Hypothyroidism is a serious disease that occurs when a person’s thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. This can lead to slow mental and physical development. There are dozens of symptoms associated with the disease, but some of the most common include fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, and weight gain. While there is no proof that eating or not eating certain foods can cure hypothyroidism, experts believe paying close attention to your diet can provide some relief from the symptoms.
Avoid Soy Products
Soy products are full of plant-based phytoestrogen, a hormone that has been known to cause your body not to use the thyroid hormones the way it should. Some experts even believe that eating soy can increase your risk of developing hypothyroidism in the first place. Because soy doesn’t have a definitive link to the disease, there are no specific guidelines. Those who do avoid soy often report eased symptoms.
Eat More Fish
Many hypothyroidism patients–especially those who have yet to manage the disease–have higher cholesterol and a higher risk for heart disease. Fish has omega-3 fatty acids that can combat these problems. It has also been known to boost the immune system and decrease inflammation of the joints. Salmon, tuna, and trout are all good sources of omega-3s and taste delicious for lunch and dinner alike.
Stop Eating Fatty Foods
If you are taking a hormone replacement medicine to combat your hypothyroidism, fatty foods could be preventing you from feeling as good as you should. This is because they have been known to prevent your body from absorbing your medication as it should. Many doctors recommend cutting out any fatty foods, including butter and meat with lots of fat on it.
Try Some Seaweed
Many people turn their nose at the idea of eating seaweed, but it is a very healthy food that has numerous preparation methods. Seaweed has a lot of iodine, which your thyroid requires to function. In addition to iodine, it gives you a healthy dose of vitamins such as calcium and Vitamin B. If you do eat a lot of seaweed, speak with your doctor about your iodine levels. It is possible to have too much in your system, although this usually only happens to people who take a supplement for it in addition to eating foods high in iodine.
Give Up Sugary Foods
If you want a healthier thyroid, you’re going to have to give up that morning doughnut. People with hypothyroidism often have a slower metabolism, making it even easier for those sugary treats to stick to your waistline. If you can, completely eliminate sugar from your diet. If complete elimination isn’t an option, you should cut out as much of it as you can.
Stock Up on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are low in calories but help you to stay full, making it easier for those with hypothyroidism to try to lose weight they’ve gained because of the disease. Specific fruits or vegetables offer other benefits, too. For example, cherries, berries, and green peppers have plenty of antioxidants that can help lower your risk of developing heart disease. Keep in mind that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli can actually block your thyroid from absorbing iodine, so should be limited.
Stop Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol consumption is one of the worst things you can do for your thyroid. It not only messes up your thyroid’s hormone levels, but can also prevent it from creating the hormone at all. It even makes it so your body won’t use what little of the hormone you do produce. Ideally, you should cut out alcohol completely, but if you do drink, do so very sparingly.
Eat More Beans
Beans can help you feel energized, which is an important trait for people who have hypothyroidism. They have protein, antioxidants, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. However, be sure not to eat too many, as the extra fiber can also cause problems with the thyroid.
Many people with hypothyroidism find they have an intolerance to gluten, which can cause irritation in the small intestine and prevent absorption of thyroid medication. It’s best to avoid it altogether. With more companies making gluten-free products, it is becoming much easier to eat your favorite foods without worry. Hampton Creek creates mayonnaise, salad dressing, and cookie products that are gluten-free, for example.
Hypothyroidism is a serious disease. While eating or avoiding specific foods can help ease symptoms, changing your diet is not a cure. It is still important to see a doctor or endocrinologist at regular intervals, as well as to take your medication daily. Always speak with your doctor before drastically changing your diet.