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Thyroid Diet – What Foods To Eat And Avoid For Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism

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Before proceeding to the thyroid diet, it is important to know and understand the thyroid problem. Thyroid or thyroid gland is basically one of the largest endocrine glands present in the neck below the thyroid cartilage (which forms the “Adam’s apple). It has a butterfly like shape with two wings attached by a middle part (isthmus). This gland controls most of the body’s organ functions such as usage of energy by the body, making proteins and controlling the body’s sensitivity to other hormones. It is involved in the production of thyroid hormones of which, the most important are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine, also known as tetraiodothyronine (T4) which account for 99% and 1% of thyroid hormones present in the blood respectively. The thyroid gland uses iodine from food sources like seafood, bread and salt to produce thyroid hormones.

Thyroid problems have become widespread, especially among women. There are basically two main thyroid disorders:

  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is characterized by production of thyroid hormone below the normal level. It often results in weight gain and is the most common form of thyroid disorder.
  • Hyperthyroidism: This disorder is characterized by excessive production of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms include increased heart rate, depression, weight loss and cognitive slowing. Medications include the use of radioactive iodine and thyroid surgery.

There are several disorders that contribute to hypothyroidism and these disorders involve the thyroid gland directly and indirectly. Since thyroid hormones are involved in growth, development and various other cellular processes in the body, inadequate thyroid hormones can lead to several health implications. It can cause delays in growth and intellectual development of children. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include tiredness, cold intolerance and weight gain

Iodine deficiency is one of the most common factors of hypothyroidism worldwide. Excessive iodine deficiency can even lead to an autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Some other factors of hypothyroidism are as follows:

  • Exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides
  • Exposure to heavy metals like mercury
  • Chronic stress

Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed through blood tests for thyroxine and thyroid stimulating hormone.

Thyroid Diet:

Losing weight becomes much more difficult if you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism. It causes a slowdown in your metabolism, ultimately leading to low energy levels. These conditions interfere with your efforts to lose weight. You need to follow a few tips for successfully losing weight.

1. Consult With Your Physician:

If you are suffering from thyroid disorder, it is extremely important to consult with your physician for his suggestions regarding your treatment. Thyroid patients generally have to work harder and pay greater attention to their food intake. The results are often not as quick as expected. So you need to be fully aware of how you are supposed to obtain positive results in losing weight. Follow the advice of your physician regarding the methods to be implemented to lose weight safely with low thyroid.

2. Drink Plenty Of Water:

Drinking adequate water is beneficial for everyone’s well-being. But a person with a thyroid problem needs to go beyond the norm as he needs to put additional efforts. Regular diets recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day but a thyroid diet plan requires the patient to drink an additional glass of water for every pound of weight he/she wishes to lose. Water speeds up your metabolism, thus helping to reduce appetite, eliminate water retention and bloating and facilitate proper digestion.

3. Increase Your Intake Of Fiber:

A thyroid patient needs to consume the recommended amount of fiber to lose weight. Foods that are good sources of fiber include fruits, nuts, vegetables and whole grains. You can increase the intake of fiber both in the form of foods and supplements.

4. Have A Cup Of Green Tea:

Hypothyroid patients often feel sluggish and too tired to work out. But to lose weight successfully, they require additional energy to exercise. Having a cup of green tea can make them feel more energized and motivated to exercise.

5. Exercise Regularly:

A daily exercise regimen is beneficial for working out your body and strengthening your muscles. People with low thyroid condition need to incorporate a fairly long and strenuous workout. A rigorous workout will improve the patient’s metabolism and help him lose weight. A thyroid patient can try exercises like weight bearing or aerobics. Strength training is an effective way to build lean muscle which improves the body’s ability to burn more calories when not exercising. A pound of muscle can burn up to 60 calories in a day as compared to a pound of fat which burns just 6 to 10 calories each day. Thus, adding more muscle means burning more calories.

6. Opt For A Medication That Is Conducive To Your Weight Loss Efforts:

It is advisable to consult with a physician for alternative medications that do not interfere with weight loss efforts. A hypothyroid patient can consider taking natural supplements such as seaweed and iodine, which help in improving a thyroid issue.

Thyroid Diet Chart:

Thyroid patients need to be careful about the foods they eat. There are certain foods which help in improving the thyroid issue and certain others which act as trigger foods and should be avoided. The chart given below shows the thyroid diet food list which should be eaten and avoided in case of thyroid disorders.

Hypothyroid Diet:

HYPOTHYROIDISM (LOW THYROID FUNCTION)
Food items to be eatenFood items to be avoided
Iodine rich foods like iodized salt, seafood etcSoy products and soybeans
Foods rich in antioxidants and vitamin C such as tomatoes, cherries, squash, bell peppers etcRaw foods like cabbage, broccoli, mustard reens, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, pears, peaches, strawberries, radishes, spinach, turnip, peanuts, millets etc (should be eaten cooked in small quantities)
Skimmed dairy productsSoya milk
Foods rich in vitamin B and iron like whole grains, fresh and sea vegetablesRed meat
Vitamins or minerals supplements particularly iron after consulting your physicianWhole milk or heavy cream
Skinless chickenExcess butter
Beans and nuts( for protein)
Dairy products
Fish, eggs and mushrooms (for omega 3)
Berries (for antioxidants)

 Hyperthyroid/ Overactive Thyroid Diet:

HYPERTHYROIDISM ( OVERACTIVE THYROID FUNCTION)
Food items to be eatenFood items to be avoided
Olive oil (for cooking)Soft drinks
Honey (as a sweetener)Foods containing concentrated sweeteners, sugar, sugarcane, corn syrup and chocolate
ApricotsAlcohol and caffeine
Vegetables and grainsPasta and white bread
Whole wheat pasta and brown breadRed meat like mutton and pork
Walnutsantibiotics

Hence, you can succeed in losing weight even if you have thyroid disorder through dedication and discipline. Besides paying attention to your diet and exercise, you need to keep your stress levels at a minimum to get noticeable results. Moreover, it is important to get the disorder cured by taking regular medication.

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