The Diet You Must Follow To Combat Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the body cannot produce enough thyroid hormones. This condition affects about 2% of people worldwide, and is more common in women.

Thyroid hormones help control growth, metabolism and other important functions of the body. That is why; people suffering from hypothyroidism can feel fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, cold feeling and discomfort.

The food alone will not cure hypothyroidism, but an appropriate combination of nutrients along with the medical treatment can restore the function of the thyroid gland or minimize symptoms. Therefore, you should know the best foods against hypothyroidism, specifically those that you should consume and those that you should avoid in order to be healthier.

The diet you should follow if you have hypothyroidism

1.What is hypothyroidism?

The thyroid gland is small, shaped like a butterfly located near the base of the neck. Its function is to create and store thyroid hormones that affect almost every cell in the body.

When it receives a signal, from the pituitary gland, called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), it releases thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. Occasionally, the thyroid gland may stop releasing hormones, even when there is enough TSH. This is called primary hypothyroidism and is the most common type.

About 90% of primary hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis , an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. Other causes are iodine deficiency, a genetic disorder, taking certain medications and surgery that removes part of the thyroid.

Other times, the thyroid gland does not get enough TSH, and it happens when the pituitary gland is not functioning properly; this is called secondary hypothyroidism.

2.How does hypothyroidism affect metabolism?

Thyroid hormone helps control the speed of your metabolism. The faster this is, the more calories you will burn at rest. People with hypothyroidism produce less thyroid hormone, which means they have a slower metabolism, and therefore burn fewer calories at rest.

Having a slow metabolism involves several health risks. Among them fatigue, high blood cholesterol level and difficulty losing weight. Therefore, a recommendation to maintain weight in people with hypothyroidism is to do cardio exercises with moderate to high intensity, since research shows that moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise can help increase levels of thyroid hormone. This includes exercises such as fast walking, running and rowing.

3.What are the most important nutrients against hypothyroidism?

3.1 Iodine

Iodine is an essential mineral to produce thyroid hormones. People with iodine deficiency may be at risk for hypothyroidism. This deficiency is very common, and affects almost a third of the world’s population. However, it is less common for people from developed countries.

To correct this, it is suggested to add iodized salt to meals or to eat more iodine-rich foods such as seaweed, fish, dairy products and eggs. Supplements are not necessary, because you can get enough iodine with the diet, and some studies have also shown that an excess can damage the thyroid gland.

3.2 Selenium

The selenium helps activate thyroid hormones so they can be used by the body. This essential mineral also has antioxidant benefits, which means that it can protect the gland from damage by free radicals.

Adding selenium-rich foods to your diet is an excellent way to increase your level. To do this, you must include Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, eggs, legumes and spinach. However, avoid taking a selenium supplement unless directed by a doctor, as they provide large doses and can be toxic.

3.3 Zinc

Like selenium, zinc helps activate thyroid hormones. Studies also show that this mineral helps the body regulate TSH.

Zinc deficiencies are rare in developed countries, as it is present in many foods. However, if you suffer from hypothyroidism, you should try to eat foods rich in zinc such as oysters, beef and chicken.

4.What are the most harmful nutrients for those who suffer from hypothyroidism?

There are several harmful nutrients in people with hypothyroidism . These include the following:

4.1 Bociogens

They are compounds that can interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. They get their name from the term “goiter”, which is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. Some foods with goitrogens are:

  • Soy foods.
  • Some vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower.
  • Fruits and plants with starch such as sweet potatoes and cassava.
  • Peaches and strawberries.
  • Nuts and seeds like pine nuts and peanuts.

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. People who have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease, cannot eat gluten.

Unfortunately, research shows that people who have an autoimmune disease run the risk of developing another of the same nature. That is why some people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may also have celiac disease.

5.What foods should people with hypothyroidism avoid?

Fortunately, there are not many foods to avoid if you have hypothyroidism, but foods with goitrogens should certainly be consumed in moderation. It is also suggested to avoid highly processed foods, due to its high caloric content. This can be a problem for someone with hypothyroidism because they can gain weight easily.

Here is a list of foods and supplements to avoid completely if you have hypothyroidism:

  • All varieties of millet.
  • Highly processed foods such as cakes, and cookies.
  • Supplements such as selenium and iodine, unless they have been prescribed by a doctor.

Instead, the foods you should eat in moderation are:

  • Foods that contain gluten such as bread, pasta, cereals, and beer.
  • Broccoli, kale and cabbage.
  • Peaches, pears and strawberries.
  • Coffee, green tea and alcohol because they can irritate the thyroid gland.

If you have celiac disease due to Hashimoto’s disease or you feel uncomfortable with foods with gluten, you should also avoid this component altogether.

6.What foods should people with hypothyroidism eat?

  • Whole eggs, since much of the iodine and selenium are in the yolk.
  • All meats, such as lamb, veal and chicken.
  • All seafood, including salmon, tuna and shrimp.
  • All vegetables, except cruciferous, which is recommended to eat in moderation.
  • Fruits such as berries, bananas, oranges and tomatoes.
  • Grains and seeds without gluten.
  • All dairy products, including milk, cheese and yogurt.
  • Drinks without caffeine.

Related Wiki Link: Foods You Must During Thyroid

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