Proper nutrition can protect your thyroid. This weekly hypothyroidism diet includes essential nutrients and avoids harmful foods.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. In this gland important hormones are synthesized that have receptors in practically all the cells of the body, for this reason, thyroid hormones not only control metabolism, but also fulfill many other functions. Unfortunately, one in ten people suffers from a thyroid disorder, with hypothyroidism leading the way. The good news is that you can promote its proper functioning through diet, favoring foods good for the thyroid and reducing or avoiding harmful foods.
Here we will tell you how to improve the diet for hypothyroidism and we will give you a weekly sample menu so you can follow and adapt it.
THYROID: SYMPTOMS THAT SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT
The most common thyroid problem is hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid does not produce enough hormones. In the early stages, this disease may go unnoticed.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism can be as disparate as noticing dry skin, tiredness, muscle weakness, hair loss, low libido, feeling of mental fog, depression, cold intolerance and ease of weight gain.
Hypothyroidism can be caused by nutritional deficiencies or an autoimmune disorder. In this case we talk about Hashimoto’s disease. There is a genetic predisposition to develop autoimmune diseases, which can be favored by several factors, such as chronic stress, vitamin D deficiency, viral or fungal infections, intestinal permeability, gluten intolerance or exposure to heavy metals and other contaminants.
Excess production of thyroid hormones is less common. People with hyperthyroidism lose weight, suffer tachycardia, unusual sweating and swelling in the neck, among other symptoms.
HYPOTHYROIDISM: STEP-BY-STEP DIET
In developed countries, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease, so take steps to regulate immune function:
- No gluten, refined, dairy, sugar or additives. If subclinical hypothyroidism has been diagnosed, it is advisable to withdraw products made with wheat and other cereals with gluten, especially those made with refined flours, hydrogenated fats, dairy products, sugar, sweeteners, alcohol and ultra-processed foods.
- No toxics. We must prioritize a diet based on organic foods to avoid toxins, and follow an anti-inflammatory diet rich in vegetables and fruits of low glycemic index.
- Do not miss proteins. To function well, the thyroid needs a sufficient number of amino acids. In the vegetable diet they are obtained from legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It’s especially important to get a sufficient dose of tyrosine, an amino acid found in almonds and pumpkin and sesame seeds, for example.
- Beware of soy. In the nutritional treatment of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease it is recommended to refrain from taking soy, as it hinders the absorption of iodine, the synthesis of thyroid hormone and its action in the body. Miso and tamari can occasionally be consumed, fermented foods that do not interfere with iodine.
- Cabbages and other cruciferous, better cooked. Raw cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower) contain very beneficial isothiocyanates for their anticancer and detoxifying effect, but reduce the absorption of iodine by the thyroid. If iodine deficiency has been diagnosed, it is recommended not to consume them raw. If they are cooked between 15 and 20 minutes, they can be consumed a couple of days a week. Arugula, turnips or turnip greens are also cruciferous and are used to eating raw, but it is advisable not to eat them if you suffer from hypothyroidism.
WHAT TO TAKE FOR YOUR THYROID
Some nutrients, obtained through food or in supplement form, are essential for thyroid gland care.
- Iodine. Iodine is needed to produce the two main thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T-4) and triiodothyronine (T-3). In the vegetable diet, iodine is found in sea salt and algae. These should be consumed in moderation: no more than 3-5 g of seaweed occasionally. In case of following a medical treatment with thyroid hormone, algae are completely contraindicated.
- Selenium. It is necessary to transform T-4 into T-3, which is the active form, and in fact, thyroid alterations are one of the most common symptoms of selenium deficiency. The most selenium-rich food is the Brazil nut: a single Brazil nut provides 100 mcg, twice the amount needed per day. Other foods that provide some selenium are shiitake mushrooms, dried beans, chia, flax or sesame seeds and brown rice.
- Nutritional supplements. The dietary treatment can be completed with a quality daily multivitamin supplement that includes vitamins D3 (2,000 IU), E (200-400 IU) and zinc (20-30 mg), among other nutrients, as there are many that participate in thyroid function.
GOOD FOODS FOR THE THYROID ACCORDING TO CHINESE MEDICINE
In traditional Chinese medicine, the functioning of the thyroid is favored with hot foods, served in clay dishes and to eat with a spoon, such as soups made with broths, legumes and algae.
On the other hand, it is recommended to avoid or reduce the consumption of fresh, cold and raw foods such as salads, cold drinks and ice cream, especially in winter.
In addition, it is important to take steps to improve the functioning of the intestine. Up to 80% of people with hypothyroidism suffer from intestinal problems. To promote digestion and the good condition of the microbiota, it is advisable to chew and salivate food, avoid added sugars, take plants and spices that promote digestion such as ginger or cumin, and take prebiotics and probiotics (foods with fiber and fermented).
WEEKLY MENU FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM
Let’s see now how to translate all the above recommendations into a diet for hypothyroidism one week with this weekly menu that, on the one hand, combines nutritious and anti-inflammatory foods and, on the other, avoids products that interfere with the absorption of iodine or favor immune disorders. On the menu you will find proposals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Download weekly menu for hypothyroidism in pdf.
HABITS TO PREVENT IN CASE OF SUBCLINICAL HYPOTHYROIDISM
Subclinical hypothyroidism (with mild or no symptoms) that can be treated by diet should be detected as soon as possible.
Blood TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels between 4 and 10 muy/liter are indicators of the need for care.
Some habits help prevent thyroid problems and improve thyroid function:
- Expose yourself a little to the cold. One of the functions of the thyroid is to maintain body temperature. To activate it, it is advisable to expose yourself to small doses of cold, such as finishing the shower with a jet of fresh water.
- Two meals. Two or three intakes a day with high nutritional density composed of quality, fresh and unprocessed foods are enough. Excess intakes promote the inflammatory and autoimmune response.
- Exercise. It is necessary to progressively incorporate physical activity into daily routines. Fasting exercise that includes muscular effort is recommended for the thyroid to begin mobilizing energy.
- Medicinal plants. Stress affects the functioning of the thyroid. In addition to relaxing, you can take adaptogenic plants such as ashwagandha, capable of increasing thyroid hormones T-3 and T-4. Instead, lemon balm, verbena and wolf mint should be avoided.