Nowadays it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and confused about what to eat, especially when you are dealing with a thyroid disorder. To help you make better food choices I have compiled my top 5 diet tips to safeguard your thyroid, and live better.
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 nutritious, plant-based diet can make a big difference to your overall health, and vitality. A nutritious plant-based diet is based on vegetables, fruits, 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 nutritious plant-based diet does not include the 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 plant-based diet supports so many aspects of health.
My Top 5 Diet Tips To Safeguard Your Thyroid
#1 Skip the Strict Diets That Slow Thyroid Hormone Activity
First and foremost, avoid extreme diets that recommend ridiculously low calorie intake. This is especially important if you have an underactive thyroid.
At any time you cut calories to lose weight you switch off activity of the iodide peroxidase enzyme. This is the enzyme that’s hardwired to conserve fuel when food is in short supply. When you cut calories the iodide peroxidase enzyme slows conversion of T4 to T3.
A drop in available T3 triggers an automatic drop in your metabolic rate which can lead to weight gain. This makes strict calorie controlled diets counterproductive when you have a low thyroid disorder.
#2 Avoid Processed Foods That Can Destroy Your Thyroid Health
Making good food choices has become so confusing. It’s no wonder we have all eaten foods that sabotage our thyroid health.
What are the most harmful foods to your thyroid?
The list includes artificial sweeteners (aspartame and sucralose), refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), hidden soy and corn (maize) ingredients, conventional fruit and vegetables that have been heavily sprayed with pesticides, and vegetable oils.
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…
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 Silent 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 Your Metabolic Rate
If you’re feeling cold all the time you already know hypothyroidism is associated with a drop in core body temperature. Your body is producing less heat which is a sign you are experiencing a decline in metabolic activity.
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