15 Foods to Avoid For Thyroid
When you are diagnosed with Thyroid the first thing comes to your mind is how to cure it? You can take some medication but it is always better to try some natural ways to cure or reduce thyroid problem.
Thyroid hormones (T3, T4, and TSH) are essential for the functioning of the body. They affect the body’s metabolism rates and also affects the body’s ability to adequately absorb nutrients and proteins from food. Hyperthyroidism is a condition that exists due to an excessive amount of thyroid hormone in the body (1).
Hypothyroidism is a condition that exists due to a low level of thyroid hormone in the body. This condition slows the body down.
Similarly, certain foods can hinder the body’s absorption level of replacement hormones that are often prescribed as part of thyroid treatment. In today’s post, we will discuss foods to avoid for thyroid.
Also Read: Thyroid Symptoms in Men
Nutrients that Influence Thyroid Hormone
What you include in your daily diet plays a key role in restoring your bodily functions. Improper diet is one of the leading cause of hypothyroidism. It is essential to be a little more careful with what you eat and what you should avoid eating.
Since food can influence the functions of the thyroid glands, which then affects the production of necessary hormones, it can also affect the body’s ability to adequately absorb nutrients.
Nutrients that influence the Smooth Functioning of Thyroid Hormone
According to studies, the human body requires an average of about 150 micrograms of iodine, per day. However, most foods do not contain that level of iodine, which is why iodized salt is often used, which apparently contains about 142 micrograms of iodine (per half a teaspoon).
Even though a low level of iodine is not the only reason for thyroid, there can be many other factors at play (6). For instance, plant-based foods could cause thyroid as they contain naturally occurring chemicals, which could impede normal or regular thyroid functions (7).
Since the thyroid glands need both tyrosine (Amino Acid) and iodine (naturally-occurring salt) in order to produce thyroid hormones, therefore, whenever the glands are unable to sufficiently produce these hormones, they grow bigger in size due to stress, in order to produce enough hormones(8)(9)(10).
Selenium helps in activating the thyroid hormone. It has anti-oxidant benefits which prevent the thyroid gland damage by free-radicals.
Selenium rich foods are legumes, eggs, tuna, sardines, brazil nuts, etc
Zinc helps to regulate TSH hormone which helps to release thyroid hormone. Zinc-rich foods like seafood, eggs, dairy, and nuts help to keep the proper supply of it.
Nutrients to avoid during Thyroid
Goitrogens are the compounds which disturb the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Many foods which contain goitrogens are cruciferous vegetables, soy foods, some fruits, nuts, and seeds mentioned below.
However cooking foods which contain goitrogens inactivates it. It generally affects people who have an iodine deficiency.
Gluten is a type of protein which is found in carbohydrate-rich foods like wheat, barley, millets.
It is very unhealthy for people who have thyroid dysfunction. People who have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which causes hypothyroidism may also suffer from celiac disease.
Foods to Avoid For Thyroid Dysfunction
Foods containing soy, or soy is flavones, is said to have negative effects on the thyroid. High levels of soy could increase the risk of hypothyroidism. Some researchers suggest that certain components of soy interfere with the body’s ability to absorb prescribed medication for thyroid.
They could also reduce the activity of the enzyme thyroid peroxidase. However, some experts suggest the people with both hypothyroidism as well as iodine deficiency are more prone to the negative effects of soy isoflavones, therefore they need to be more conscious of their soy intake.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Even though cruciform vegetable such as cabbage, cauliflower (if not cooked well), and broccoli are rich in fiber and nutrients, they may interfere with the production thyroid hormones, especially if you have iodine deficiency as well.
You may want to look out for vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, canola, arugula, radishes, mustard greens, wasabi, watercress, horseradish, collard greens, turnips, bok choy and kale, seeds of cruciferous vegetables, rutabaga (yellow turnip) as these Vegetables could interfere with the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb and utilize iodine, which is necessary for moral and regular thyroid function. These are one of the foods to avoid for thyroid.
3. Gluten Rich Foods
Gluten may irritate small intestine and might interfere with the absorption of medication prescribed as thyroid hormone replacement. It can especially affect people with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, therefore limiting your intake or eliminating gluten products can lessen the effects. Foods that are rich in gluten such as pasta, bread, cereal, beer, etc.
3. Fried Foods
Fried foods are anyway not recommended as part of your diet whether you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism or none, but you must be extra cautious if you do have the thyroid. It interferes with the body’s ability to absorb medication replacement for thyroid hormones, and they also disrupt the thyroid gland’s ability to produce hormones. Avoid or reduce intake of fatty or fried foods, especially foods containing fats from butter, margarine, fatty cuts of meat, and mayonnaise.
4. Sugary Items
As hypothyroidism results in a slow metabolism, which makes the body more prone to putting on weight, it is beneficial and necessary to completely avoid food items with a high level of sugar. Sugary items can worsen the metabolism rate and lead to other health diseases. Avoid food that has a lot of calories such as refined sugar, chocolate, desserts, and cakes. This is one of the foods to avoid for thyroid.
5. Junk Food
Junk Food or processed food has an exceptionally high level of sodium, which people with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism should avoid in all cases. High levels of sodium intake increase a person’s chance of high blood pressure and heart diseases. Eating junk food on a regular basis can affect the thyroid glands and their ability to produce hormones or even absorb necessary nutrients. Processed food, packaged food, fried food, French fries, pizza, burgers and food with a high level of sodium are the ones to be avoided.
6. Soft Drinks
Soft drinks or aerated drinks contain high amounts of sugar, which affects the metabolism rate. They are no different from sugary items that don’t break down easily and tire the body faster which leads to a lower rate of metabolism. Items containing a lot of sugar such as soft drinks can spike the energy levels for a little while but then lead to a sudden drop of energy as the body tries to break down the food. As established, people with hypothyroidism have issues with slow metabolism rates, any food or drink containing ingredients that are hard to break down must be avoided. Soft drink is one of the foods to avoid for thyroid.
7. Spicy Food
Even though the spicy food is said to have good effects on the metabolism rates of the body. However, people with hyperthyroidism have an increased level of metabolism and spicy food might lead to excessive loss of weight. People with hyperthyroidism should reduce or avoid spicy food. Look for options that are organic rather consuming processed spicy food.
Researchers have shown that alcohol has a toxic effect on thyroid glands. It also weakens the body’s ability to utilize thyroid hormone. Consuming alcohol can interfere with both the thyroid gland’s ability to produce thyroid hormones as well as levels of hormones in the body. Alcohol is one of the foods to avoid for thyroid.
Cigarettes are a big no for people with hypothyroidism as it affects the glands directly. The intake of tobacco and nicotine that passes through the neck affect the glands and hinders with the production of the hormones, it might also lead to an increased amount of phlegm in the throat. Cigarettes are to be avoided by anyone but especially by people with hypothyroidism.
Caffeine hinders with the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medications. Items containing caffeine such as coffee, certain teas, and caffeinated drinks should be avoided. Medications must not be taken with caffeine such as a cup of coffee or tea. Avoid excessive intake of Tea or Coffee. One or Two cups of tea a day will cause no harm to you but it should not exceed this limit.
Peaches are high in goitrogens which are harmful to thyroid patients. It interferes with the absorption of iodine from your diet and restricts the utilization of iodine.
Pears are very high in goitrogens which makes them harmful for thyroid patients.
15. Baked Foods
Baked foods are high in gluten, processed and white flour. It promotes unhealthy weight gain in the belly region.
Some more foods which are high in goitrogens are
- Mustard and mustard greens
- Bok Choy
- Brussel sprouts
Hypothyroidism can be depressing and hard. But it can be treated and managed with a careful watch on your diet, proper exercise, and a proper lifestyle. Even though some factors resulting in hypothyroidism might be outside of your control, but there are things and options that can help you along the way. Some of the items mentioned above may be hard for you to cut out. But trying to inculcate good habits will help you in the long term.
Some things might work wonderfully under specific circumstances, whereas some might not work in other circumstances. Cutting out some of the items listed above might be difficult for you. But taking an initiative in reducing the intake amounts and then gradually eliminating those items might help.
Remember to take baby steps when it starts to get hard. The thyroid is a fairly common health condition and millions of people deal with it regularly. In fact, some studies show that about 12 percent of the population deal with a thyroid condition. But it is good to know that with the right medication and proper diet, it is quite possible to cure.
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