In an earlier blog we considered thyroid function testing and results and what to consider.
The way in which food can affect thyroid health is a HUGE topic – too large to do justice to it in a single blog post. However, in this article, we’ll be looking at some of the key foods that can affect your thyroid system.
Foods To Keep an Eye On For Thyroid Health …
1. Goitrogenic vegetables
Ever been told to eat your greens?
Well, there’s some logic behind it.
Green veg contains a whole host of vitamins and minerals.
However, there’s (always) a but.
In particular, we’re considering the impact of food on goiters, a common form of hypothyroidism (i.e. low thyroid function) which is a noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland.
When it comes to food, goitrogens are chemical compounds that can interfere with the uptake of iodine for normal thyroid production. Goitrogens are found in cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, greens and cabbage.
For women with an underactive thyroid due to iodine deficiency, eating high volumes of these vegetables raw should be avoided since the goitrogens in them can interfere with the uptake of iodine for normal thyroid production – which can be an issue for anyone with a thyroid that is already compromised.
However, cruciferous vegetables do not need to be avoided altogether. Just consider cooking them until soft or fermenting first and consider whether your iodine levels are adequate when consuming them.
2. Soy products
Soy is also goitrogenic. Unfortunately, unlike raw cruciferous vegetables, cooking it does not render the goitrogenic compounds in soy inactive.
If you have both low thyroid function and low iodine levels, it is best to avoid.
… and 3 Foods To Consider Adding In
1. Brazil nuts
For anyone with selenium deficiency, increasing your selenium intake can help protect your thyroid from free radicals. A great source is a couple of Brazil nuts each day.
Low iodine levels have been found to impact thyroid function.
Foods such as seaweed, as well as spirulina, are a good source of iodine for those with low thyroid function. However, it requires a “goldilocks” approach – i.e. not too much, not too little.
While low iodine levels are linked to hypothyroidism, excess iodine levels can inhibit the release of thyroidal hormones and in some studies there has been a suggested linked between excess iodine and a higher incidence of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (i.e. an autoimmune disease where immune cells turn against and destroy the thyroid).1
3. Vitamin D
It is thought that vitamin D deficiency is closely connected with Hashimoto thyroiditis. It is found readily in many fortified foods, such as milk, and also naturally in foods such as liver. You can top up for free if you go out in the sun, but consider an appropriate vitamin D supplement if you do not have regular daily exposure or live in a northern climate.
Note: Before you go about making changes to your diet, please consider that each person’s requirements are specific to them and further appropriate advice should be sought.
Need some help?
These foods above represent just some of the ways in which you can influence thyroid function through nutrition. Of course, there are many other foods, as well as lifestyle strategies available, that may either support or impede thyroid and overall hormonal health.
If you would like to connect for a complimentary consultation, then contact Wendy at The FIT Movement directly through the contact page to arrange your appointment.
About: Wendy Goldthorp is the Founder and Director of The FIT Movement Limited and creator of the FIT Movement classes in Exeter. She is a woman’s wellness + exercise specialist who gets where you are right now. She goes the extra mile to ensure you keep on track and believes that YOU can undoubtedly improve YOUR health, wellness + happiness through exercise + nutrition. Plus, she keeps it fun and informative.
She is a certified 3rd Age Woman instructor through Burrell Education and a Level 1 Precision Nutrition Coach. She works with midlife women from perimenopause, menopause and beyond and supports them for a positive menopause experience. Wendy is available to work with clients in person and online via Skype.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent health problems – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a qualified medical practitioner or health practitioner. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this blog. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed here.
1. Abraham, G.E. MD, Facts about iodine and autoimmune thyroiditis, The Original Internist. June 2008; 15(2); 75:76 quoted in Wentz, Isabella with Nowosadzka, Marta, “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause”, pub Wentz LLC, 2015.