The thyroid gland is one of the most important glands of the body and it secretes hormones that control growth, metabolism and initiates cell repair. When Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) sent by the pituitary gland signals the thyroid gland to secrete thyroid hormones, they are released into the bloodstream. Hormonal imbalance may occur when these hormones are secreted either less than or more than required. Hypothyroidism is a medical condition where the patient’s body does not secrete sufficient thyroid hormones. It occurs when the thyroid gland fails to release thyroid hormones in spite of signals sent by TSH. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a disease that often leads to primary hypothyroidism due to the body’s immunity system attacking the thyroid gland.
Other causes of primary hypothyroidism can be side effects of medicines, genetic problems and iodine deficiency in the body. At times, it may also happen that the pituitary gland malfunctions and fails to release the TSH which signals the thyroid gland, causing secondary hypothyroidism. As a result of this condition, growth and metabolism in the body suffer a setback and people suffer from symptoms like fatigue, hair loss and weight gain. This problem has been seen to occur mostly in women than in men.
On the contrary, hyperthyroidism is a condition that is caused when the thyroid gland produces too much of thyroid hormones than is needed by the body. This results in too rapid metabolism in the body, causing extreme weight loss and irregularity in heartbeat rate. Patients of hyperthyroidism can lead a normal life with treatment and medications that slows down the secretion of thyroid hormones. The most common type of hyperthyroidism is Grave’s disease where the immune system of the body attacks the thyroid gland and makes it secrete too much of T4 hormone.
Foods cannot be the cure for either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. You will obviously need to seek medical treatment to combat the issue but maintaining the right diet can definitely help you control hormonal imbalance in the body. There are foods that can help in the secretion of thyroid hormone while there are foods that inhibit the formation of thyroid hormones in the body. When you take the right foods and medicines together, all symptoms of thyroid imbalance will remain under control.
Foods and Nutrients Required By The Body in Case of Hypothyroidism
There are the nutrients that your body lacks when you suffer from hypothyroidism. Therefore, your daily diet must try to replenish these nutrients through the food items that you eat. These are:-
Iodine is the most important nutrient needed by your body to make thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is one of the biggest reasons for hypothyroidism in patients. Almost most of the hypothyroidism patients suffer from high iodine deficiency in the body. People having iodized salt and iodine rich food are less likely to suffer from hypothyroidism. Therefore, to fulfil this deficiency, you must try having iodine rich seafood, seaweed, dairy products, and iodized salt.
Selenium is another very important mineral that activates the secreted thyroid hormones so that they can be used in the body after they are released into the bloodstream. It also helps to protect the thyroid gland from free radical damage. Having legumes, eggs and fish like tuna and sardine is a good way to add some necessary selenium in your diet.
Zinc has the same function as selenium and is another essential nutrient needed by hypothyroidism patients. Zinc can also regulate the release of TSH in the body so that the thyroid gland can produce enough thyroid hormones. People with zinc deficiencies must include chicken, oyster and other zinc rich foods in their diet.
This is a particular amino acid found in legumes, dairy products and meat which helps the thyroid gland produce T3 and T4 hormones.
- Foods rich in antioxidants-
People suffering from hypothyroidism must include a lot of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, oranges, bell peppers in their diet as it is necessary for overall fitness as well as normal functioning of the thyroid gland.
- Herbal teas-
Having your daily cup of tea infused with herbs like tulsi, chamomile, sage and ashwagandha is known to have a good effect on your thyroid gland and regulate the flow of hormones. Buy the best thyroid tea online from Teatox Life.
Foods to Avoid in Case of Hypothyroidism
Just like there are foods and nutrients that must be taken to improve your hormonal levels in case of hypothyroidism, there are products having nutrients that may be harmful for your condition. These are known to restrict the secretion of thyroid hormones and can be detrimental in this case.
In case of hypothyroidism you must avoid food containing goitrogens. Goitrogen is a compound found in certain foods which can cause problems with the normal functioning of thyroid gland. These compounds are present in:
- Soy foods like tofu
- Vegetables like cabbage, spinach, broccoli
- Starch rich foods like sweet potatoes
- Certain nuts like pine nuts and peanuts.
- Processed foods
- Certain beverages like coffee, aerated drinks and alcohol
- Refrain from red meat and fatty foods and deep fried dishes.
It is better if you avoid these foods containing goitrogens or eat them only in moderation.
Just like in case of hypothyroidism, there are certain foods that may aggravate your hyperthyroidism symptoms and some which may help to alleviate the condition. In case of severe hyperthyroidism, foods cannot provide complete cure but they can surely help to keep things in control when you take them along with the right medication. Your doctor will surely provide you with a list of things to eat and avoid if there are symptoms suggesting hyperthyroidism.
Foods to Include in Your Diet in Case of Hyperthyroidism
Here is a small list of the foods that help to control and inhibit the excess production of thyroid hormones in the body.
- Low-iodine food-
Since iodine helps to secrete thyroid hormones in the body, you must have foods that have low iodine in them to control the excess production of thyroid hormones. In that case you must have non-iodized salt and unsalted nuts. Checking the intake of iodine is very necessary in hyperthyroidism.
Include all kinds of berries in your diet as they are loaded with antioxidants and you need them to take care of your immunity. Berries are also helpful in case of patients with hyperthyroidism.
- Cruciferous vegetables-
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, kale, etc. have high amounts of goitrogen compounds that are known to decrease thyroid hormones in the body. Just like in hypothyroidism you are advised not to include cruciferous vegetables in your diet; hyperthyroidism requires you to eat them daily in order to keep your thyroid hormones in check.
Hyperthyroidism leads to extreme weight loss. Therefore, you require proteins in your daily diet to maintain good health. Eat turkey, chicken and lamb but in moderate proportions.
- Calcium rich food-
Include milk and dairy products in your daily diet to have calcium every day. Since hyperthyroidism can lead to weak bones and osteoporosis, you must keep having calcium in little portions every day. However, you must have these in moderation.
- Vitamin D-
People with hyperthyroidism also suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. To fulfil it, include Vitamin D rich foods like soy milk, fortified cereals, eggs, mushroom, tuna and sardines in your diet.
Some spices have anti-inflammatory properties that help the thyroid gland to function normally and balance the level of hormones. Include green chilli, black pepper and turmeric in your food to have these essential spices daily.
- Healthy fats-
Unprocessed fats are healthy and are needed by the body to improve thyroid health. The sources of healthy fats are olive oil, avocado, unsalted nuts, sunflower oil and flaxseed oil.
Foods to Avoid in Hyperthyroidism
You must also try to avoid or absolutely limit the portions of foods that increase the production of thyroid hormones in the body. These are:
- Iodine rich foods-
Avoid having iodized salt, egg yolks, cheese and seafood like prawns, seaweed, squids, lobsters and crabs. These products can worsen your hyperthyroidism.
- Nitrate rich foods-
Nitrate rich foods are harmful for hyperthyroidism because they cause the body to absorb iodine. Avoid eating all kinds of processed meats like bacon, salami and sausages. Other food substances like beet, garlic, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, cabbage too contain nitrates. You do not have to leave eating them altogether but have them in controlled quantities.
To sum things up, medications are definitely necessary to correct imbalances of thyroid hormones, but having the right diet along with medications is a better way to regain control. Ask your doctor for the correct diet chart and try to know about what foods to eat daily in what proportions, and which to avoid depending on your thyroid condition. In that way, you can lead a normal life by sticking to a healthy diet and by having a herbal approach to life.