Foods to Avoid During Thyroid – A Detailed Guide
Published: 05:47AM 03 May 2023
Thyroid diseases have become very common nowadays, and it is estimated that around 42 million people in India suffer from some form of thyroid disorder. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck region, and it is responsible for regulating various bodily functions such as metabolism, body temperature, heart rate, and many more. When this gland malfunctions, it can result in either an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, leading to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, respectively. One way to manage thyroid disease is through dietary changes. In this article, we will discuss foods to avoid during thyroid and provide a detailed guide to managing thyroid disease in India.
Foods to Avoid During Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces an excess amount of thyroid hormones, leading to a faster metabolism. The following foods should be avoided during hyperthyroidism:
- Iodine-Rich Foods: While iodine is essential for thyroid function, too much iodine can lead to an overactive thyroid gland. Foods that are high in iodine include iodized salt, fish, and packaged dairy products. People with hyperthyroidism should limit their intake of these foods.
- Caffeine: Caffeine can stimulate the nervous system and increase heart rate, which can exacerbate hyperthyroidism symptoms. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate are all high in caffeine and should be avoided.
- Processed Foods: Processed foods contain high levels of sodium and preservatives that can aggravate hyperthyroidism symptoms. Packaged snacks, canned foods, and fast food should be avoided.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage contain goitrogens, which can interfere with thyroid hormone production. While these vegetables are healthy, people with hyperthyroidism should consume them in moderation.
- Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Some studies have shown that people with hyperthyroidism may have a higher risk of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid gluten-rich foods.
Foods to Avoid During Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, resulting in a slower metabolism. The following foods should be avoided during hypothyroidism:
- Soy Products: Soy products like tofu, soy milk, and edamame contain compounds that can interfere with thyroid hormone production. People with hypothyroidism should limit their intake of soy products.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: As mentioned earlier, cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens that can interfere with thyroid hormone production. People with hypothyroidism should consume them in moderation.
- Gluten: Gluten can also interfere with thyroid hormone production, especially in people with autoimmune thyroid disease. Therefore, it is recommended to limit gluten intake.
- Sugary Foods: Sugary foods like cakes, pastries, and candies can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can worsen hypothyroidism symptoms. People with hypothyroidism should limit their intake of sugary foods.
- High-Fat Foods: High-fat foods can interfere with thyroid hormone production and absorption. People with hypothyroidism should limit their intake of high-fat foods like fried foods, processed meats, and high-fat dairy products.
Foods to Eat During Thyroid
While there are certain foods to avoid during thyroid disease, there are also foods that can help manage the condition. The following foods should be included in the diet for people with thyroid disease:
- Lean Protein: Lean protein sources like chicken, fish, dals, pulses and tofu can help boost thyroid function and maintain muscle mass.
- Whole Grains: Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bran, jowar, bajra, ragi, and oats are rich in fiber and can help regulate blood sugar levels. They also provide essential nutrients like selenium, which is important for thyroid function.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients like vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. They also provide fiber, which can aid digestion.
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds are rich in essential minerals like selenium and zinc, which are important for thyroid function.
- Low-Fat Dairy Products: Low-fat dairy products like skim milk and low-fat yogurt are good sources of calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health. They also provide iodine, which is important for thyroid function.
- Herbal Teas: Herbal teas like green tea, chamomile tea, and ginger tea can help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
Managing Thyroid Disease
Apart from dietary changes, there are other ways to manage thyroid disease in India. Here are a few tips:
- Get Regular Check-Ups: People with thyroid disease should get regular check-ups to monitor their thyroid hormone levels and adjust their medication if necessary.
- Exercise Regularly: Exercise can help boost metabolism and improve thyroid function. It can also help manage weight, which is important for people with thyroid disease.
- Manage Stress: Stress can exacerbate thyroid disease symptoms. People with thyroid disease should practice stress-management techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
- Avoid Smoking: Smoking can interfere with thyroid function and exacerbate thyroid disease symptoms. People with thyroid disease should avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
- Follow Medication Guidelines: People with thyroid disease should follow their medication guidelines carefully and not skip doses. They should also avoid taking supplements without consulting their doctor, as some supplements can interfere with thyroid function.
Managing thyroid disease through dietary changes is possible. People with thyroid disease should avoid certain foods like iodine-rich foods, caffeine, processed foods, soy products, and gluten. They should also include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy products, and herbal teas in their diet. In addition to dietary changes, people with thyroid disease should also get regular check-ups, exercise regularly, manage stress, avoid smoking, and follow their medication guidelines. With these lifestyle changes, people with thyroid disease can effectively manage their condition and lead a healthy life.
Jayti Shah is a Clinical Nutritionist with a master's degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA). Over the last 9 years, she has helped 400 clients in their clinical and weight loss journeys. She works with SocialBoat as a nutrition consultant.
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