Food plays a vital role in the health of our thyroid, even more so if you have an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s. Here are five foods you should include and five foods you should avoid to maintain a healthy weight and support thyroid function if you have Hashimoto’s or another autoimmune disease.
5 Best Foods If you Have Hashimoto’s Disease:
Seaweed contains more iodine than any other food, and iodine is essential for thyroid function. Seaweed is also a great source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals while low in calories. The most widely used seaweed varieties include kombu kelp, wakame and nori, and are used in soups and sushi.If you are already getting a lot of iodine from elsewhere, though, be sure you aren’t eating too much seaweed. It can be confusing, but too much iodine can be just as detrimental to thyroid health as too little iodine.
2. Iodized Salt
While not technically a “food”, iodized salt can support healthy thyroid function and flavor your food with zero calories… as long as you are not sodium sensitive or on a sodium restricted diet due to high blood pressure. One half teaspoon of iodized salt each day provides enough iodine to prevent deficiency.
Eggs are a low calorie (about 100 calories each) protein source that contain healthy fats as well as both iodine and selenium. Iodine supports thyroid hormone production while selenium helps your body activate those hormones so that your body can use them. The majority of these vital nutrients are found in the yolk, as egg whites alone contain no iodine… so make sure you’re eating the whole egg!
Dried plums (prunes) are an excellent vegan source of iodine. Best known for helping relieve constipation, prunes have a high fiber content and sorbitol plus Vitamin K, Vitamin A, potassium and iron. Great taste, low in calories and a great source of iodine and fiber, prunes should be a part of your Hashimoto’s diet.
5. Lentils and Beans
Beans are a relatively low-calorie source of fiber, magnesium, zinc and folate, making them a heart-healthy choice that supports thyroid function. Like selenium, zinc also helps the body activate thyroid hormones.
5 Worst Foods If You Have Hashimoto’s Disease:
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Mustard, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower contain glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds also known as goitrogens that block the production of thyroid hormones. Goitrogens block iodine, which is essential to thyroid health. The health benefits of these veggies outside of their iodine blocking properties is high, though, so if you choose to eat these cruciferous vegetables anyway, cook them first as these vegetables are not as problematic cooked as they are raw. Cooking or fermenting the veggies deactivates the glucosinolates.
Soy is also a goitrogen. Soy may not affect the thyroid in people with normal thyroid function and adequate iodine levels, however, soy can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication, especially in Hashimoto’s patients. Soy contains harmful levels of goitrogens raw or cooked.
3. Vegetable Oils
Canola, corn, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, and peanut oils are highly processed and chemically refined. They contain polyunsaturated fats that impair and slow thyroid function. The only way to avoid inflammation and thyroid suppression from vegetable oils is to avoid them completely. Learn to read labels as most processed foods like salad dressings, mayonnaise and margarine contain these vegetable oils.
Processed wheat and white flour, cornmeal, pasta, even white rice contain gluten which feeds inflammation. Hashimoto’s increases your sensitivity to gluten. Studies show that removing gluten from your diet can reduce inflammation allowing an increase in the absorption of many nutrients. If you suffer from the leaky gut syndrome, eliminate gluten, then repair the damaged intestinal wall with hydrolyzed collagen peptides.
To maintain a healthy thyroid, your blood sugar must be stable… which is often difficult in our sugar-filled world. Consuming sugar requires insulin to lower spikes in blood glucose that these sugars cause. Eventually, this leads to insulin resistance, a condition when insulin becomes less effective and more insulin is required as the blood sugar becomes higher and higher. Hyperglycemia and insulin resistance are precursors to diabetes which comes back to hormones. When your blood sugar is swinging from higher highs and lower lows, so are your hormones, creating a vicious cycle. Your body becomes stressed causing your adrenals to secrete the stress hormone cortisol which blocks thyroid function.If you have Hashimoto’s Disease, eating too much sugar not only throws your blood sugar out of balance but can also increase inflammation and provoke an autoimmune response in your thyroid. Minimizing or eliminating sugar, refined carbs and processed foods from your diet will help keep your thyroid function healthy.