Published: 09/24/2015 - Updated: 03/20/2017
The thyroid is a gland located in the neck just below the Adam’s apple. Its primary function is to secrete hormones that are vital for growth and metabolism.
When they thyroid gland does not function properly, this can create symptoms of an over-working thyroid, which is known as hyperthyroidism. When they thyroid is functioning below normal levels, this is known as hypothyroidism.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Whenever the thyroid does not produce sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone, the metabolism will noticeably slow down, causing certain outstanding symptoms, such as:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Thyroid tumors
- Tiredness of fatigue
- Dry skin
- Depressive states
- Pain in joints or muscles
- Sensitivity to cold
It is estimated that in roughly 90% of the individuals that suffer from hypothyroidism, this condition is caused by an autoimmune disorder. This is also known as Hashimoto’s disease. Hypothyroidism can also be caused by certain medications or hormone changes, however, like those experienced during pregnancy.
Hypothyroidism is frequently treated with hormone substitutes. This means that the patient must ingest the thyroid hormones that the thyroid no longer produces, for whatever reason.
An appropriate diet, however, can help fight the root of the disease. Immunological responses could be caused by general imbalances, which often times are caused by our dietary habits.
Diet for individuals with hypothyroidism
Although it may seem impossible, hypothyroidism could seriously affect your moods, energy, and general health.
We recommend following these dietary recommendations:
Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet: Try to reduce, or avoid, any source of simple carbohydrates, like white sugar, refined flour, industrial pastry products, candies, ice cream, etc.
Include different protein sources: Although animal protein is acceptable, they aren’t always the best sources of protein, as they could also contain antibiotics or hormones. We suggest consuming organic animal meats. Other protein sources include dry fruit and legumes, like beans, lentils, etc.
Include plant foods: Vitamins and minerals are essential for optimal bodily functioning. These are found primarily in plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables.
Choose healthy fats: Vegetable oils, like a lot of other sources of plant fats, are considered healthy because they help control cholesterol levels. Some recommended fats include olive oil, avocado, and dry fruit. You should also consider sources of omega-3 fatty acids, like oily fish.
And lastly, we often times recommend controlling your calories, because hypothyroidism is related to an involuntary weight gain, because the metabolism is not functioning properly.
Some foods are categorized as causing thyroid tumors. This means that they contain substances like chlorogenic acid, lithium, caffeic acid, and more, which could interfere with thyroid functioning.
When considering vegetables, you should avoid Brussel’s sprouts, radishes, lettuce, peppers, carrots, onions, parsley, squash, eggplant and celery. Some fruits could also contain these substances, like lemons, oranges, grapefruit, dates and plums.
We should also mention that while these vegetables do contain thyroid tumor agents, they substances are also rendered inactive when subjected to heat. Briefly cooking or fermenting these foods could help eliminate their effects, allowing you to consume them with no problems.
We also recommend avoiding too much dried fruit and nuts, like peanuts, walnuts and soy.
Some experts have linked gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease, to Hashimoto’s disease. They say that somewhere between this relationship, could lie the key to treatment. We generally advise adopting a wheat-free diet, and if possible, a gluten-free diet.
Avoid consuming too much iodine
One recommendation for fighting hypothyroidism could be related to iodine consumption. Thyroid hormones are formed with this trace element, however, this is not always the best alternative unless your doctor prescribes it. This could worsen your condition, depending on the type of hypothyroidism you suffer from.
We recommend avoiding foods that are high in iodine, like iodized salt, seaweed, and supplements that contain iodine. Moderate iodine consumption could be a good thing, but in a lot of cases, you don’t need to supplement it.
Exercise is part of a healthy life, however, although this can be a good resource, your doctor is the one who should advise how you exercise. Anytime you have hypothyroidism, you will not experience the same physical performance. First, we advise that you take control of the disease.