Wondering what are the best foods to eat to heal hypothyroidism? To help you make better food choices I have compiled my top 5 diet tips to safeguard your thyroid health.
Before we delve into my diet tips let’s take a look at what should be on your plate.
There’s clear cut evidence a healthy, and nutritious diet can help heal your thyroid. The best hypothyroidism diet is based on eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, along with minimally processed gluten free grains, and legumes. You may also wish to add small amounts of wild fish, and grass fed meat to your weekly diet.
A hypothyroidism diet does not include highly processed sugars, and refined oils that have become so prevalent in our food supply. To add, I think milk, and dairy products should be excluded, or kept to a minimum.
This approach may seem extreme, but I think we can no longer ignore the evidence. The standard Australian diet (SAD) is just that…SAD! It’s leading us down the path of obesity, and chronic illness. In contrast, there’s consistent evidence that a healthy, gluten free diet supports so many aspects of health.
My Top 5 Diet Tips To Safeguard Your Thyroid
#1 Skip Strict Diets That Slow Thyroid Activity
First and foremost, avoid extreme diets that recommend ridiculously low calorie intake. This is especially important when you have hypothyroidism.
Any time you cut calories to lose weight you switch off activity of the iodide peroxidase enzymes. These enzymes are hardwired to conserve fuel when food is in short supply. Therefore, when you cut calories there is reduced conversion of T4 to T3.
Low T3 slows your metabolic rate which can lead to weight gain. As you can imagine, strict calorie controlled diets are counterproductive, even detrimental when you have a low thyroid.
#2 Avoid Processed Foods That Harm Thyroid Health
What are the most harmful foods to your thyroid?
As a Naturopath I believe the most thyroid-damaging foods are artificial sweeteners (aspartame and sucralose), refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), foods made with soy and corn (maize), toxic vegetable oils (soy and canola oil), and conventional fruit and vegetables that have been heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Yes! It’s possible to eat well on a budget. Having a well-stocked pantry, and fridge really helps in preparing nutritious meals quickly and easily at home.
Why are vegetable oils so harmful?
It may surprise you to see vegetable oils listed here as supermarkets sell truckloads. ‘Vegetable oil’ is the generic term for polyunsaturated oils derived mostly from soy and Canola oil. Clever marketing has made these cheap oils sound healthy to consumers. Veggies are not a source of dietary oil, and soy and Canola are not vegetables!
According to Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD from the Weston A. Price Foundation,
Excess consumption of polyunsaturated oils has been shown to contribute to a large number of disease conditions including increased cancer and heart disease, immune system dysfunction, damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs, digestive disorders, depressed learning ability, impaired growth and weight gain.
When it comes to thyroid health there’s a significant problem. Let me explain more…
Your thyroid cells are covered with a flexible fatty membrane. Any type of oil you consume, good or bad, is incorporated into your delicate thyroid cell membranes. If you are consuming harmful vegetable oils these fats will get incorporated into thyroid membranes. This can cause the thyroid cells to lose flexibility which dramatically affects the function of the cell. Overtime your thyroid ceases to function properly at a basic cell level.
It’s my hope you will decide now to never use vegetable oils again!
#3 Go 100% Gluten Free to Reduce Inflammation
Gluten sensitivity symptoms can be linked to specific digestive problems as well as broader health issues as gluten easily irritates the lining of the digestive tract which then triggers systemic inflammation. For this reason a 100% gluten free diet could not only stop bloating and indigestion, it could also help alleviate brain fog, fatigue, and finally help you lose weight around the belly.
A gluten hypersensitivity is usually self-diagnosable so it’s worth trialing a strict gluten-free diet for 4 weeks, and following up with comprehensive thyroid testing to see if this makes a difference.
Here’s a word of caution before buying gluten-free foods. Many gluten-free foods contain soy and corn ingredients which are used as cheap substitutes for gluten containing grains. You should avoid consuming soy and corn.
You can discover more here: Problem With Gluten? Here’s A Quick Gluten Intolerance Checklist
#4 Opt For Organic Fruit and Vegetables Whenever Possible
Ideally your diet is focused on foods from plants. Fruit and vegetables are your go to foods as they supply the most nutrition.
The thyroid is extremely sensitive to pesticides so it’s best to opt for organic produce whenever possible. A visit to your local farmers market is a great way to stock up on healthy organic produce for the week.
Your diet should also include other thyroid boosting foods such as seaweed, sea salt, turmeric, nuts, seeds, legumes, gluten free whole grains, and a small amount of oils such as organic cold pressed coconut oil, organic cold pressed macadamia oil, and organic extra virgin olive oil.
#5 Eat Foods That Fire Up Metabolism
No doubt you are already aware that being sensitive to cold weather is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. The thyroid regulates the body’s core body temperature, and when your thyroid is low the body is producing less heat.
According to traditional Ayurvedic medicine, our ‘agni’ refers to our digestive fire. What does a weak agni mean? When agni is weak there is not enough digestive fire to process food into energy.
You can tune into the natural wisdom of your body by eating foods that are warming and thereby fuel your agni. Conversely, cold and raw foods are not only harder to digest, they dampen your digestive fire. For this reason they are best kept to a minimum.
- If you have been trying to lose weight eliminating gluten from your diet will help you finally lose the belly fat.
- Eating habits can take time to change. For this reason, you don’t have to follow my top 5 diet tips to safeguard your thyroid to the letter. You could start by just by swapping some nutritious foods in, and some processed foods out. It really is about finding what works for you.
- Don’t forget to stay hydrated. When you are properly hydrated, your urine should be pale yellow in color.
- You have come to a fork in the road. Therefore what choices will you make? I believe embracing a nutritious, plant-based diet is one of the best things you can do for your thyroid health. Along with stress management, and regular exercise it could make all the difference. You deserve to live with vibrant health, and vitality.
Falloon, S. Enig, MG. The Skinny on Fats. January 1, 2000. Link