If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism it’s important to know what to eat to improve thyroid health. It’s also just as important to be informed of foods that should be avoided. There are some foods that are bad for everyone, but there are a few foods that have specific adverse reactions to those with thyroid disease.
Sugar is one of the causes of leaky gut. Leaky gut leads to inflammation which is linked to raised reverse T3 levels and that makes you more hypothyroid. Inflammation causes joint pain, increases the risk for heart disease, and can cause depression and anxiety.
Overconsumption of sugar also causes spikes in insulin which makes the adrenal gland secrete cortisol. When cortisol levels are too high, thyroid hormone production will be hindered. Between increased chronic inflammation and the decreased production of thyroid hormones, sugar can leave the body dealing with multiple adverse symptoms
Processed food is generally high in sugar and contains artificial ingredients that are used as preservatives, colorants, and to enhance flavor. Our bodies are unable to recognize most of these pre-packaged foods as nutrients for our body which leaves us depleted of essential vitamins and minerals our thyroid needs to function.
Everything that we eat is either helpful or hurtful and it can take years to correct the damage from an unhealthy diet. Opting instead for whole foods from nature will help us to heal and begin to feel our best.
Most people consider cow’s milk as a healthy beverage choice, however dairy sensitivities can appear in a variety of ways including diarrhea, acid reflux, and asthma just to name a few. Most people assume that if they don’t have a dairy allergy then it is safe to consume cow’s milk. However, this is incorrect, because it is very possible to have a dairy sensitivity and not a full dairy allergy.
Cow’s milk contains proteins that are different than those found in human milk. A body with gut permeability issues which is common in hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s patients is very likely to see the milk proteins as foreign invaders. This can lead to the body producing antibodies to protect itself from the protein. Some of the antibodies include the thyroid antibody TPO which is the exact antibody present in a Hashimoto’s thyroiditis diagnosis.
Aside from allergy testing, an elimination diet may be considered if you have recently received a hypothyroid diagnosis. Becoming knowledgeable on the many symptoms of a dairy allergy or sensitivity is important to rule out whether you are sensitive to the cow’s milk.
A list of symptoms includes but is not limited to:
Gluten is a protein found in foods such as wheat, barley, rye and other grains. It may irritate the small intestine which leads to leaky gut. Leaky gut produces tiny holds in the gut that releases gluten and toxins into the bloodstream. The immune system goes into overdrive to protect against these invaders and can attach the thyroid gland.
Gluten has also been found to interfere with the absorption of thyroid medications.
Moderate amounts of caffeine consumption may not cause harm, however overconsumption of caffeine can cause the adrenal glands to release hormones that give us the boost of alertness we crave. When the adrenals are constantly stimulated, it can their function to be impaired which will then affect the thyroid.
The adrenal gland is also responsible for the production and release of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. When cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, the pituitary gland will reduce the hormones that trigger the thyroid to produce the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
Over consumption of caffeine also blocks the absorption of thyroid meds. Keeping caffeine consumption to one beverage a day is best.
Belonging to the Brassicaceae family of plants, cruciferous vegetables offer lots of great benefits including providing cancer fighting abilities, assisting in reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and promoting healthy estrogen levels.
Some common cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, radishes, and turnips.
In hypothyroid patients however these vegetables are considered goitrogenic, which means that they could disrupt thyroid hormone production. Cooking these veggies reduces the goitrogenic properties and allows you to receive the healthy benefits, although keeping these veggies to a minimum is still recommended.
Moderate amounts of alcohol could have a negative influence on thyroid hormone production by causing a mild suppression of T4 and a significant suppression of T3. Alcohol also has a direct toxic effect on thyroid cells themselves by reducing the volume of the thyroid gland. This decrease in volume is then followed by a decline in T3.
Another concern with alcohol is it contains phytoestrogens which may elevate estrogen in the body. High levels of estrogen decrease thyroid hormone production which causes the symptoms of hypothyroidism to be felt.
Most people are aware of the damaging effects that excessive alcohol consumption can have on the liver. What you may not know is that with this liver damage occurs it hinders the detoxification abilities of the liver. The liver must be able to eliminate toxins in the body. When this elimination is stalled, the body can’t convert T4 to T3.
Eliminating or limiting sugar, processed foods, gluten, caffeine, dairy, raw cruciferous vegetables, and alcohol will help you achieve optimal thyroid health. Also learning more about nutrient-dense food that will help achieve optimal thyroid health is critical for true success.
You should consult with your doctor before making major changes to your diet. Working with a specialized thyroid nutritionist at who will help you with a diet plan catered specifically to your health and thyroid condition can be the easiest and most effective way to impact your thyroid condition.
Find inspiration for a healthy way to support your thyroid