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Hypothyroidism is a condition caused by the improper functioning of the thyroid glands, which results in less production of thyroid hormones, especially thyroxine, and triiodothyronine. These hormones help in the intake of nutrients, regulating body temperature, maintaining proper weight, heart rate, and metabolic functions, and producing energy.
When the thyroid is not functioning properly, it can be difficult to maintain a balance in the body. Hypothyroidism may cause heart disease, infertility, obesity, dry skin, fatigue, constipation, cold intolerance and joint pain. While medication is the primary mode of treatment for hypothyroidism, diet also plays an important role. As certain foods can worsen the condition, people suffering from hypothyroidism should know about the foods to avoid with hypothyroidism.
Foods To Avoid
If you are trying to heal your thyroid naturally, there are certain foods that you should avoid, mainly foods containing goitrogens. Goitrogens are substances that occur naturally in certain foods and can cause thyroid glands to enlarge, which is called goiter. They inhibit the production of thyroid hormones, something you definitely don?t want if you already have an under-active thyroid. Some nutrients heavily influence the function of the thyroid gland, and certain foods can inhibit your body?s ability to absorb the replacement hormones you may take as part of your thyroid treatment. Foods, such as non-fermented soy, cruciferous vegetables, and millet, may not be so good for your thyroid.
Even if on medication, hypothyroidism symptoms may persist depending on what foods are eaten throughout the day. These foods suppress the function of the thyroid gland by inflaming the tissues and blocking iodine uptake, which stops the production of thyroid enzymes. Consuming certain foods can worsen the hypothyroidism symptoms because your body will have to strain in order to break down the chemicals they are composed of. In certain cases, your metabolism will no longer be able to filter out toxins due to lack of thyroid hormones in your system, which can cause discomfort and illness.
Non-Fermented Soy Foods
Tofu, soy milk, soy oil, soy shakes, soy powders and bars, and soy burgers are some of the non-fermented soy foods. These are rich in the problematic compound called isoflavones, which are plant compounds that have estrogen-like activity. Soy isoflavones are considered goitrogens that interfere with thyroid function and decrease its ability to produce thyroxin. So, if you have hypothyroidism, you have to limit or avoid these foods in your diet.
However, fermented soy foods, like soy sauce, miso, tempeh, etc., do not contain the isoflavones and it is fine to include them in your diet.
Raw cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips, collard greens, cabbage, radishes, cauliflower, etc., contain goitrogens. These foods can impede your body?s ability to absorb iodine and interfere with the production of thyroid hormone. When your body cannot absorb iodine, your thyroid gland will swell and you will eventually develop the goiter. Goitrogens also slow down the functioning of the thyroid by making it difficult for your body to use iodine, a necessary building block of thyroid hormones. Cooking cruciferous vegetables denature the goitrogens and make them safer to eat.
Foods to avoid with hypothyroidism include the foods having gluten. When you purchase a bread, check whether it is free from gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. People suffering from hypothyroidism should avoid gluten because it may decrease the absorption of their thyroid medication.
Although millet is a nutritious and gluten-free grain, it may suppress thyroid function. It interferes with your body?s iodine uptake, which is already damaged due to your thyroid condition.
Processed Foods and Foods Containing Sugar
Sugar and processed foods cause inflammation in the body, and this inflammation inhibits T4 to T3 conversion. Processed foods tend to have a lot of sodium and people with hypothyroidism should avoid sodium. Moreover, the bad fats in the fried and processed foods decrease the thyroid gland?s ability to produce thyroxin hormone. They also interfere with the action of your thyroid medications.
Since hypothyroidism decreases body?s metabolism, it becomes difficult for your body to burn the calories of excess sugar you consume in the form of sugar cookies, pastries, candies, etc. You will end up putting on more weight and will hamper the activity of your thyroid gland.
These are one among the thyroid inhibiting foods you should avoid. Butter, mayonnaise, margarine and animal fats are some of the fats to be avoided as they decrease the production of thyroid hormones and disrupt the body?s ability to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medicines.
Getting enough fiber is good for you, but intake of excess fiber found in foods such as legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can interfere with your thyroid medications in the digestive system. So, limit the amount of fiber in your diet or take your hypothyroidism medication several hours before or after eating high-fiber foods to prevent them from interfering with the absorption of your synthetic thyroid hormone. However, do not avoid fibers completely as it is important for your overall health.
Foods Having Sulfur
Foods like sweet potato, corn, lima beans and flax contain sulfur. Sulfur containing vegetables are called thiocyanates. These thiocyanates stop the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. Iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroxin hormone.
Foods Having Quercetin
Onions, tea, red wine, apricots, apples, broccoli, cranberries, grapes, blueberries and Gingko Biloba have quercetin, which decreases the ability of thyroid gland to take up iodine and produce thyroxin hormone. These foods also prevent the activation of thyroid hormone in liver.
Beverages Containing Caffeine
Caffeine is found in coffee, soft drinks, and energy drinks. It decreases the action of thyroid medication in your body by decreasing its absorption. Avoid coffee in the morning and avoid taking thyroid medication with coffee. Take your medication with water and have your breakfast after one hour.
Avoid Calcium Foods With Your Thyroid Medications
Calcium supplements or calcium containing foods, such as milk should not be taken simultaneously with your thyroid medication as it decreases the action of your medication. You can take your calcium supplements after a time gap of four hours or more.
Alcohol has a disastrous effect on your thyroid gland as it decreases the ability of thyroid gland to produce thyroxin hormone. Alcohol has a toxic effect on the thyroid gland and suppresses the utilization of thyroid hormone by your body.
Some foods may not do harm to the thyroid, but they can cause other issues in your body because they are not being properly filtered by your inactive thyroid gland. As the optimal function of the thyroid glands is vital for your overall health and well-being, it is better to know about the foods to avoid with hypothyroidism.