Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. This gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate your body's energy use. If you live with Hashimoto's, you know how frustrating the associated autoimmune symptoms can be.
Common symptoms of autoimmune disease like Hashimoto's include:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Abdominal pain or digestive issues
- Recurring fever
- Swollen glands
Fortunately, many foods can reduce inflammation and help relieve some of the joint pain associated with Hashimoto's disease. Research even shows that diet has an impact on the severity of symptoms and quality of life.
Foods to eat for joint pain with Hashimoto's
Also called oily fish, fatty fish like albacore tuna, salmon, herring, sardines, and trout are an excellent source of two of the three more important omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These omega-3's appear to support joint pain and stiffness associated with several inflammatory conditions.
How to use fatty fish:
Try broiling, grilling, or steaming these fish. We like roasting whole sardines with olive oil, salt, and lemon on the grill, or wrapping canned albacore tuna and avocado in a lettuce wrap.
Ginger is a flowering plant whose root is often a condiment in food and beverages. It also has many medicinal purposes due to its rich phytochemistry. In addition to potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties, ginger supports digestive health, degenerative disorders, and may even show cancer preventative activity. Research shows that ginger can reduce joint pain in several inflammatory conditions.
How to use ginger:
You might try adding grated fresh ginger to breads or muffins; combining with lemon and honey for marinating your fish; or adding fresh ginger, salt, and pepper to your soup.
Turmeric is a yellow spice often found in cuisines in countries like Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. It is also historically used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine practices as an anti-inflammatory treatment. Turmeric is a relative of ginger—both part of the family Zingiberaceae—though they have different useful compounds. Research shows that the bioactive compound in turmeric called curcumin supports several inflammatory conditions. More research is needed to understand if curcumin is more effective as a preventative measure or as treatment.
How to use turmeric:
Ground turmeric is available in the spice section of your local grocery store. You might try blending 1-2 teaspoons into your smoothies; adding 1-2 teaspoons into a soup recipe; sauteing vegetables in oil with 1-2 teaspoons; or stirring ¼ teaspoon into your tea.
Cold-pressed olive oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids to show powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that the natural anti-inflammatory compound in extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil called oleocanthal can have ibuprofen-like effects. Consuming olive oil may help joint pain in some inflammatory conditions.
How to use olive oil:
To make olive oil part of your regular diet, try drizzling it over salad or as part of your salad dressing; use it to marinate fish or vegetables; or replace butter with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip for bread.
Fruits like berries and pomegranates are excellent sources of bioactive compounds like polyphenolic flavonoids that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates may reduce pain in some inflammatory conditions.
How to use berries:
You can eat these fruits on their own as a delicious snack; add a handful to your morning smoothie; or sprinkle them on top of a bowl of salad or greek yogurt.
Foods NOT to eat if you experience joint pain with Hashimoto's
Sugar informs your body to release chemicals called cytokines that can initiate the inflammation process. The American Heart Association recommends that men limit themselves to 36 grams of sugar per day and 25 grams for women.
Eat less high sugar fruits that spike blood sugar, eat more low sugar fruits for balanced energy, and check nutrition labels to make the most informed choice.
A healthy diet requires a balance of omega-3s and omega-6s. However, our diets often contain up to 25x more omega-6 fatty acids, which may promote inflammation than omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation.
Opt for olive or flaxseed oils instead of corn, safflower, or soybean oils.
Research shows that a gluten-free diet may support autoimmune symptoms related to Hashimoto's thyroiditis. However, suppose you don't want or need to go gluten-free. In that case, it is advantageous to avoid refined carbohydrates that have most of their fiber removed. These refined carbs may drive inflammation.
Instead, opt for delicious, whole grains like buckwheat grain, wholemeal wheat, or rye bread.
A note from Paloma Health
These lists are far from exhaustive, and many foods can offer relief from joint pain with Hashimoto's. Indeed, many lifestyle and nutritional factors play a role in thyroid symptoms and severity. Paloma Health provides you the opportunity to work with a thyroid nutritionist to determine nutritional status for optimal thyroid health.