Foods to Avoid with Hypothyroidism

The more I read (in articles and books) about hypothyroidism, the more I understand how big a part diet can play in the disease and helping our symptoms and recovery. Foods to watch your intake of, particularly if you have thyroid problems, revolve around soy-related products and ingredients, as well as certain cruciferous vegetables, nuts and fruits. These are listed below. I’ve already explained going gluten free in a past post, and now I’m going to explore goitrogens and what I have learnt about them from various sources.

It is reported by Stop The Thyroid Madness, Mary Shoman and Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield (in his book The Great Thyroid Scandal..), that if consumed in excess and repeatedly, goitrogenic foods can be problematic for thyroid function, and even lead or contribute to the formation of a goitre (an enlarged thyroid) in some cases.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean abstinence from goitrogenic food.

Goitrogenic foods are reported to inhibit the body’s ability to use iodine and so block the process where iodine becomes T4 and T3. Goitrogens are also reported to then disrupt the conversion of T4 to T3, which obviously isn’t good for our hypothyroid symptoms and overall thyroid function!

The general consensus is to have goitrogenic foods in moderation. Generally, it seems that cruciferous vegetables are only goitrogenic in their raw state. Sources like STTM, Izabella Wentz and Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield do suggest that cooking them adequately removes the goitrogens, or at least a large majority of them. Some sources suggest that cooking goitrogenic vegetables like broccoli and sprouts until the ‘crunch’ has gone, indicates that the goitrogens have gone. Whilst consuming fermented and cooked cruciferous vegetables is preferred, occasionally eating small amounts of them raw, should not aggravate autoimmune thyroid conditions.

The key is moderation really. Eaten from time to time likely won’t do much harm, but if you’re eating a lot of these daily, it’s best to re-evaluate. You’re probably best to eat small amounts a day, rather than binge eat them a few times a week.

Soy is a substance that you should think about avoiding completely.

Soy is a goitrogen that blocks the activity of the TPO enzyme, which has therefore been linked to the development of autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism. A lot of thyroid patients therefore due to avoid it.

And if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, seriously consider gluten, too. 

Goitrogenic foods include:

  • Brassicas, e.g. brussel sprouts and cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choy
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cassava
  • Canola Oil
  • Choy sum
  • Kale
  • Mustard
  • Radishes (Horseradish)
  • Soy and soy milk (soy ‘anything’ really)
  • Tofu
  • Turnips
  • Pine Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Millet
  • Peaches (mildly)
  • Rapeseed
  • Pears (mildly)
  • Soy
  • Spinach (mildly)
  • Strawberries (mildly)
  • Sweet potatoes (mildly)

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given, but more reading and references can also be found at:

Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

Rachel is a Thyroid Patient Advocate and Expert with Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018, and is a qualified Diet and Nutritional Advisor, also currently studying for relevant qualifications and certificates in Life Coaching, Motivational Speaking, Reflexology and more. She has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community.

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