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Thyroid and Nutrition: What to Eat for Thyroid Balance

Dealing with hypo or hyperthyroidism is a common challenge among women, but the good news is that your diet can make a difference! Including specific foods in your meals can naturally help in balancing your thyroid - learn more in this article...

Published on

March 26, 2023


Nadeen Daka

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Your thyroid gland produces a number of imperative hormones in your body that control how it operates. For it to work right, it is important that you eat right, and we’re going to tell you just how to do that. 

The importance of the thyroid gland

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck. Though petite in size, it plays a large and crucial role as part of your endocrine system which is responsible for producing and releasing various hormones. These hormones regulate your metabolism, influencing numerous activities within your body, such as heart rate, temperature, breathing, brain activity, and digestion. 

The thyroid produces four primary hormones: thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), reverse triiodothyronine (RT3), and calcitonin. To synthesize these hormones, the thyroid requires iodine. For this reason, abnormal quantities of iodine in your diet may give rise to two specific thyroid disorders—hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid). 

Thyroid-nutrition connection

While hypothyroidism can be caused by underlying autoimmune diseases, it is recommended to get enough iodine in your diet to help keep your thyroid functioning. Foods that are rich in iodine include seaweed, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, and soy. Eating the right balance of these foods will help ensure that your metabolism doesn’t slow down, or in cases of consuming too much iodine, speed up. In the case of hyperthyroidism, there is no “natural cure” to undo this condition. Nonetheless, other diets and eating patterns are recommended to keep your thyroid healthy

Some tips:

  • Limit goitrogenic foods: goitrogens are compounds that disrupt the function of the thyroid gland by blocking its ability to absorb iodine. These are typically found in plant-based foods, such as kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables. 

  • Eat smaller meals: overconsuming foods in one sitting can cause a drastic spike in your blood sugar levels. This causes stress on your digestive system and should be avoided as much as possible to help your body out while digesting foods after a meal. 

  • Diets: adopting a gluten-free diet if you have celiac disease is a good way to minimize your risk of getting an autoimmune thyroid disease while having a low-glycemic diet that is low in sugar and carbs helps balance your blood sugar spikes to reduce the stress on your thyroid hormones. 

  • Drinks in moderation: studies have found that overconsumption of coffee can lead to a decrease in thyroid hormone concentration, and overconsumption of alcohol stresses your liver. As such, it is best to drink these beverages in moderation to avoid their complications.

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