

Those who have hypothyroidism make less thyroid hormone and consequently have a slower metabolism and burn fewer calories at rest, which can lead to weight gain.

9 Foods to Avoid with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Diet

Of course, diet alone isn’t always the answer to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. That said, a combination of medication and the right nutrients in your foods can help restore thyroid function and improve your symptoms.  

Foods with Soy

This includes foods like edamame, tofu, and miso. Some researchers argue that consuming too much soy can increase the risk of hypothyroidism. However, others believe that this is only an issue for those with both hypothyroidism and an iodine deficiency. Studies suggest that soy can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb thyroid medication as well, which is why it’s advised that you wait four hours after consuming any soy products before taking medication.  

Cruciferous Vegetables

Full of fiber and other nutrients, cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, can unfortunately interfere with the proper functioning of the thyroid if you have an iodine deficiency. For this reason, limit your intake of cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, and turnips. Research suggests that ingesting cruciferous vegetables can block the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine. To make these vegetables less harmful, you may try cooking them to reduce the effect they have on the thyroid gland.  

Gluten

Gluten is a protein found in foods processed from barley, wheat, rye, and other grains. Gluten can irritate the small intestine and may interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication.  

If you do decide to eat gluten, make sure you’re choosing whole grains. Whole grain bread, pasta, and rice are higher in fiber and can help improve bowel irregularity, which is common for those with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and hypothyroidism. Also, be sure to take your medication several hours before or after eating gluten-containing foods to prevent them from impacting the absorption of your synthetic thyroid hormone.  

Fatty Foods Such as Butter, Meat, and All Things Fried

Studies show that fatty foods, including butter, meat, and fried foods, can disrupt the body’s ability to absorb thyroid medications and may also interfere with the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. Professionals recommend cutting out all fried foods and reducing your intake of fats from mayonnaise, butter, margarine, and fatty cuts of meat with healthier alternatives. 

Sugary Foods

Because Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism can cause a slow down in the metabolism, it can be easy to gain weight. For this reason, you’ll want to avoid foods with excess sugar that are calorically dense but lack nutrients. Reduce your sugar intake or eliminate it completely for the best results.  

Processed Foods

Processed foods tend to be high in sodium, which can further increase the risk of high blood pressure, which people with hypothyroidism are prone to. Avoid eating foods that come in packages or in the frozen aisle. Also be sure to read the Nutrition Facts on the label of processed foods and try to find foods with the lowest levels of sodium. According to the American Heart Association, people with an increased risk for high blood pressure should restrict their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day.  

Excess Fiber

While it’s important to get enough fiber in your diet from foods like beans, legumes, and vegetables, too much can disrupt hypothyroidism medication. The government recommends that adults consume between 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Any amount of dietary fiber from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, beans, and legumes that exceed this level may impact your digestive system and interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement. 

Coffee and Caffeinated Tea

If you’re taking thyroid medication, be sure to wait at least half an hour after taking your medication before having your morning cup of coffee or caffeinated tea. This is important because caffeine has been found to block the absorption of thyroid medication.  

Alcohol

If you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, it might be time to trade in your cocktails for mocktails. Consuming alcohol can cause serious chaos for your thyroid hormone levels and can also impair the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. Because alcohol appears to have a toxic effect on the thyroid gland, people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis should ideally cut out alcohol altogether. At the very least, it’s advisable that those with thyroid issues drink in careful moderation.

9 Foods to Eat with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Diet

While there are plenty of foods people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis should avoid, there are just as many to add to your diet. People with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis should eat a diet high in vegetables and fruits, with lean protein like lentils, chickpeas, and some lean meats. Those with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can benefit from increasing their protein intake because studies show that higher-protein diets can help increase the speed of the metabolism. Vegetables are low in calories, yet can be very filling, which may help stave off weight gain, while lean meats and foods like chickpeas and lentils provide nutrient-filled protein sources.  

There are plenty of food options for people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, including the following:

Vegetables

Take your mom’s advice once and for all and eat your veggies! Vegetables are good sources of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, iron, calcium, and more.  

Fruits

While monitoring sugar levels is important, it’s okay to eat fruit, but we recommend sticking to berries only(blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries) because they’re low in sugar. 

Seaweed and Sea Vegetables

Seaweed and sea vegetables are full of iodine, which is one of the primary building blocks of the thyroid hormone. If your body doesn’t have enough iodine, your thyroid will cease to produce its hormones. Iodine is very important for thyroid health and it’s the reason we iodize salt. Seaweed is one of the best sources of iodine and can be incorporated into your diet in a variety of fun ways – try homemade veggie sushi rolls or seaweed pesto zucchini noodles.  

Gluten-free grains and seeds

These days there are lots of gluten-free alternatives for pasta, breads, crackers, and more. Look for alternatives like rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds, and flaxseed. 

Eggs

Scrambled or sunny side up? It’s best to eat whole eggs, rather than just the protein-packed egg whites, because the majority of the iodine and selenium in an egg are found inside the yolk. Selenium is what helps activate thyroid hormones so they can be used by the body. Selenium also has antioxidant benefits, which helps protect the thyroid gland from free radical damage. 

Lentils

Green and red lentils contain lots of fiber, protein and other key nutrients such as potassium and iron. Lentils are a great way to add healthy protein to any lunch or dinner. They’re also very versatile, as they can be added to curries, stews, and salads or they can even act as a replacement for meat in some dishes.  

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are another plant-based source of protein that are highly versatile. Chickpeas can be added to curries and stews or can be seasoned with paprika and roasted in the oven for a healthy and filling snack. Another way to consume chickpeas is by eating hummus on a sandwich or with crackers. Both lentils and chickpeas are filling and can help people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis avoid weight gain.  

Lean meats

In similar fashion to selenium, zinc is another nutrient that helps activate thyroid hormones so that they can be used by the body. While zinc deficiencies are rare, if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, you may want to consider eating more foods rich in zinc, including organic chicken and shellfish.  

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are an amazing source of selenium, which is necessary for thyroid function. Snack on just two Brazil nuts per day, and you’ll achieve your allotment of selenium! 

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