If you’re feeling tired, weak or irritable, it could be a sign that you have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism happens when the body lacks ample thyroid hormones, which are responsible for regulating your mood, metabolism, energy levels, heart rate and more. Your thyroid is a key part of your hormonal system, which affects almost every cell in your body.
Many people are unaware they have hypothyroidism and are living with symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. That’s why the proper nutrition for hypothyroidism is so important. There are certain foods you should eat (or avoid) that will help get your metabolism back on track!
Fatigue, weakness and irritability aren’t the only signs of hypothyroidism. Other symptoms include dry hair and skin, weight gain, hair loss, muscle cramps, depression, and memory loss. Low thyroid function can be linked to environmental toxins, chronic stress, inflammation and nutritional deficiency, and with each of these seen as big individual issues on their own, it’s easy to see how some people don’t even realize they’re living with hypothyroidism.
It’s amazing how what we put (or don’t put) in our bodies can have such a huge impact on our well-being. By making a few changes, you can boost your low thyroid and metabolism and live a healthier, more energetic lifestyle. Don’t ignore the signs of hypothyroidism, and if you find out you have the condition, take a look at what you should eat and what you should avoid!
Nutrition for Hypothyroidism: What Foods Should I Eat?
Almost all fruits are beneficial to eat if you have hypothyroidism. Fruits like blueberries, raspberries, cherries and mangoes are rich in antioxidants, and citrus fruits, and kiwis are loaded with vitamin C. Both these things help protect the thyroid gland. Stay away from fruits such as strawberries, pears and peaches, which are known to be goitrogenic (a.k.a. they disrupt the production of thyroid hormones).
As a protein-rich, anti-inflammatory food, cold water salmon is one of the best foods to eat if you have hypothyroidism. It’s high in protein and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help shrink goiters (swollen thyroids). It also contains selenium and vitamin B12, which are key for thyroid function.
3. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are ripe with selenium, which regulates thyroid hormones. Selenium helps fight inflammation and halts the development of goiters. Brazil nuts can also help boost your mood, which is important if you have hypothyroidism. You only need a couple brazil nuts to get the recommended daily dose of selenium. Too much selenium can lead to selenium toxicity and severe problems like hair loss and even heart failure, so definitely watch your intake.
I love myself a good seaweed salad! It’s definitely an acquired taste, but it’s high in iodine, which is crucial for thyroid function. However, too much iodine can harm the thyroid, so don’t overdo it with the seaweed! Seaweed also contains fiber, calcium and lots of vitamins and nutrients, so is overall a beneficial food to add to your hypothyroidism diet. Along with seaweed salad, I also love seaweed in soup!
5. Greek Yogurt
Just like seaweed, Greek yogurt is also a great source of iodine and you don’t have to worry about going overboard with it. A cup of Greek yogurt contains over half the recommended daily intake of iodine, so mix it with some fruits like blueberries or mangoes and you’ll be off to a great start every morning!
Nutrition for Hypothyroidism: What Foods Should I Avoid?
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
We’re always told to eat as many veggies as possible, but that’s not always the best suggestion, especially if you’re living with hypothyroidism. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and arugula can interfere with your body’s ability to produce thyroid hormones. These vegetables limit the thyroid’s ability to absorb iodine, which is crucial for proper thyroid function. Instead, stick to veggies like eggplant, bell peppers, asparagus, green beans, tomatoes and zucchini.
Gluten can lead to numerous negative reactions in your body, including hypothyroidism. Gluten is found in food processed from wheat, barley, rye and other grains, and can irritate the small intestine and depress thyroid activity. Cutting out gluten from your diet can make a change for the better.
Soy, found in foods like tofu, miso and tempeh can affect the body’s production of thyroid hormones. Since it’s full of plant-based phytoestrogen it can lead to hypothyroidism. Soy hasn’t been specifically linked to the condition, but since it can increase your risk, it’s best to stay away from soy as much as you can.
If you can’t imagine your life without caffeine, you likely rely on it to up your energy throughout the day, especially in the mornings. Caffeine is pretty addicting, so it can be tough giving it up, but it can help you in the long run, especially if you’re experiencing tiredness and sluggishness. Caffeine can be harmful to your thyroid and adrenal glands, plus it masks your body’s need for rest, making you crave more caffeine. And the cycle continues.
Since your metabolism is already slowed down due to hypothyroidism, foods with lots of sugar can lead to excess fat and weight gain. Not only that, insulin spikes caused by sugar destroy the thyroid gland. When I say sugar, I don’t just mean candy and pop, there are high amounts of sugar in foods like white rice and pasta, boxed cereals and granola bars, condiments, and sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. Decrease your sugar intake as much as you can!
If you’re living with hypothyroidism, it’s time to make some dietary changes. It may be tough, but it will be worth it to get your metabolism and energy levels back up where they should be!
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