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Diet and Thyroidism: Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

Dr. Numan Niaz

1 min read

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Under or over production of thyroid hormones result in endocrine disorders—that affect the whole body. In hypothyroidism, there is decreased production of thyroid hormones and it results in dry skin, constipation, lethargy, excessive sleep and decreased metabolism.

On the other hand, hyperthyroidism results in increased production of thyroid hormones, and causes palpitations, loss of sleep, excessive sweating and weight loss. Both conditions require the assisstance of an endocrinologist.

Diet plays an important role in thyroid regulation. Nutrients such as selenium and iodine help to maintain proper thyroid function. Alternatively, soy and goitrogens decrease thyroid function and can induce hypothyroidism. Read on to find what foods are good for hypo- and hyper-thyroidism.

Foods that decrease thyroid function:

Certain foods—goitrogens—decrease thyroid function. They are contained in green vegetables like Russian kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts. They should be taken in moderation and their effect can be allayed by heat during cooking. Other foods that contain goitrogens include: strawberries, cassava, peaches and sweet potato. People with hypothyroidism should also avoid highly processed foods like cakes, cookies, hot dogs etc.

Soy can also decrease thyroid function. A study showed that if soy is taken continuously for even six months, it can induce hypothyroidism. It is contained in: soy milk, edamame, tofu, soy sauce, and miso.

Deficiency of nutrients such as iodine, zinc and selenium can induce hypothyroidism. Iodine is the building block of thyroid hormone, its deficiency therefore has a rapid effect on thyroid hormones. One-third of the world’s population suffers from iodine deficiency. It can be avoided by using iodized salt in the food. Other foods that include these nutrients are: seaweed, eggs, dairy and fish. Likewise, selenium helps to activate thyroid hormone, and provides antioxidant benefits to it as well. It is rich in tuna, eggs, sardines and legumes.

Foods that improve thyroid function:

As mentioned before foods that provide zinc, selenium and iodine improve the function of thyroid. Examples include: fish, legumes, dairy etc. Brazil nuts are another example of food that is good for thyroid functioning. They are rich in iron and selenium, both of which improve thyroid function.

Foods that interfere with thyroid replacement drugs:

Certain foods and supplements can interfere with the absorption of thyroid replacement medication. These include antacids and acid reducers, foods high in iodine, high fibre diet like bran bars, calcium supplements, iron supplements, and soy-based foods. If you are taking any of these drugs, then be sure to speak to your doctor about it.

Gluten and hypothyroidism:

Although gluten does not have a direct link with hypothyroidism, it is likely that if you have celiac disease, you may also have autoimmune thyroid disorder. Celiac disease is a gluten intolerance disorder, related to increased inflammation and autoimmune reaction. Another autoimmune disorder is hashimoto’s disease that results in under-functioning thyroid. Eating gluten can exacerbate these inflammatory disorders and therefore gluten free diet can also prevent thyroid disorders.

If you are suffering from a thyroid disorder, then get treatment from top endocrinologists in your city. Book an appointment with a top endocrinologist in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Numan Niaz - Author Dr. Nauman Niaz is among the Best Internal Medicine Specialist in Islamabad. Dr. Nauman Niaz is a Internal Medicine Specialist, Endocrinologist and Diabetologist. He has a MBBS (Pb), MRCP (UK), FRCP (Glasgow), FRCP (Ireland), FRCP (London), FRCP (Edin), Ph.D (WA) and Post Doc (Oxford) degree along with an experience of 24 years. He is also a member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC)

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