Hypothyroidism is a difficult condition to manage, and the foods you eat have the ability to interfere with your treatment. Not only do certain nutrients have a direct influence on the function of your thyroid gland, but some foods (even ones considered vital to good health) can inhibit your body’s ability to properly absorb the replacement hormones you may have been prescribed as part of your treatment.
While there may be no hypothyroidism diet per se, making smart food decisions can help your body work optimally and make you feel better. With this in mind, here are 5 foods you should avoid if you have hypothyroidism.
While many studies have shown the benefit of drinking in moderation for health, alcohol in any amount is not a good idea for people diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Alcohol can damage the thyroid levels in the body as well as the ability of your thyroid to produce the necessary hormone. Though it may be challenging, it is recommended you cut alcohol completely out of your diet.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Your mother told you to eat your vegetables, but if you suffer from a thyroid condition, you need to be careful which vegetables you eat. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, can negatively impact the production of thyroid hormone, particularly in people who have an iodine deficiency.
All cruciferous vegetables are considered goitrogenic, meaning they contain substances (goitrogens) that may contribute to an enlarged thyroid. They also contain something called thiocyanate, which in very high concentrations can interfere with adequate iodine intake. Iodine is essential for a properly-functioning thyroid. So, if you eat a lot of these vegetables it could potentially result in an underactive thyroid and goiter.
Cooking these vegetables can reduce their effect on your thyroid gland. And, limiting your intake to just 5 ounces a day, appears to limit the adverse effect on your thyroid’s health.
3. Fried Food
Trans fats, the bad ones found in deep fried foods like French fries and potato chips, are believed to disrupt your body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medications. These fats may also halt your thyroid’s ability to produce hormone as well.
In addition, since trans fats are known to cause coronary artery disease and diabetes, among other health issues, it is recommended you cut fried and processed foods containing trans fats from your diet.
4. Refined Sugar
One of the major symptoms of hypothyroidism is a slowed metabolism and increased weight gain. Excess weight, you most likely know, is the root cause of many other health issues such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Hypothyroid patients should avoid processed and refined sugars as these are empty calories and will pack on the pounds.
Caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea can pose a health problem if you have weak adrenal glands due to excess and prolonged stress. Caffeine can further stimulate and stress your adrenals, causing them to secrete excess cortisol – your primary stress hormone. Cortisol then binds to your thyroid hormone and creates what is called Reverse T3 (rT3), which in turn deactivates your cells’ ability to absorb thyroid hormone.
While the thought of giving up some of your favorite foods may at first be an unpleasant thought, the resulting health of your thyroid gland, and your overall health and vitality, is well worth it.