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Diet and Nutrition For Thyroid Conditions

The thyroid is a gland located in the neck that is shaped like a butterfly. It is responsible for releasing hormones that control the body’s metabolism, which can then have a lot of impact on different parts of the body. There are different thyroid conditions and diseases that affect the body, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, and Graves disease. These types of conditions affect the body temperature, energy level, weight, muscle strength, cholesterol, sleeping patterns, concentration and memory, and heart rate.



While there are also a variety of medical treatments available for thyroid conditions, eating right is often the first lifestyle change to make. With the right foods, you can not only prevent certain thyroid conditions from developing, but your diet can help you treat them as well. This report goes over the foods that you should eat if you are at risk of a thyroid condition or it has already developed, and certain dietary restrictions to keep in mind.

Recommended Foods

To start with your new thyroid diet, it is a good idea to look into the foods you can eat. This helps you create a grocery list that includes foods completely safe and healthy for your new thyroid lifestyle. In order to treat a thyroid condition, you want to look for as much nutrition as possible. It is good to get as many of the necessary vitamins and nutrients from food sources before turning to vitamins and supplements. Here are some foods that you can and should enjoy when you have a thyroid condition.

Fruits and Veggies With Antioxidants

Make sure you get plenty of antioxidants through fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are going to help the thyroid gland to be as healthy as possible. Berries are usually high on the list of produce with the most antioxidants, especially with blueberries and strawberries. Other fruits and veggies that contain a good amount of antioxidants are bell peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, and 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. Selenium is often found 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.

Dairy

It is also good to have more calcium in your body, not just for your bones but for your thyroid gland as well. Try to drink a good amount of milk each day, or look for other sources of calcium.

Lean Protein

Adding more lean protein to your diet like turkey is a great option for eating healthy and helping with your thyroid problem as well. If you have hypothyroidism, lack of energy is likely a major side effect, which lean protein can help with. On the other hand, if you are losing weight from hyperthyroidism, having high amounts of protein can help you as well.

Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are great 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 dishes like tuna and salmon, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.

Cruciferous Veggies

This is a tricky one because if you have an overactive thyroid, such as with hyperthyroidism, you want to have more cruciferous vegetables since they help to decrease the excessive amount of thyroid gland hormones being produced. However, if you have hypothyroidism with an underactive thyroid, you want to avoid them. If you do happen to produce too many hormones, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are highly recommended.

Foods to Avoid

Now that you know a little more about the foods and nutrients you want to eat to help with your thyroid condition, you should learn about the foods you need to avoid. These are important to avoid for different types of thyroid conditions, which will be listed if they are relevant.

Soy

If you have hypothyroidism, it is suggested that you should be careful about how much soy you have. There are no strict guidelines about the exact amount, but it is a good idea that you reduce the amount you have. It can have a negative effect on your thyroid gland, particularly when you already have an underactive thyroid with hypothyroidism. 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.

Cruciferous Veggies

As mentioned in the previous section, you want to have more of these vegetables with an overactive thyroid since they can help lower the hormones. However, if you have an underactive thyroid, you should definitely reduce how many of the veggies you have. With an already lack of hormone production, the last thing you want to do is eat something to make the numbers drop even more. When eating more vegetables, try not to have too much cabbage, kale, broccoli, or cauliflower. You can still have them, but they shouldn’t be the only veggies you eat.

Gluten

Most people with any type of thyroid condition should be careful about how much gluten they have. Gluten is usually found in grains, wheat, barley, and rye. It can affect the medication you are taking for your thyroid condition, as well as affecting your small intestine. It is best that you reduce how much wheat and other grains you consume. Instead, look at grains without gluten, such as quinoa and couscous.

Sugary Foods

When you have a lot of sugar in your diet, it can lead to a high amount of calories without having any nutritional value. You 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 harder to lose weight.

Fattening and Fried Foods

Similar to sugar, fattening foods or anything that is fried is adding a lot of fat and calories without the added nutrition. These foods are unnecessary and only going to 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.

Superfoods For Thyroid Conditions

When you are trying to eat healthier with your thyroid condition, it is a good idea to eat as many superfoods as you possibly can. Superfoods include foods, grains, herbs, fruits, and veggies that have a higher-than-normal amount of nutrients. They are considered a superfood because of how healthy and nutritious they are for you. There are certain superfoods that also happen to be really good for you when you have a thyroid condition. Here are some of the top ones you should try to consume on a regular basis.

Coconut

Coconut on its own is a superfood due to the high amount of nutrients it contains. Not only is it good for your thyroid on its own, but it is great for overall health. Coconut oil is one way to get more of this superfood into your diet, which will help with speeding up your metabolism, proper thyroid function, and brain function. You can replace any other oil with coconut oil in your recipes. Another method is to replace regular butter with coconut butter. It is a little sweeter, but it is also a lot better for you.

Leafy Green Vegetables

You know you need your veggies with a thyroid condition, but you might need to avoid cruciferous veggies if you have an underactive thyroid. Leafy greens are usually safe, which include any type of lettuce, such as romaine, iceberg, 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.

Wild-Caught Salmon

Seafood in general is good for you due to the omega-3 fatty acids, but wild-caught salmon is one of the best types of fish you can eat. This 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.

Eggs

Believe it or not, eggs are also considered a superfood. This is because the whole egg, when you include the yolk, contains vitamins B and D, choline, and protein, all of which are great for your thyroid gland and side effects from having a thyroid condition. 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.

Brazil Nuts

Nuts are another healthy food that is good to add to your diet when you have a thyroid condition. Brazil nuts aren’t just good for you, but they are also a superfood. Brazil nuts have selenium, which helps with your thyroid, skin, body weight, and liver.

Tips For Creating Balanced Meals

With this information, you are ready to start putting together balanced meals that include foods you can have with your thyroid conditions and reduce the amount of the foods on the ‘No’ list. If you are new to eating healthier, but you have a thyroid condition that you want to help treat naturally, the following tips are going to help you take this advice and turn it into some delicious and healthy meals.

Fill up 2/3 of your plate with protein. A good way to start putting together a balanced meal is by having about 2/3 of your plate or bowl be filled with your main protein source. During breakfast, this might be your eggs or other protein, while at lunch it could be grilled chicken with a side of veggies. At night, your protein can be salmon, steak, or a meatless option like a veggie burger. Just aim for this proportion, and you are on your way to a well-balanced meal.

Have vegetables be the remaining 1/3 of your plate. For the rest of your plate, try to choose mostly fruits, vegetables, and/or grains. If you are watching your gluten for your thyroid disorder, then try to avoid regular whole grains and instead have quinoa. Most fruits and vegetables will be allowed on your diet, so you want o have plenty of them. Add in a few healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, and your meal is just about complete.

Try to have fruits and veggies with every meal. Speaking of healthy produce, try to incorporate them into every meal so that you can aim for that healthy balance with your thyroid diet. If you are planning on scrambled eggs for breakfast, this is a good start, but for good nutrients, add some strawberries or bananas to the plate as well.

Reduce the amount of fat and calories. You also want to get rid of some of the excess fat and calories from your meals as much as possible. Things like condiments, cheese, sauces, and dressings tend to add the most calories and fat without really being needed. 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.

Start measuring everything. You also need to learn proper portion control if you are going to focus on a healthy, well-balanced thyroid diet. This is especially important with an underactive thyroid that is already making it harder for you to lose weight. 

With these simple tips and tricks, you will be eating foods that are good for your thyroid and avoiding those that cause it to act up.

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