Diet for hypothyroidism: Healthy foods that may negatively affect thyroid function

Chris Kamara discusses his underactive thyroid diagnosis

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Other signs of an underactive thyroid include sensitivity to the cold, constipation, slow movement and thought, and muscle cramps. Could your diet be making the condition worse? According to Medical News Today, some nutrients can interfere with thyroid health. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid might ease if people eat less foods that contain goitrogens.

Healthy foods containing goitrogens include:

  • Collards
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Russian kale
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli rabe
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage.

However, “goitrogenic compounds are mostly deactivated when the foods are cooked”.

Eaten in regular amounts, these vegetables are beneficial for your overall health and do not interfere with thyroid function.

It’s only when these healthy foods are eaten in large amounts that thyroid function might be affected, and symptoms might be more severe.

Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid include:

  • Muscle aches and weakness
  • Dry and scaly skin
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Loss of libido (sex drive)
  • Pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Irregular periods or heavy periods.

Research has indicated that soy may also interfere with how the body produces thyroid hormones.

This was illustrated in a case study put forward by researchers based at Showa University, Japan.

A 72-year-old woman – who developed severe hypothyroidism – had been regularly consuming a soy-heavy health drink for six months.

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As soon as the woman stopped drinking the soy-based health drink, alongside medication, her condition greatly improved.

Food and drinks that contain soy:

  • Soy milk
  • Soy sauce
  • Edamame
  • Tofu
  • Miso.

Researcher at the Medical University of Silesia, Poland, suggested that autoimmune thyroid disease is often accompanied by celiac disease.

It’s for this reason that removing gluten from the diet could improve thyroid function.

Foods that contain gluten:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cereals
  • Biscuits or crackers
  • Cakes and pastries
  • Pies
  • Gravies and sauces.

Thankfully, many supermarkets now have gluten-free aisles which will make shopping much easier.

Medical News Today encourages people with autoimmune hypothyroidism to try a gluten-free diet to see if symptoms improve.

What do you mean by autoimmune hypothyroidism?

The NHS explained that one of the causes of an underactive thyroid is when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.

Damaged, the thyroid gland is then unable to make enough of the hormone thyroxine.

This autoimmune condition is called Hashimoto’s disease, which tends to run in families.

If you’re taking medication to treat an underactive thyroid, Medical News Today recommend taking it on an empty stomach.

This is to allow the body to “absorb it fully”, which can take up to an hour.

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