Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of the hormones responsible for controlling metabolism. As a result of this condition, you may experience fatigue, cold sensitivity and weight gain. If left untreated or undetected by blood testing, hypothyroidism can lead to impaired senses of taste and smell as well as an increased thickness of your skin. Medication to replace the missing hormones are usually the first line of treatment for hypothyroidism but diet may also help. Check with your doctor before making significant changes to your eating habits.
Avoid cruciferous vegetables because they can impair the function of your thyroid. These vegetables include broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, cruciferous vegetables have been found in some cases to cause hypothyroidism. These cases tend to be rare and occur when consuming very large quantities of these vegetables. However, if your thyroid function is already compromised, cruciferous vegetables should be avoided.
Vegetables like red bell peppers, carrots and orange-flesh squash should be an important part of your diet for hypothyroidism. Additionally, fruits like berries and tomatoes contain antioxidant substances that can help maintain a healthier immune system that can be impaired by an underactive thyroid. Antioxidants are substances that can help protect your body's cells from damage by damaging substances known as free radicals. Free radicals, which are produced as a byproduct of cellular metabolism, can cause significant damage in the body. Some types of cancer, including thyroid cancer, have been associated with the presence of free radical substances.
According to the University of Maryland, eating foods that are high in B vitamins may provide benefit to you if you have hypothyroidism, by encouraging the reduction of symptoms. B vitamins are commonly found in whole grain products, meats, and many vegetables. Sea vegetables like kelp are significant sources of natural iodine which can also help reduce symptoms of hypothyroidism. These vegetables may also help stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more hormones in people who have not had the gland removed or destroyed due to medical procedures.
Soy products like soy milk and tofu can impair the absorption of supplemental thyroid hormone as well as any thyroid hormone your body is still able to produce. Check with your physician before using any food product that contains soy and be sure to check nutritional labels for hidden sources of soy. A study conducted by Loma Linda University reviewed the effects of soy on thyroid functioning. The review found that soy consumption doesn't appear to adversely affect the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone replacement. Nevertheless, the review suggests that the dosage of thyroid replacement medication may need to be adjusted if soy products are consumed.
- Riverside: Hypothyroidism
- PubMed Health: Hypothyroidism
- Oregon State University: Linus Pauling Institute: Cruciferous Vegetables
- National Cancer Institute: Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention: Fact Sheet
- Thyroid: Effects of Soy Protein and Soybean Isoflavones on Thyroid Function in Healthy Adults and Hypothyroid Patients
- Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.