Hypothyroid: Foods to Avoid and Foods to Eat for Thyroid

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The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland found just below Adam’s apple (base of the neck). Despite weighing little than an ounce, it creates hormones that have a significant impact on the health of virtually every organ, tissue, and cell in the body.

When the thyroid gland functions abnormally it causes many disorders that occur, most common disorders seen are hypothyroid and hyperthyroid.

Thyroid hormones are essential for our body to regulate our basal metabolic rate, our energy levels, our mood, heat generation and much more.

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body cannot produce enough thyroid hormone.

Low thyroid levels can cause and number of symptoms such as poor ability to tolerate cold, a feeling of tiredness, constipation, slow heart rate, depression, weight gain etc 

Hypothyroidism is so common that almost 5 out of 100 people suffer from it.

Majority of the patients are female as they have higher chances of developing autoimmune diseases and hypothyroidism is also a type of autoimmune disease.

The first line of treatment for hypothyroidism is medication, but what you eat can definitely interfere with your treatment.

Thus, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can also help with thyroid symptoms and function.

Nutrients That Are Important For Those With Hypothyroidism

There are many nutrients that are essential for thyroid health.

Also, people with hypothyroidism are more likely to have deficiencies of certain nutrients than the general population.


Iodine is an essential mineral that is needed to make thyroid hormones and a lack of this nutrient can lead to hypothyroidism. In fact, inadequate iodine intake is the most common cause of hypothyroidism around the world.

Although iodine deficiency is common in many regions of the world, it is less common in developed countries such as the United States because of the widespread use of iodized table salt. However, people who do not use iodized salt, pregnant women and people who eat a vegetarian diet are at a higher risk of having low iodine levels.

Foods rich in iodine include: Egg, milk, cheese, yoghurt, Cod, shrimps, sardines, Tuna, other good sources of iodine include fruits like bananas, strawberries, veggies like green leafy vegetable, onions and sweet potatoes, grains, nuts and legumes like peanut, barley, etc.


Selenium is a micronutrient that plays a role in thyroid hormone production and has antioxidant activity. It occurs naturally in thyroid tissue.

Including selenium-rich foods in your diet is a great way to increase your selenium levels. These include Brazil nuts, sardines,  tuna, eggs, and legumes.


Zinc is another nutrient that is essential for thyroid hormone production and thyroid function.

Not getting enough zinc can negatively impact your thyroid function and many other aspects of health, so getting enough of this nutrient in your diet is essential.

Including zinc-rich foods in your diet is a great way to increase your zinc levels. These include oysters, beef, crab, fortified cereals, pork, chicken, legumes, pumpkin seeds, yogurt.

Foods To Avoid

Some nutrients heavily influence the function of thyroid gland and these are known as “goitrogenic foods”. Goitrogens are compounds that disrupt the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. The term goitrogenic means something that causes goitre or swelling of thyroid glands. Goitrogens accomplish this by interfering with iodine uptake of the thyroid gland. When not enough iodine is available, the thyroid gland cannot produce sufficient levels of thyroid hormone t3 and t4.

Here the following foods to avoid or limit if you have hypothyroid

Soy and Soy products

The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume, and it is widely consumed throughout the world. It is a very good source of protein and is used to make many products like soy milk, soybean oil, tofu, edamame etc. Although it’s a very good food to include in your diet, the same cannot be said for people with hypothyroidism.

Cruciferous Vegetable

Although cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are packed with fiber and other nutrients, if you don’t get enough iodine, they may prevent your thyroid from producing thyroid hormones.

If you do, it’s a good idea to limit your intake of Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and turnips, because research suggests eating these vegetables mainly block the thyroid ability to utilise iodine which is essential for normal thyroid function. Cooking them can reduce the effect that cruciferous vegetables have on thyroid gland and limiting your intake of these (Cooked) vegetables even up to 5 ounces per day may help, as that amount has no adverse effect on thyroid function. 

Gluten and processed food:

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. This is an auto-immune condition in which the body’s immune system slowly destroys the thyroid gland. As a result, the amount of circulating thyroid hormone is greatly reduced in your body. This can lead to everything from weight gain to hair loss to heart problems. 

Gluten is a group of proteins that are found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten-free diet can help improve thyroid function while a diet high in vegetables and fruits may protect against cellular damage in people with Hashimoto’s disease and promote the maintenance of a healthy body weight. 

If you have an underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, you should consider reducing your intake of plant goitrogens. 

Maintaining a balanced and nutrient-rich diet, along with proper medical treatment, can contribute to better management of hypothyroidism and improved overall well-being. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant dietary changes, especially if you have a thyroid disorder or any other health conditions.

At Transform With Natasha, there are special programs for Thyroid Management. One of the Best Nutritionist in Mumbai for Weight Loss Programs and Thyroid Management special Diet Programs

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