Undoubtedly, the thyroid gland plays a crucial role in numerous body functions like regulating metabolism, protein synthesis, long bone growth, etc. But everything is harmful in excess, even thyroid hormones.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid starts working aggressively and produces extra thyroid hormones. This severely affects the quality of life and can be dangerous. Patients often take medicines for years on end to control hormone production.
Did you know that your diet can turn the tables and help manage hyperthyroidism symptoms? Yes, you heard that right! For this, you need to know which hyperthyroidism foods to avoid and which to eat. If you want to learn about this, this blog is for you.
In this blog, we will explore which foods to avoid with hyperthyroidism and foods that are good for hyperthyroidism.
List of foods to avoid with hyperthyroidism
There is a lot of speculation and advice when it comes to picking a diet for thyroid disease. Your best bet is to rely on research-based material over well-meaning advice. Here is a list of hyperthyroidism foods to avoid.
Foods rich in Iodine: We all know that iodine is essential in the production of thyroid hormones. High-iodine foods can disturb thyroids' normal functionality and result in the overproduction of thyroid hormones.
High-iodine food choices include:
- Iodized salt
- Dairy products (butter, milk chocolate, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt)
- Seafood (seaweed, fish, shellfish, sushi)
- Supplements containing iodine
Gluten-containing foods: Gluten can trigger inflammation in the thyroid gland, which can worsen hyperthyroidism. You may be surprised to know there is a connection between gluten and autoimmune disease. According to a study, symptoms of Graves' disease improved with a gluten-restricted diet.
Gluten-containing grains include:
- Maida (all-purpose flour)
- Wheat berries
Caffeine acts as a stimulant, so people often use it to stay fresh during stressful times. However, it can aggravate hyperthyroidism symptoms, such as palpitations, tremors, anxiety, and insomnia. It may also interfere with the absorption of thyroid medication.
It may be time to say goodbye to the following caffeinated foods and beverages:
- Black tea
- Energy drinks
- Coffee ice cream and coffee-flavored products
Soy: With the advent of flavored soy milk, you may feel tempted to pick up a tasty amd supposedly healthy treat. Unfortunately, that can do more harm than good.
Soy-containing foods interfere with some hyperthyroidism treatments such as radioactive iodine. Moreover, commercial soy milk is often loaded with sugar to give it a pleasant taste. So, it's better to exclude soy-containing foods like Soy milk, tofu, soy sauce, etc.
Alcohol: Alcohol can aggravate many symptoms of a Hyperthyroidism patient. These include disrupting the energy level, worsening sleep issues, and increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
Depending on the severity of your disease, your doctor may allow an occasional glass of red wine. However, hard drinks are better avoided. Always make sure to follow your doctor's advice and avoid going overboard.
Refined Flour: You must have noticed that you often get a stomach ache after eating too many biscuits or a couple of slices of pizza. This is because of the use of refined flour in these products.
Refined is hard to digest and has fewer nutrients than whole wheat flour. It creates an imbalance in blood sugar and hormone levels. It has a high glycemic index which causes problems in the healthy hormone levels in the body, including thyroid hormone. There are a wide variety of gluten-free snacks available in the market which you should prefer.
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil: Hydrogenated vegetable oils are edible oils where hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to increase their shelf life. In this process, trans fats are produced.
When we use hydrogenated vegetable oils in cooking, it disturbs the balance between the good and bad cholesterol levels in our bodies. It also increases hyperthyroidism symptoms. Consider bypassing deep-fried foods like doughnuts, crackers, margarine, or onion rings. These foods are commercially prepared in hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Processed or fried foods.: If you are having processed or fried foods even after your hyperthyroidism diagnosis, then my friend, you are making the biggest mistake.
Lower intake of processed and fried food reduces the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism. These foods cause thyroid inflammation and disturb the thyroid gland's work.
Now that you have a good idea of what foods to avoid with hyperthyroidism, you may be curious as to what you can eat. That’s what we will explore in the next section.
What foods are good for Hyperthyroidism?
Certain foods are good for Hyperthyroidism. These foods can help to suppress thyroid function to some extent. By controlling the production of thyroid hormones, they can also reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Low iodine foods: Just as high-iodine foods worsen hyperthyroidism, low-iodine foods can improve overactive thyroid symptoms. Some low-iodine foods include:
- Noniodized salt
- Egg whites
- Fresh vegetables
- Fruit juices
Cruciferous vegetables: These foods are good for hyperthyroidism as they act as goitrogens. Goitrogen is a natural compound that reduces thyroid hormone production. They can also result in enlargement of the thyroid gland (known as goiter).
This is because of the presence of goitrin. Goitrin is a potent goitrogen present in all cruciferous vegetables.
According to research, 194 μmol of goitrin can hinder radioiodine uptake by the thyroid. The same was not seen with lower doses of goitrin. This means a sufficient amount of goitrin is required to decrease iodine uptake. Some cruciferous vegetables contain enough goitrin compound to reduce iodine uptake by the thyroid.
You can include these cruciferous vegetables:
- Broccoli and broccoli rabe
- Collard greens, turnip roots, and mustard greens
- Brussels sprouts
Nuts: Nuts are a great source of selenium. Selenium is a crucial nutrient required for normal thyroid function. Research states that people who take selenium supplements along with thyroid medication get normal thyroid levels faster than those who rely only on thyroid medication.
You can have the following nuts:
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pistachio nuts
- Brazil Nuts
- Macadamia nut
Healthy fats: Healthy fats are usually unprocessed and are extracted from whole foods. They reduce thyroid inflammation and help balance the production of thyroid hormones.
You can include flaxseed oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, avocado, unsalted nuts, and seeds in the diet.
Eating and avoiding certain foods may not cure hyperthyroidism, but it will surely help manage it better. Your diet can affect thyroid hormone production and how the thyroid gland works. Before you start any diet or treatment for hyperthyroidism, it is essential to find out the root cause of the disease. Addressing this will help treat the disorder and eliminate it.
Do you want to reverse the hyperthyroidism symptoms? You can contact the Jeevam health team for a detailed analysis of your health condition.