Foods to Avoid with Hypothyroidism

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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.

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 complete 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.

Many suggest that cooking them adequately removes the goitrogens, or at least a large majority of them. For example cooking goitrogenic vegetables like broccoli and sprouts until the ‘crunch’ has gone, can indicate that the goitrogens have also 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 your diet. 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, too.

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 avoid it.

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

Gluten is said to trigger the same autoimmune reactions that cause you to have Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism) in the first place, since supposedly the cells of your thyroid are similar to the make up of gluten, and it confuses your body, increasing inflammation and antibodies as an attack on your thyroid is launched, destroying more thyroid tissue, and so worse/extra hypothyroid symptoms occur. As a result, many Hashimoto’s patients eliminate gluten from their diet, and see good results.

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.

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Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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Rachel Hill, Thyroid Patient Advocate, blogger and author, has Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites and has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and also contributed the foreword to Emily Kyle’s The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook.

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