There are over 20 million Americans suffering from a thyroid condition, but it’s safe to assume that they majority of them don’t think about their thyroid when it comes to diet and nutrition. Having a thyroid condition is no walk in the park because various nutrients can heavily influence how they thyroid functions. The secret to improving thyroid health is to pay close attention to what you eat, because foods cause the most harm.
Regulating the metabolism and the release of hormones, the thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the front of your neck. The most common thyroid issue is hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid condition that is associated with weight gain, forgetfulness, extreme fatigue, and depression. Some factors, which lead to the development of hypothyroidism, are out your hands. You cannot control family history and environmental pollutants, but you can control what foods you put on your plate. You can either choose thyroid friendly foods, or foods that continue to damage the thyroid.
Becoming mindful of what you eat can take time, but the road to a balanced thyroid is not easy. The best place to start is by eating your colors (i.e. fresh fruits and vegetables of all colors), trying your best to purchase organic, and avoiding artificial colors and flavors. As much as it may pain you to hear, it is wise to exclude fried foods, processed foods, sugary treats, ice cream, and alcohol from your diet. To help guide you in a healthier direction, steer clear of the following foods that can worsen hypothyroidism.
Tuna And Swordfish:
Swordfish, shark, kingfish, mackerel, and tuna are predator fish and tend to contain more mercury than smaller fish. The longer the life of the fish, the more chemicals it can accumulate. It is acceptable to eat about two servings per week of these predator fish. You should also cut out farmed fish like salmon from your diet. Their mercury levels are high because they are fed the chum of other fish.
Some researchers have posed the link between excess soy consumption and an increased risk of hypothyroidism. Containing isoflavones, soy has been known to interfere with healthy endocrine function, meaning that soy can disrupt hormonal balance in the body. One study found that women who ate soy products experienced the same hormone altering results as when they were given tamoxifen, a drug used for breast cancer patients. Foods that contain soy include natto, tofu, soy sauce, most fake meat products, soy lecithin, soybean oil (vegetable oil), tempeh, and soymilk.
The American population has become accustomed to consuming a diet rich in processed white flour, so the idea of not eating gluten and grains is not typically received with a sense of joy. Increasing research is pointing towards a strong link between the consumption of gluten-rich foods and the increased percentage of autoimmune diseases. A 2017 article in the journal Endocrine Connections found that celiac disease and hypothyroidism are often present together. Someone who eats a lot of gluten increases their risk of protein particles, like gliadin, entering the blood. The immune system recognizes this as an intruder and takes care of the problem, but increased gluten consumption over years can cause the immune system to attack healthy tissue. This is essentially what happens in those with Hashimoto’s disease.
Just like gluten, sugar can be a tough one to give up because it’s in so many things that people enjoy eating. Most people consume an excess amount of sugar, which contributes to excess fat storage in the body. Because hypothyroidism slows the body’s metabolism, it cannot efficiently burn the sugar you eat, which is a common reason for weight gain. In order to balance blood sugar levels, one should consume fruits with protein sources, like raw nuts, seeds, or green vegetables, to avoid glucose spikes. Solely consuming sugar from fruit is a great way to enhance thyroid function, balance blood glucose, and encourage weight loss.
Alcohol wrecks thyroid hormone levels; there’s no two ways about it. In addition to damaging thyroid hormone levels, alcohol can also affect the thyroid’s ability to produce thyroid hormones by suppressing the gland. In addition to affecting thyroid hormone production, the sugar in alcohol can cause glucose spikes and contribute to weight gain. People with hypothyroidism should eliminate alcohol from their diet to increase thyroid function.