Hypothyroidism is a condition wherein the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. Since these hormones help control growth, cell repair and metabolism, people with hypothyroidism typically experience tiredness, hair loss, weight gain, feeling chilly and depression, among other symptoms.
While diet alone can’t cure hypothyroidism, getting the right nutrients – along with medications – can help restore thyroid function and minimize symptoms.
What Nutrients Help Hypothyroidism?
There are several nutrients that are important for thyroid health.
Iodine is an essential mineral for producing thyroid hormones. It is estimated that about a third of the world’s population has an iodine deficiency and are at risk of hypothyroidism.
It’s not necessary to take iodine supplements, as you can get plenty from your diet, and some studies have shown that too much iodine can even damage the thyroid gland. Instead, add iodized salt, seaweed, fish, dairy and eggs to your diet.
Selenium helps activate thyroid hormones so the body can use them. This mineral also has antioxidant benefits, which can protect the thyroid gland from damage caused by molecules and free radicals.
Experts also recommend against selenium supplements in most cases, as it can be toxic in large amounts. Instead, boost your selenium levels by eating brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, eggs and legumes.
Zinc also helps activate thyroid hormones, as well as regulates TSH, the hormone that signals the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormones.
Zinc-rich foods include shellfish, beef and chicken.
What Nutrients Are Harmful for People with Hypothyroidism?
There are also nutrients you should avoid, as they can harm your health if you have hypothyroidism.
Goitrogens are compounds that can interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. They get their name from the word “goiter,” which is an enlarged gland that sometimes accompanies hypothyroidism.
It’s recommended that people with hypothyroidism avoid goitrogens, especially those who have an iodine deficiency. While cooking foods with goitrogens may inactivate the compound, it is best to avoid soy foods like tofu and tempeh; certain vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and spinach; fruits and starches like sweet potatoes, cassava, peaches and strawberries; and nuts and seeds like millet, pine nuts and peanuts.
For more information on the effect of your diet on hypothyroidism symptoms, call the experts at Topeka ENT today.