Expert SaysPhysical Health

The perfect diet to tackle hypothyroidism

3 Mins read

The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland placed at the base of your neck. A major gland in the endocrine system, the thyroid gland is responsible for a variety of functions  such as cell repair, regulation of moods, brain development, body temperature, metabolism, cholesterol levels, energy, and skin health. 

In India, irregular thyroid function affects about 1 in 3 people.* 

So what is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition when not enough of the thyroid hormone is made – making it an underactive thyroid. However, with a combination of the right diet, lifestyle, and medication, it can be managed to reduce any uncomfortable symptoms.  

Is there a perfect diet for it?

While there is no “perfect” diet to address hypothyroidism, there are plenty of foods,  vitamins, and minerals that support a healthy thyroid function. Iodine is particularly  important in a hypothyroidism diet, foods high in selenium can prevent oxidative damage to thyroid issues, and eating foods high in Vitamin A can ensure you don’t raise  your blood sugar. 

Eating the right foods will not only make you feel better but more energized too. You can’t cure hypothyroidism by changing what you eat but adhering to a diet can help your thyroid function properly and mitigate your symptoms. 

Drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses a day) and make sure you have healthy oils in your kitchen such as olive oil and avocado oil to prevent inflammation. 

Here are a few food groups, minerals, and vitamins you should focus on getting to function at your optimal. 

Iodine 

The body requires iodine to help produce thyroid hormones. As the body cannot make iodine, it is important to get it from one’s diet. 

  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Fish
  • Seaweed
Selenium 

The mineral selenium is needed for thyroid hormone production, and helps protect the thyroid from damage caused by oxidative stress.

● Brazil nuts 

● Sunflower seeds 

● Cottage cheese 

● Brown rice 

● Shrimp 

● Yellowfin tuna 

● Halibut 

Vitamin A 

Vitamin A helps to reduce any inflammation, regulate thyroid hormone metabolism, and supports the pituitary gland. 

● Carrots 

● Sweet Potatoes 

● Spinach 

Zinc 

Zinc is crucial for proper thyroid hormone metabolism.

● Whole Grain Varieties 

● Shellfish: Oysters, Crab, Lobster

Fiber 

Fiber helps to improve our digestion, prevents constipation, and is beneficial for our gut health. Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of polyphenols which helps to  reduce any inflammation in the body. 

● Spinach 

● White Potatoes 

● Beetroot 

● Broccoli 

● Strawberries 

● Banana 

● Oranges 

● Apple 

● Pears 

Protein 

Getting protein from lean sources will manage your hunger and fullness levels and  support your metabolism.  

Non-Vegetarian  

● Chicken Breast 

● Turkey Breast 

● White Fish 

Vegetarian  

● Quinoa 

● Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)  

● Seeds (hemp, chia, flax)  

● Nuts (almonds, macadamia, cashews)  

● Nutritional Yeast 

● Spirulina 

Fats 

It is important to reduce your intake of “bad” fats such as saturated and trans fats as  these can contribute to heart diseases. These types of fats are inflammatory and should  be avoided when possible. Instead choose fats which include monounsaturated and  polyunsaturated fats which are more heart-healthy. 

● Avocado  

● Cheese  

● Dark Chocolate 

● Fatty Fish: Salmon, Trout, Mackerel, Herring, and Tuna

Should one make any lifestyle changes?

While your diet and medication alone won’t cure hypothyroidism, positive health  promoting behaviors such as movement and stress management will help manage your  thyroid function and mitigate symptoms.  

Movement 

Managing your thyroid health isn’t complete without focusing on physical activity because joint pain, anxiety, and disturbed sleep often accompanies hypothyroidism. Exercises such as walking and yoga are shown to manage those symptoms, and  decrease fatigue by incorporating movement into your routine.  

Stress Management 

While stress does not cause thyroid dysfunction, it can aggravate those who are already  diagnosed with hypothyroidism. When your body is stressed it releases cortisol which causes your thyroid gland to work harder to produce enough of the thyroid hormone, and weaken your immune system. Practices such as breathwork, meditation, and yoga should be included to combat any feelings of stress and anxiety.  

Hypothyroidism presents unique challenges due to the symptoms, however rather than focusing on a particular diet, it’s important to eat nutritious foods that make you feel good mentally and physically. Get adequate sleep to feel restful and alert, focus on  gentle movement, and practice techniques to keep your stress at bay. 

Our experts are constantly working to provide you with authentic content that can help you make informed decisions about your health. Find more expert contents on our blog, right here. You can also read articles on Lifestyle and Nutrition right here

*The Economic Times.  

Maneka Grover
1 posts

About author
Maneka Grover is a certified Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition based in New York. She is passionate about helping her clients eat intuitively by listening to their body and ending the trend of dieting for good. Maneka believes in the philosophy of nourishing a positive relationship with food, as healthy eating is simple and possible if you trust your body. Maneka provides one-on-one coaching to individuals based anywhere in the world.
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