What to Eat When Managing with Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits near the base of the neck. It is responsible for every metabolic function in the body. When the thyroid gland receives a signal, it releases thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. Occasionally, the thyroid doesn’t release those hormones, despite the signal – this is the most common type of hypothyroidism.

Most of the time, this is due to an autoimmune disease where your immune system begins to mistakenly attack your thyroid gland. Other causes can include an iodine deficiency, a genetic disorder or medications. The cause can sometimes be hard to pinpoint. Thyroid hormones are important, they control growth, repair and metabolism – our metabolisms is vital in the way your body functions. Often hypothyroidism is controlled by medication which you can find here:

However, diet is also incredibly important in managing hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is ten times more likely to affect women than men and it can also manifest in weight gain and depression, therefore, diet is vital. Although changing diet alone isn’t enough to restore normal thyroid hormone levels; avoiding some foods and eating more of others can help the absorption of the hormones present in your medication.

Many common foods and supplements contain compounds that interfere with how the thyroid functions. Studies suggest that soybeans and foods rich in soy can inhibit the activity of an enzyme that makes thyroid hormones. A study found that women who consumed an excess of soy were three times more likely to develop hypothyroidism. As mentioned above, hypothyroidism can be down to an iodine deficiency, it would follow that iodine rich food would then help. This is true to a point but too much iodine can further suppress the thyroid gland. Iron and calcium supplements can alter the effectiveness of many thyroid medications.

High fibre diets are often recommended, although eating too much fibre immediately after taking thyroid medications can interfere with the absorption. Ideally, you should wait two hours after taking your medication before eating anything rich in fibre. This includes cruciferous vegetables that are rich in fibre such as broccoli, cabbage or spinach. Avoid foods like these around the time you take your medication. If you take your medication immediately after waking up this should allow enough time. Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can also influence the effectiveness of the medication.

Foods rich in nutrients are known to improve your health overall and can also benefit your thyroid gland. Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, tomatoes and peppers can improve your general health and also help your thyroid. B vitamins are also thought to be beneficial. Small amounts of selenium found in sunflower seeds or Brazil nuts are needed for the enzymes that make thyroid hormones to work properly. The amino acid tyrosine is used in the production of T3 and T4, good sources of this are found in meat, dairy and legumes. You can also find supplements but you should consult a doctor before taking them.