What is the Right Diet for Underactive Thyroid

The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is one of the most crucial organs in your body. It is responsible for the production of hormones that reach different receptors controlling an array of bodily functions, including metabolism, mood, temperature, energy levels, and heart rate. A disturbance in the functioning of the thyroid gland can cause noticeable changes throughout the body. Your diet plays a critical role in thyroid functioning. Although there is no such specific hypothyroidism diet, you may want to choose foods that can boost the functioning of your thyroid gland. So what is a typical diet for underactive thyroid?

Diet for Underactive Thyroid

Right Food for Hypothyroidism: Best Diet for Underactive Thyroid

The first step in the treatment of hypothyroidism begins with the elimination of the causes of thyroid dysfunction. This may include nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, hormonal changes primarily due to stress and anxiety, and overuse of medications.

  • A typical diet for underactive thyroid is one that eliminates food sources that can elevate the risk of inflammation and immune reactions.
  • Your focus should be to include low-fat and low-calorie foods that help reduce inflammation and balance hormones.
  • You should choose foods that can heal your gastrointestinal tract.

Being a master gland, thyroid controls the process of calorie burning, nutrient absorption, and energy production.

When you have an underactive thyroid, and your body is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone, it may trigger all sorts of health problems. Therefore, it becomes critically important to choose a healthy balanced diet, because what you eat can affect the thyroid functioning. You must eat the right variety of foods in the right proportions.

The Right Diet for Underactive Thyroid: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

This is one category of foods that qualify for a range of health issues. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the cornerstones of a healthy body. A colorful platter is what you should aim for when you are diagnosed with an underactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism is often associated with weight gain. While high-fat foods can trigger a range of health conditions, your underactive thyroid diet should include a range of low-calorie foods. Easy to absorb, fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that can lower your risk of cancer and heart disease.

Tomatoes, blueberries, and bell peppers are rich in antioxidants and can improve your overall health, including the functioning of the thyroid gland. Berries are rich in antioxidants. People with an underactive thyroid may have a high amount of free radicals, according to a Nutrition Journal report. Researchers found that berries, including goji berries, blackberries, cranberries, and wild strawberries are great sources of antioxidants.

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However, not all vegetables qualify for the hypothyroidism diet. You may want to lower your intake of most cruciferous vegetables, including kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, which can block the ability of the gland to absorb iodine.

The Right Diet for Underactive Thyroid: Beans, Fiber, Eggs

Rich in antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, fiber, and complex carbs, beans are a perfect addition to your hypothyroid diet. A great source of sustained energy, a diet comprising beans can boost your energy levels if you feel low due to hypothyroidism symptoms. You can consume beans in different forms, including salad, soup, stew, and curries.

People with hypothyroidism often complain of constipation and digestive problems. Including fiber-rich foods in your underactive thyroid diet can help improve digestive health. Aim for not more than 30-40 gm of fiber in your diet for hypothyroidism, because too much fiber may affect the absorption of thyroid medications.

Do you know an egg is a thyroid superfood? If the egg is not a common part of your diet for underactive thyroid, you should try to include it in your regular dietary regimen for good thyroid health. You can derive 16% of your daily iodine requirement from one large egg contains. Additionally, it also supplies you 20% of the selenium needed for the day.

The Right Diet for Underactive Thyroid: Fish

Fish is a good source of iodine. Research reveals that people living in remote, mountainous regions are at a high risk of developing goiter due to the lack of iodine. The absence of nutrition is one of the most common causes of thyroid problems.

A 3-ounce serving of baked cod gives you almost 66% of your daily recommended intake of iodine. Another good option is canned tuna, which gives you 11% of your daily quota of iodine. Shellfish is another good source of iodine like lobster and shrimp. You can derive 20% of your daily iodine requirement from just 3 ounces of shrimp. Additionally, it is a great source of zinc.

The Right Diet for Underactive Thyroid: Dairy Products

According to a study published in the journal Thyroid, there is a correlation between Hashimoto’s disease and low levels of vitamin D. Hashimoto’s disease is one of the most common causes of an underactive hypothyroid.

Fortified milk provides your body with a good dose of vitamin D. Besides, it contains significant amounts of iodine, calcium, and protein.

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Probiotic foods, including yogurt and kefir, provide your body with good bacteria. These may help regulate other gut bacteria.

The thyroid gland produces and secretes hormones responsible for metabolism. Thyroid hormones, T4 and T3, are composed of iodine and affect all forms of digestion. These hormones cannot be synthesized without iodine. The thyroid gland produces T4 when the brain sends it Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.  T4 is converted to T3 in peripheral tissues, such as the gut. Most cells in the body require T3.

Healthy gut flora plays a key role in the conversion of T4 to T3. Contrarily, bad bacteria may affect plasma concentrations of thyroid hormones.

Diet for Underactive Thyroid and Medication

Hypothyroidism diet is no substitute for thyroid medication. However, you should use diet to supplement your thyroid function. If you have hypothyroidism, you must regularly take the prescribed synthetic thyroid hormone on an empty stomach as suggested by your doctor. Do not take your thyroid medication at the same time as calcium and iron supplements, walnuts, antacids, cottonseed meal, and cholesterol-lowering drugs. You can avoid potential interactions by eating these foods several hours before or after taking thyroid hormone.

Ravneet Kaur
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Ravneet Kaur

A health aficionado herself, Ravneet has been researching and writing on emerging health and wellness issues for over a decade. With a focus on healthy living, she has been an ardent lover of nature, who believes in holistic ways of healing. Her areas of expertise include women’s health, diet and weight management, healthy living, alternative healing, and mindful parenting. She is working with non-profits to spread awareness about healthy eating habits, fitness goals, and lifestyle disorders. Ravneet also blogs at www.parentingguide.com.
Ravneet Kaur
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