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Helpful Foods for Hypothyroidism

Foods That Help hypothyroidism
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Originally published on 17th October 2017
Last updated on 17th December 2018

The more I learn about hypothyroidism, the more I understand how big a part diet can play in the disease and helping our symptoms and recovery. Especially since gaining my qualifications in Diet and Nutrition.

However, we often see infographics and articles about foods that we should be conscious of consuming when we have hypothyroidism, such as goitrogens, soy and gluten, but what about foods that are helpful to us?

Gluten-Free Food in Spain

Related Article: What is The Best Diet for Hypothyroidism?

And an important note: as someone who personally has a history of eating disorders / disordered eating myself, I am aware that the information in this article could be triggering if you’ve previously / are currently restricting foods. Do know that I will never suggest that any of us HAVE to cut out ANY food types, so I present this info for each of us to make that decision ourselves if we still have ongoing thyroid symptoms or struggles to manage the condition.

Some people may begin removing one or two foods from their diet and enter down a slippery slope in to disordered eating behaviours, so if this is you, and you start to feel anxious about food or much of your time and energy is preoccupied with this, please seek out support from a trained professional and be cautious about altering your diet. Disordered eating needs to be taken more seriously and I don’t wish to contribute to more people struggling with this.

I’m not a fan of massively restrictive diets which can encourage disordered eating behaviours, and thus, create more stress which, in turn, isn’t great for our health either.

Fish

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as wild salmon, trout, tuna, or sardines make this food an excellent part of any hypothyroid patient’s diet. Hypothyroidism can increase the risk for heart disease as a result of higher levels of LDL, the ‘bad’ type of cholesterol, so fish rich in omega 3 can lower the risk for heart disease. Fish can also be a source of selenium, which is most concentrated in the thyroid and needed for optimal thyroid health.

Healthy Fats

Like Omega-3, other healthy fats such as olive oil, butter and coconut oil help to keep cholesterol at healthy levels, in order to produce the hormones our bodies need. Coconut oil also reduces inflammation, raises body temperature and gives the body immediate, usable energy!

Brazil Nuts 

Also high in selenium if you’re able to confirm the nutritional value and content, brazil nuts can help you to get a good amount for optimal thyroid health, and are good to snack on and balance your blood sugar. Knowing the amount of selenium in them is often guess work, though.

Beans, such as Kidney Beans

Due to their protein content, beans can be a great source of sustained energy, which, if you live with hypothyroidism, you may be lacking. They’re also high in fibre, which can be helpful if you suffer with constipation, a common side effect of hypothyroidism. You can use them in stews, curries or even salads.

Fibre-rich Foods

Constipation is a common symptom of hypothyroidism and foods rich in fibre can help this. They can also help balance out wobbly blood sugar which is often coupled with Hashimoto’s and help you feel fuller. Just make sure not to eat loads of fibre-rich foods near taking your thyroid medication as this can affect absorption.

Bone Broth 

Bone broth encourages a healthy gut which in turn helps with nutrient absorption – many people with hypothyroidism will also find themselves low in vitamins such as D, B12 or iron. Bone broth can also help with joint pain and gives the immune system a boost as it is full of so much goodness.

Seaweed and Kelp

They are high in iodine and without enough the thyroid gland can swell, also causing the amount of thyroid hormone in your body to drop. They provide other trace minerals too, including iron, calcium, and potassium. It is possible to consume too much iodine, which can also lead to hypothyroidism, so enjoy in moderation.

Fermented Foods

When hypothyroidism is autoimmune, you should also consider addressing gut health.

A good supply of healthy gut bacteria supports overall good health and or me, improving my gut health was a huge part of improving my thyroid health.

Fermented foods such as  yogurt and kefir help to continuously stock your gut with beneficial bacteria, resulting in a stronger immune system and overall better health.

Others

Cinnamon, ginger, garlic, peppermint, chamomile and turmeric are anti inflammatories, which can help to control your thyroid condition and promote better health. Many add these to food or take in supplemental/tablet form.

For some autoimmune patients, such as those with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, they may find that some items on this list are inflammatory. Adapting your diet and lifestyle to what is best for you and what works in your situation is important.

This is a guide only.

Do you make it a conscious effort to eat well?

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

About Author

Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".

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