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16 Foods To Avoid If You Want A Healthy Thyroid Gland

The thyroid is one of the most important glands in your body, yet it remains rather neglected. This butterfly-shaped gland secretes hormones that manage various essential functions in your body like metabolizing food, regulating your sleep patterns, body temperature, weight management, mood swings, depression and anxiety.

Healthcare practitioners rely solely on blood tests, and subsequently prescription hormone therapy to treat thyroid-related problems. Although you might not be able to treat or reverse hypothyroidism through your diet, you can certainly manage it by eating and avoiding certain foods.

Crash Diets

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You don’t need to be an expert in nutrition to know that starving yourself is never a good idea. One of the many problems with crash diets and fasting regimes is that they are extremely bad for your thyroid.

When you dramatically lower your calorie intake or deprive your body of sustenance for certain periods of time, you are signaling to your body and your thyroid that you are experiencing famine and it will do everything it can to help you survive.

One of its survival mechanisms is for the thyroid to release a hormone that slows down your metabolism. If you are starving to death in the middle of the desert, this may come in handy, however if you are trying to lose weight – not so much.

Have you ever tried any crash diets? How did that work out for you? Would you do it again? We would love to know in the comments section!

Beans

Beans have a combination of naturally occurring substances such as goitrogens and lectins which can potentially cause problems for your thyroid.

Proper preparation and handling of these foods can limit your exposure to these plant-based chemicals. But keep in mind, not everyone may tolerate them the same even after the correct preparation.

These chemicals can potentially cause problems to your gut health as well, so it is best to avoid beans if you have thyroid issues.

If absolutely necessary, you can re-introduce them at a later date. But if you notice abdominal pain or bloating afterward, you should stop immediately.

Artificial sweeteners

Non Caloric sweeteners like Splenda can change how glucose is regulated in your body. It can also change the composition of gut microflora for the worse. This, in turn, can trigger autoimmune disorders because the gut is tightly linked to the immune system. It has also been suggested that artificial sweetener use may be connected to thyroid problems.

In one study, the use of sweeteners was weakly associated with increased levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH which is a sign of hypothyroidism. In the same study, two-thirds of patients saw improvements in their TSH and thyroid antibody levels when they stopped using artificial sweeteners.

Walnuts

Walnuts contain biotin, a B-vitamin that converts the fat, carbohydrates, and proteins in your body into energy. While biotin doesn’t interfere with thyroid hormone measurements, if foods that contain the vitamin are taken at the same time as thyroid hormone replacement medications, they can interfere with absorption.

Eliminate walnuts from your diet if you don’t want it to mess with your medication. And if the nut is one of your favorite snacks, wait a few hours after taking your medication before indulging.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are usually super-good for you. But you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to your thyroid.

These vegetables contain goitrogens, which can aggravate hypothyroidism. It’s more of a problem for people with iodine deficiency or those who eat huge amounts of goitrogens.

Goitrogens are not as active when they’re cooked, so eat them cooked. It may sound weird, but if you have a precondition, eating these vegetables raw and in large quantities could affect your thyroid.

Iodine

Too much iodine can damage your thyroid and make you feel sluggish, a symptom of hypothyroidism. It’s like Goldilocks, If you have too much, it’s no good. If you have too little, it’s no good. You’ll find iodine in iodized salt and iodine supplements.

Ask your doctor to give you a 24-hour urine test for iodine. If you have too much, stop taking the types of multivitamins that have iodine.

Calcium Supplements

Whether you take this mineral in a multivitamin or alone, calcium supplements may counteract the medication you take to treat your underactive thyroid.

Calcium supplements may affect your ability to absorb levothyroxine, the synthetic thyroid hormone found in certain medications.

There’s a very strict way to take thyroid medication. You take it the same way every day, at least one hour before food and never with calcium, iron or other minerals. Try to take your thyroid medication as soon as you wake up and eat the mineral supplements with food at dinnertime or before bed.

Heated Food In Plastic

Think twice before reheating your plastic bowl of takeout soup or keeping that frozen dinner in its original container when you microwave it. Put it on a plate or in a bowl made from ceramics like bone china, stoneware, porcelain or glazed earthenware.

Your thyroid is part of your endocrine system, and you can disrupt it by heating food in plastic.

Endocrine disruptors are in many everyday plastic products, including bottles, food, and containers with BPA. Endocrine disruptors work by mimicking naturally occurring hormones in your body, like thyroid hormones.

Gluten

As the primary protein in grains like wheat, barley, and rye, gluten is found in abundance throughout much of the Western diet.

While creating gluten is generally not a problem for most people, it can impair nutrient absorption and trigger inflammation in the gut for those with celiac disease.

Unfortunately, people with hypothyroidism caused by an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto’s disease are also at a higher risk of being affected by celiac disease.

That means it’s necessary for some people to avoid gluten completely in order to maintain thyroid function.

Soy

There are plenty of reasons to keep soy out of your diet, starting with the detrimental effects that soy can have on your thyroid gland. Soy foods like tofu, edamame and soybeans contain isoflavones, which are compounds that act as goitrogens in your body and inhibit the production of thyroid hormones.

Steer clear of soy products and select fermented soy foods to minimize the concentration of goitrogenic compounds in your diet. Good substitutions include tempeh and natto.

Green Tea

In moderation, green tea can be a great addition to a healthy, well-rounded diet. However, some animal studies show that green tea extract consumed in high amounts can actually alter thyroid function and throw your hormone levels out of whack.

Stick to one to two cups per day to squeeze in some extra nutrients and antioxidants without compromising the health of your thyroid.

Coffee

Don’t worry! You don’t have to stop drinking your morning cup of joe! But if you are taking thyroid medications, be aware that coffee contains an acid that can impair the absorption of your thyroid medication. Wait at least an hour after you’ve taken your medication before drinking coffee, including decaf.

Coffee might be bad for your thyroid, but it has a wide range of health benefits for your body.

Alcohol

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that alcohol can potentially cause problems to organs in your body. What may surprise you is that alcohol also tends to cause problems directly with your thyroid gland.

Alcohol has been shown to blunt your thyroid by inhibiting the release of certain hormones due to the fact that it is toxic to certain cells in your body. Alcohol can also promote obesity through its influence on insulin resistance and it can ultimately lead to liver damage which can further impair thyroid function and conversion.

If you have thyroid disease, then you should completely avoid alcohol.

Dairy

Dairy products are usually loaded with lactose and also added sugars that muck up intestinal health and weaken your immune system.

Over 80 percent of the antibiotics produced end up going to livestock which most commonly impacts dairy, chicken, and red meat. These antibiotics contribute to a compromised microbiome, which ultimately impacts thyroid health.

Dairy also induces surge insulin which impacts thyroid function and inflammatory markers.

Sugar

Unstable blood sugar and thyroid problems often go hand-in-hand. To maintain balanced blood sugar, the thyroid must be healthy. To maintain a healthy thyroid, blood sugar must be stable. You can’t have one without the other.

All forms of refined carbohydrates, especially from processed foods, require extra insulin to lower the drastic spike in blood glucose that these foods cause. Over time, this leads to insulin resistance because more insulin is required as the blood sugar becomes higher and higher.

Surprisingly, it all comes back to your hormones. When the blood sugar is out of whack, so are the hormones that eventually impact your thyroid. Ironically, even someone with normal blood sugar can present with symptoms of low blood sugar like dizziness, fainting, headache, hunger and irritability, if they’re hypothyroid.

When the cells don’t get the glucose they need, your body becomes distressed and thyroid function is further impaired.

Processed Foods

Processed foods are loaded with sodium and it is recommended that those with hypothyroidism should avoid excess sodium.

Having an underactive thyroid increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and eating too much sodium can increase this risk further.

Which of the foods that we mentioned would be most difficult for you to give up? Let us know in the comments section below!

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