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Diet For Thyroid Disease

diet for thyroid disease
A few years back I was feeling tired more than usual and couldn’t figure it out. I also noticed that my hair was falling out, my skin was dry, and I felt cold often. So when I went for my yearly checkup, I asked my doctor to screen me for hypothyroidism. As you may have guessed, the tests came back positive.
 

My doctor prescribed Levothroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone, but I wasn’t so keen on taking it for LIFE! And, it didn’t seem like it was addressing the root cause of my low thyroid.

So, almost immediately I began researching the best diet for thyroid disease as a starting place to help get my thyroid back on track. I felt if I caught it early enough, I might be able to reverse it or even completely cure the disorder.

 
While there are a variety of medical and natural remedies for thyroid disorders, eating the proper diet for thyroid disease is the first lifestyle change you should make.
 
With the right foods, you can not only prevent certain thyroid conditions from developing, but your diet can help you to heal as well. This report lays out the best diet for thyroid disease including foods to eat, foods to avoid, and superfoods for thyroid health. 

What Is The Thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. Its part of the endocrine system and its job is to release hormones that control your metabolism.

The main thyroid conditions include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, and Graves disease.

 

These health conditions affect:

  • Body temperature
  • Energy level
  • Weight
  • Muscle strength
  • Cholesterol
  • Sleeping patterns
  • Concentration
  • Memory
  • Heart rate

Symptoms of a Low Thyroid

  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Muscle or joint problems that are slow to heal
  • High cholesterol despite having a good diet
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Depression or sadness
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Irregular menses
  • Low sex drive
  • Problems with fertility

Symptoms of a High Thyroid

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Nervousness, anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Rapid pulse
  • Infertility

diet for thyroid disease

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Diet For Thyroid Disease

Before we have a look at the nutrition and diet for thyroid disease, we need to look at your digestion. In Ayurveda, you always start with the health of your gut.
 
Because even if you are eating the perfect diet, it won’t matter if your digestion is weak and you are not breaking down and absorbing the nutrients. So, it’s essential to make sure you optimize your digestive fire.
 
You can find some useful strategies for improving your digestion here.

Your Thyroid Needs Nutrition

First, let’s look at the foods you should eat from a nutritional perspective. To treat a thyroid condition, you need to cut out problematic foods and increase nutrient-dense healing foods.

Antioxidants

Make sure you get plenty of antioxidants through fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are going to help the thyroid gland be as healthy as possible.
Berries, especially blueberries are high in antioxidants. For this reason, they should be at the top of your list.
 
Other fruits and veggies that contain a good amount of antioxidants are:
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries.

Selenium

Selenium is a type of enzyme that can help improve the way your thyroid hormones are functioning. This can help prevent and reduce the symptoms caused by thyroid conditions.

You can find Selenium in nuts and seeds, particularly with Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds. To reduce your salt content, try to get the unsalted and raw version.

Tyrosine

As far as amino acids go, tyrosine is a good one to have in your body. You can get this amino acid from most types of meat and fish, cheese, eggs, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. It is also in soy, but if you have hypothyroidism, you should cut back on your soy content.

Calcium

It is also good to have more calcium in your body, not just for your bones but for your thyroid gland as well. If your body digests dairy well, you can drink organic milk. But, if not, sardines and salmon are also a solid source of calcium.

Lean Protein

Adding more lean protein to your diet like free-range turkey will support your thyroid. If you have hypothyroidism, lack of energy is likely a major side effect, which lean protein can help with. But, if you are losing weight from hyperthyroidism, having high amounts of protein can help you too.

Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for many different conditions, including thyroid disease. They help to keep your body healthy and are great if you have a thyroid problem.
 
Some natural food sources that have omega-3 fatty acids are:
  • Flaxseeds
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Tofu
Now let’s look at specific super foods that will support Thyroid Disease.

Superfoods For Thyroid Conditions

If you want a healthy thyroid, it is a good idea to eat as many superfoods as you can. Superfoods are grains, fruits, veggies and herbs that have a higher-than-normal amount of nutrients. In other words, they are superfoods because of how healthy and nutritious they are for you.
 
But certain superfoods also happen to be especially beneficial if you have a thyroid condition. Here are some of the top foods you should consume on a regular basis for thyroid health.

Coconut

diet for thyroid disease

Coconut on its own is a superfood due to the high amount of nutrients it contains. Not only is it good for your thyroid, but it is excellent for general health.
 
Coconut oil is one way to get more of this superfood into your diet.
 
Although coconut oil contains saturated fat, it turns out that it’s a healthy saturated fat and highly beneficial.
 
Research says that the naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil has some remarkable values:
  • Regulates metabolism
  • Helps to control blood sugar
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Boosts brain function
  • Supports proper thyroid function
You can replace any other oil with coconut oil in your recipes. Another method is to substitute regular butter with coconut butter. It is a little sweeter, but it is also a lot better for you.

Leafy Green Vegetables

diet for thyroid disease

You need to eat plenty of veggies with a thyroid condition. They should be an essential part of your diet. The nutrients and phytochemicals are your primary defense against disease.
 
Leafy greens include any lettuce, such as romaine, iceberg, cooked spinach, and kale. These greens have a lot of vitamins and minerals that help your body’s functions, including the thyroid gland. These include magnesium, B vitamins, and amino acids.
 
Make sure you include plenty of nutrient-dense leafy green vegetables every day.

Root Vegetables

diet for thyroid disease

You may eat all root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, etc.,

Fermented Vegetables

diet for thyroid disease

Fermented vegetables are rich in probiotics and healthy acids, so eat them daily. Sauerkraut is an excellent choice. Chose a brand prepared in a traditional way that does not have preservative like sodium benzoate.

Cruciferous Veggies

diet for thyroid disease

This is a tricky one because if you have an overactive thyroid, such as with hyperthyroidism, you want to eat more cruciferous vegetables.
 
Cruciferous vegetables include:
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Rutabaga
  • Cabbage
  • Bok choy
  • Turnips
  • Kohlrabi

    These vegetables, especially broccoli and cauliflower, help decrease the production of thyroid hormones.

     
    But, if you have an underactive thyroid, you want to avoid the raw version of cruciferous vegetables. So, make sure you cook these vegetables because they are goitrogens.

diet for thyroid disease

Sprouts

diet for thyroid disease

Clover, broccoli sprouts, alfalfa sprouts offer high nutrition and phytochemicals. It is highly recommended you eat them often.

Fruit

diet for thyroid disease

Fruit is a wonderful source of phytochemicals. But because it’s much higher in sugar than vegetables, aim to eat no more than two servings per day.

Peaches and strawberries are two potential goitrogens, so be sure you don’t have a sensitivity or reaction to them.

Meat and Poultry

diet for thyroid disease

At least once per week have grass-fed, organic or pasture-raised meats and free-range poultry.

Bone Broth

diet for thyroid disease

Rich in minerals, amino acids, and gelatin, bone broth is very healing for the gut and will support the health of your thyroid. You can learn how to make healthy bone broth here.

Fish

diet for thyroid disease

Wild-caught fish, especially salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel, are all suggested.
 
Salmon is a superfood due to its high amount of selenium, amino acids, B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium. It is low in fat and calories, high in protein, and very easy to cook. Sardines are one of the world’s healthiest foods with a wealth of key vitamins and minerals.  
 
Seafood, in general, is excellent for you due to the omega-3 fatty acids, but wild-caught salmon is one of the best types of fish you can eat. Make sure the fish you eat is not farm-raised.

Gluten-free Grains

diet for thyroid disease

Most people with any thyroid condition should be careful about how much gluten they have. Gluten is in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. These grains are in bread, bagels, pasta, cereals, and flour.
 
It’s best that you reduce how much wheat and other grains you consume. Instead, look at grains without gluten, such as with quinoa, millet, white rice, amaranth and buckwheat and couscous which are all recommended grains.

Dairy Products

diet for thyroid disease

Another common food trigger for the thyroid is dairy. The most common reactions are bloating, diarrhea and acid reflux, but there are other related symptoms like asthma, mucus, postnasal drip, and skin issues.  The thing is unless you go off dairy for at least 2-3 weeks, it’s impossible to know if you have a sensitivity or not.

Ghee (butter with the milk solids removed) is an excellent fat option as well as Miyoko’s Vegan Butter with organic coconut oil and cashews. You can find more healthy milk alternatives here.

Eggs

diet for thyroid disease

Believe it or not, organic or pastured eggs are also considered a thyroid superfood. This is because of the whole egg, when you include the yolk, contains vitamins B and D, choline, and protein. The yolk is the most nutritious part. These nutrients are healing for your thyroid gland.
 
Have more eggs at breakfast time, add an egg to your burger at lunch, or have salads with hard-boiled eggs. There are tons of ways to incorporate more of them into your diet.

Nuts & Seeds

diet for thyroid disease

All nuts and seeds are good choices except for peanuts. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkins seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed, Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews. If you have difficulty digesting nuts, you can soak them or sprout them.
 

Brazil nuts are another superfood when you have a thyroid condition. Brazil nuts have selenium, which helps with your thyroid, skin, body weight, and liver.

Chocolate

diet for thyroid disease

Dark chocolate has magnesium and zinc and is a rich source of polyphenols which are beneficial for cardiovascular health. Aim for at least 70 percent cocoa. You can have up to two ounces per day.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

diet for thyroid disease

If you’re unable to eat fish once per week, take cod liver oil. Processed at cold temperatures, fermented cod liver oil is prepared in a traditional fermentation process. It is rich in vitamins A, D, and K also has omega-3 fatty acids. Because FCLO is food, it is safe for long-term use, unlike fish oil supplements. It’s available in capsule or liquid form.

Spices and Seasonings

diet for thyroid disease

Use spices and seasonings whenever you can because they all enhance digestion, which is essential for healing. Include apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, balsamic vinegar. Use a gluten-free soy sauce or one that is coconut-based.

Foods to Avoid If You Have a Thyroid Disease

Now that you know a little more about the foods and nutrients that support your thyroid condition, you need to know about the foods you should avoid.

Soy

While there are no strict guidelines about the exact amount of soy you eat, it’s a good idea to reduce your intake. Fermented soy like miso is the only exception because it’s a good source of vitamin K2.
 
Soy can have a negative effect on your thyroid gland, particularly when you already have an underactive thyroid.
 
Talk to your doctor if you have other types of thyroid conditions to determine if you still need to reduce how much soy you have.

Sugary Foods

When you have a lot of sugar in your diet, it only leads to lots of calories without having any nutritional value. You may already struggle with weight management if you have hypothyroidism… So adding more calories with a lower metabolic rate is only going to make it that much difficult to lose weight.
 
Occasional sweets with natural sweeteners are acceptable:
 
Avoid white sugar and artificial sweeteners because they upset your microbiome and will cause you to gain unnecessary weight.
  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame
  • Potassium

Fatty and Fried Foods

Like sugar, fattening foods or anything that fried is adding a lot of fat and calories without nutrition. These foods are unnecessary and make it harder to control your weight when you have a thyroid condition. Try to avoid anything fried or made with a lot of oil, mayonnaise, or butter.

Corn

The next food you should cut back on is corn. Most corn is genetically modified, processed, nutrient-poor, and high in carbohydrates and sugar. This includes fresh corn and all products made from cornmeal or corn flour. These would be foods like polenta, popcorn, corn chips, and corn tortillas.

Peanuts

Ayurveda considers peanuts poison. They are highly allergenic, and often genetically modified. Peanuts are not nuts anyway. They are a legume.

Oils

You also want to cut all bad fats from your diet. This includes:
  • Transfats
  • vegetable seed oils,
  • Margarine
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Canola oil
  • Safflower oil 
  • Cottonseed oil.

Tips For Creating Meals

With this information, you are ready to start putting together balanced meals. You can use your Ayurvedic body type to further customize your thyroid diet. This will result in the diet that is most optimal for you personally. To find out your unique body type is, find out here:

If you are new to healthy eating, these tips are going to help you take this advice and turn it into some healthy meals to support your thyroid health.
 
The most important part of your diet is vegetables and lean protein (if you eat meat).
 
Have one handful of healthy grains like white rice or quinoa per meal.
 
Now add a good fat such as ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.,
 
Things like cheese, sauces, and dressings tend to add the most calories and fat. Instead of covering your salad with dressing, keep it on the side and just dip your veggies and lettuce into it. That way, you only eat as much as you need to enjoy the salad.

How Much to Eat

More important than the amount you eat, what really matters is the quality of food you consume. Pay attention to the signal of fullness, if you are not already doing so. The recommendation is to eat until you are about two-thirds full. 
 
With these simple tips and tricks, you will be eating foods that are healing for your thyroid and avoiding those that cause it to act up.

Conclusion of Diet for Thyroid Disease

Thyroid imbalances contribute to fatigue, weight gain, low moods and sex drive and problems with concentration. And pharmaceutical drugs don’t address the root cause of low thyroid. This means you are likely to experience health issues that may become harder to treat in time.

 So, what’s the solution? To solve thyroid condition, you need to get to the root of the imbalance. Fortunately, Ayurveda provides a holistic understanding of the underlying causes of thyroid disorders.
 
In his new course, Ayurveda and Thyroid Health, Harvard trained internal medicine specialist, Dr. Akil teaches a natural common sense approach to get long-term healing.
 
His course combines modern integrative and natural medicine, so you have a path to heal your thyroid with the right nutrition, herbs, detox, and lifestyle practices
 

I recently took his online course, and it was an enormous help! In fact, it was 100 times more useful regarding healing my thyroid than I received from 5 appointments with my primary care doc! 

I feel more energetic, my skin has improved, and my hair is no longer falling out. I’m scheduled to have blood tests done again next month, but judging by the way, I’m feeling I’m confident my blood tests will come back healthy.

You’ve just learned about the best diet for thyroid disease. If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and click on the banner below. Then pat yourself on the back, because you’re now on your way to healing your thyroid disorder.

diet for thyroid disease



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About the author

Jackie Parker

6 Comments

  • This is all so informative, and I love the layout, the subheadings, the images…and well, just about everything 😉
    Although I don’t have an autoimmune illness, I can see the benefits of adopting such a healthy diet lifestyle.
    I personally know 2 people who have Hashimoto’s – my sister-in-law and an older friend of mine. Both have turned their backs on conventional medication (pharmaceutical drugs) and are taking a holistic approach to dealing with the root of all their symptoms.
    I’m going to share your page with them because there are some things you highlighted above that they don’t know about.

    Thank you for taking the time to write all the content above.

    Judi

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to read the post, Judi… and I do hope the information will help your family and friends. I suffered from hypothyroidism for a few years before I found the information to help me, so I hope to spare others! Blessings to you! 

  • I’ve had thyroid disease for most of my life. I take medication but I also should be more mindful of nutrition and how to nourish my gland. I’d heard of some of these like coconut, and avoiding soy, but I hadn’t heard of selenium being good and corn being bad. thanks for the heads up and great info!

  • My two youngest daughters (10 and 11) have Type 1 Diabetes and Thyroid disorder. Their diagnosis’ has changed our lives!! The information on this website is SO helpful. The food recommended are also diabetic friendly. Thank you!

    • Dearest Keri, Thanks for taking the time to acknowledge. We’re so pleased you found the information useful. Take good care always

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