The right diet is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true when you’ve been diagnosed with a health condition, such as Hashimoto’s disease. This condition is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, joint pain, muscle weakness and more. Hashimoto’s disease diet is a way of eating that will guide you to the right foods and help you feel healthier day to day. Check out 10 foods to eat and avoid for Hashimoto’s disease.
What is Hasimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease, in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, causing inflammation of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, below your Adam’s apple. It’s responsible for producing hormones that coordinate many of your body’s functions.
Your thyroid regulates your metabolism, growth, temperature and energy. It’s very important to keep your thyroid hormones in balance, as any disturbance can affect your metabolism, body temperature, blood pressure and heart function, menstrual cycle, weight and central nervous system.
Hashimoto’s disease is more common in women than in men and can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, depression and joint pain.
What Are the Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease?
You may not realize you have Hashimoto’s disease for years. You may not notice the signs of the disease at first, as it typically progresses slowly over the years causing chronic thyroid damage. Symptoms generally become more obvious as the condition worsens. You may begin to notice a swelling at the top of your throat, called a goiter. You may be able to feel it in your throat, or it may be difficult to swallow.
The symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease are pretty much the same as hypothyroidism, which is essentially an under-active thyroid gland. These symptoms include feeling cold, dry skin, depression, fatigue and sluggishness, constipation, a puffy face, weight gain, brittle nails, hair loss, joint pain and stiffness, muscle weakness, and enlargement of the tongue.
What Causes Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s disease is caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland. It’s an autoimmune disorder, meaning it’s caused by a dysfunction in your immune system. Instead of protecting your thyroid gland, your immune system attacks it, believing it’s a virus. These immune cells cause hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid), a goiter (enlarged thyroid), or both. If left undetected and untreated, the thyroiditis process can even destroy the entire thyroid.
What Is The Hashimoto’s Disease Diet?
The Hashimoto’s disease diet is a way of eating that can help you eat and feel healthier if you’re struggling with this autoimmune disorder. If you have Hashimoto’s disease, rest assured that the condition can be managed with the right dose of the prescription drug levothyroxine, as well as a healthy diet. Your diet alone cannot cure the disease, but it can help you prevent weight gain, reduce inflammation and feel more energized.
Although there is no specific diet for Hashimoto’s disease, the best diet for this condition is one rich in whole, unprocessed foods, including high-fibre fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; healthy fats; and lean proteins. There are also certain nutrients that are key for those dealing with Hashimoto’s disease to help you feel better and healthier overall.
Selenium has been shown to reduce the antibodies attacking the thyroid, caused by Hashimoto’s disease. The thyroid has the highest selenium content in the entire body, so upping your selenium intake can be effective for those living with the disease. Foods like eggs, pork, Brazil nuts, beef and chicken are high in selenium, but those with Hashimoto’s may be advised to get their selenium from a supplement to ensure the correct dosage.
Iodine is crucial to the production of thyroid hormone in your body, but you have to be careful with this one. Too little iodine can cause goiters, while too much iodine can make hypothyroidism worse. You can naturally add iodine to your diet with foods like seafood, eggs, prunes and table salt. Foods like seaweed and kelp are packed with iodine, so be careful not to eat too much of these.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a vital part of a healthy, functioning immune system. Certain studies have found that people with Hashimoto’s disease have low levels of Vitamin D. Foods containing vitamin D are limited, so your best bet is a vitamin D supplement, although salmon and egg yolks are two foods that contain high amounts of the vitamin.
Zinc is an important element in the production of thyroid hormone, and zinc supplements have been found to increase thyroid hormone levels in people with goiters. Foods such as oysters, shellfish, chicken, lentils and beans are also rich in zinc.
Certain diets have also been found to help those with Hashimoto’s disease. The paleo diet, for instance, eliminates foods that can trigger an autoimmune reaction such as dairy, grains and highly processed foods. There are also many anti-inflammatory benefits of the paleo diet with foods such as lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds as the stars of the diet.
The gluten-free diet can also be helpful for those with Hashimoto’s disease. Foods containing gluten can trigger an auto-immune response, resulting in inflammation and tissue destruction. If you want to try a gluten-free diet, avoid foods like wheat, barley, pastries, cookies, pizza, pasta and bread.
Vegetarian and vegan diets have also been found to help those with Hashimoto’s disease. Neither of these diets contain meat, and both have been found to help improve the autoimmune response involved in the disease. They also reduce inflammation and improve gut health.
Remember to avoid eating any food within one to two hours of taking thyroid medication as it can interfere with the way the medication is absorbed in the body.
10 Foods To Eat and Avoid on The Hashimoto’s Disease Diet
Foods to Eat
3. High fibre carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans and legumes
4. Lean proteins like chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, tofu, beans and nuts
5. Healthy fats including salmon, nuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and avocados
Foods to Avoid
1. Gluten foods including wheat, pasta, bread, pizza, pastries, and cookies
2. Grains like quinoa, oats, millet and buckwheat
3. Refined sugars including breakfast cereals, sugary drinks, dressings, sauces, chocolate and candy
4. Processed foods like processed meats, microwave meals, cakes, canned vegetables, granola bars and margarine
5. Saturated and trans fats such as baked goods, hot dogs, bacon, French fries, ice cream
If you notice you’re having symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease, it’s best to get checked by your doctor. Changing your diet, along with taking the proper medication can be an absolute life changer!
This post contains affiliate links.
Did you find this post on Hashimoto’s disease diet helpful? If so, we’d love if you shared it on Pinterest!
If you want to see more helpful diets, make sure to follow our Health Board on Pinterest!