Not only what we eat but how we eat can affect thyroid gland function. Getting started with just the right diet for hypothyroidism care requires some understanding about how food choices impact thyroid function. Fortunately, a great hypothyroid diet can be an introduction to new, healthy and delicious ways of living.
Dealing with the weight factor
Thyroid hormone is the body’s main metabolic booster. With inadequate levels of this hormone, a condition known as hypothyroidism, the body burns fewer calories and as a result, most people suffering from hypothyroidism experience weight gain.
In addition to low metabolism, hypothyroidism causes a feeling of excess fatigue. This makes it even more challenging for people living with hypothyroidism to feel up for a workout. Not only can keeping active help improve mood, boost energy levels and help to balance all hormonal systems, it can enhance the overall effectiveness of a hypothyroidism diet.
The must-haves in a hypothyroidism diet
Whatever the precise hypothyroidism diet, be sure to include plenty of water. This is a time-tested tool for making the belly feel fuller, helping to stave of cravings and prevent unhealthy snacking. It also helps stimulate good digestive health, counteracting the constipation so many people experience with hypothyroidism. In addition, dehydration can hinder proper thyroid function making eight glasses of good-old H20 an important part of any diet for hypothyroidism.
Including lean protein with every meal will ensure enough of this macro-nutrient is always available to help shuttle essential iodine into the thyroid gland. Coconut oil is another great addition to any meal. This superfood provides a rich source of medium-chain fatty acids, a high-energy source that the body burns for fuel instead of storing as fat.
Probiotics found as pills or as part of natural yogurts, can help to replenish the gut with a healthy supply of friendly bacteria. These same agents are associated with keeping thyroid function in check, making fresh yogurt a great addition to any hypothyroidism diet.
Get your produce cooked and your vitamins supplemented
There are several goitrogens, the blockers of thyroid hormone production, that lose this characteristic when they are cooked. This includes spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, peaches and peanuts, to name a few.
While healthy, whole foods can be rich sources of essential vitamins and minerals, it may be worth including a daily vitamin supplement as part of a hypothyroidism diet. Here are a few vitamins and minerals to include in a diet plan
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
The big dietary no-no’s for hypothyroidism
No dietary recommendations for thyroid health would be complete without mentioning these big downers: caffeine, sugar and processed foods. While none of these foods in excess make for a sensible nutrition plan, they are especially troublesome for people battling hypothyroidism. If you’re a real java fiend, try substituting at least one cup of coffee per day with black tea. It’s still got a bit of the caffeine kick and even tastes great with a dash of milk.
Having trouble cutting out the sweets? Try having a piece of whole, fresh fruit in place of the usual processed sugar snacks. This whole-food substitute will still have a delicious, sweet flavor while containing a lot less sugar and a lot more thyroid-boosting vitamins. Better still, fruit can also provide an added dose of fiber, a great tool to overcoming constipation.
A hypothyroidism diet against autoimmunity
When dealing with autoimmune hypothyroidism, such as Hashimoto’s disease, it may be worth considering a diet tailored to this family of immune disorders. Healthy fats like olive oil and coconut oil have important anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity. Another potent antioxidant to help to put autoimmune problems in their place, glutathione production is stimulated by a substance in cooked brocoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
So closely resembling the structure of thyroid tissue, gluten can stimulate the body to increase its attack on the thyroid gland. Going gluten-free can make a great natural thyroid treatment and a world of difference for people suffering from autoimmune hypothyroidism. Fortunately, a number of gluten-free options for favorite foods are available in most large grocery outlets.
Not just what but how to eat
Many people on a hypothyroid diet find that five or six small meals per day of about 300 calories each is ideal. This prevents the blood sugar peaks and valleys that can strain all the hormonal systems. It also helps to stave off the cravings that can make sticking to a healthy meal plan more challenging.
Some health care practitioners recommend following the Zone diet, again, for its capacity to stabilize blood sugar levels. This high-protein diet can naturally include good sources of the trace minerals necessary for supporting thyroid health, making it a simple hypothyroidism diet plan.