When your thyroid gland is overactive, following a hyperthyroidism diet can make a difference. While a healthy diet can’t prevent or cure hyperthyroidism, it can help ease the symptoms. In a hyperthyroidism diet, there are specific foods you should eat and others to avoid.
Healthy foods in a hyperthyroidism diet can increase the effectiveness of your treatment plan. Plus, they can support your medication while unhealthy foods interfere with medication. Making these small dietary changes can help you find a balance with your thyroid medication. Of course, that helps you live a healthier life.
Your thyroid is a gland located below your larynx or voice box. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that handles many essential bodily functions such as metabolism. It produces T3 and T4 thyroid hormones that help your body use energy, regulate body temperature, and help your organs function properly.
Maintaining a healthy hyperthyroidism diet can help you control your thyroid disfunction. Learning what foods are good for hyperthyroidism and what to avoid allows you to prevent thyroid hormone fluctuation. Plus, a healthy hyperthyroidism diet will help you alleviate the symptoms.
What Is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that results from an overactive thyroid. As your thyroid produces excess hormones, your body gets too much, causing an overdose of hormones or thyrotoxicosis. If your thyroid becomes inflamed, it leads to an overactive thyroid as it leaks out an abundance of thyroid hormones.
Silent thyroiditis is a variation that doesn’t always have symptoms. Unfortunately, this variation can cause severe problems with the thyroid gland and could be an autoimmune disorder.
Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism overlap with other conditions, making it difficult to diagnoses. If you have multiple symptoms, your doctor can typically confirm it with a blood test. The doctor might have to scan the thyroid to check for enlargement and overactivity.
Studies show that hyperthyroidism increases many health risks, including issues with your heart, muscles, bones, fertility, and menstrual cycle. Plus, it can also increase pregnancy risks for you and your child. The same study shows that one in every 100 people has a hyperactive thyroid, and females are more susceptible.
Other risk factors for developing hyperthyroidism include a family history of thyroid disease, Type 2 diabetes, adrenal disorders, or over-consuming iodine. Being pregnant within the past six months increases your risk, too. Additionally, being over the age of 60 increases your risk.
There are a few things that can cause hyperthyroid disorder, including the autoimmune condition Grave’s Disease. This disease results from thyroid nodules that are typically benign lumps but can be cancerous. Additionally, thyroid cancer can cause an overactive thyroid because normal functioning becomes disrupted.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism are common and often confused with other health problems. Symptoms include:
- increased appetite
- sudden weight loss
- mood changes
- anxiety, irritability, or nervousness
- feeling overheated
- flushed skin or sweating
- trouble sleeping
- pounding heart or fast heartbeat
- muscle weakness
- slight shaking or hand tremor
- changes in bowel movements
- thinning skin
- brittle hair and nails
- thin hair
- swelling at the base of the neck
- menstruation changes
- eye changes, including dryness, redness, and blurred vision
- redness in your palms
- unexplained shaking or twitching
- irregular pulse
Foods To Eat If You Have Hyperthyroidism
If you have an overactive thyroid, following a hyperthyroidism diet can help with the symptoms. Increasing your intake of certain foods could make all the difference in your symptom management. Your diet can’t cure hyperthyroidism. However, it can help with maintaining hormone production.
Low Iodine Foods
Low iodine foods reduce thyroid hormones and include the following:
- frozen or fresh vegetables
- egg whites
- iodine-free salt
- herbal tea
- herbs and spices
- olive and canola vegetable oils
- pure maple syrup
- fresh fruit
- lean portions of poultry or beef
- unsalted nuts or nut butter
- bread without salt, dairy, and eggs
- unsalted popcorn
Cruciferous vegetables stop hormone production and reduce iodine uptake by the thyroid. These vegetables include the following:
- most dark greens, including turnip, mustard, collard, kale, and arugula
- cabbage and brussels sprouts
- bok choy
- broccoli and rabe
- rutabagas and turnips
- bamboo shoots
Foods Containing Selenium
Selenium-rich foods can help balance thyroid hormone levels, protecting you from thyroid disease and alleviating the symptoms. It also helps prevent cell damage to keep your thyroid and tissues healthy. Foods containing selenium include these:
- light fish, including tuna and halibut
- lean portions of beef, low-sodium ham, or poultry
- brown rice
- cottage cheese
- eggs, in moderation
- Brazil nuts
- selenium-fortified pasta or cereal
- chia seeds
- sunflower seeds
Foods Containing Iron
Iron is essential for many bodily functions, including your thyroid. By increasing your iron intake, you will alleviate the symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening. Foods that contain iron include these:
- beans and lentils
- lean portions of beef, pork, or poultry
- dark chocolate
- leafy greens
- whole grains
- fortified cereals
- oysters and fish
Foods Containing Calcium and Vitamin D
Hyperthyroidism can cause weak and brittle bones. However, you can restore bone mass with an increase in calcium, and vitamin D. Calcium-rich foods include the following:
- dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt
- fresh or canned salmon
- sardines canned in water
- calcium-fortified orange juice
- bok choy
- collard greens
- white beans
- calcium-fortified tofu and soy milk
- almond milk
- calcium-fortified cereal
Some foods that are rich in vitamin D include these:
- vitamin-D fortified orange juice
- beef liver
- fatty fish
- vitamin-D fortified cereal
- salmon and tuna
- fortified dairy products
- vitamin-D fortified soy milk
Studies show that some spices are beneficial to the diet for hypothyroidism, as they are anti-inflammatory and help balance thyroid function. These spices include:
- green chilies
- black pepper
Fats from whole, unprocessed foods can help reduce inflammation. The inflammation reduction helps protect thyroid health and balance thyroid hormones. Foods that contain healthy fats include the following:
- flaxseed oil
- avocado and avocado oil
- olive oil
- sunflower oil
- coconut oil
- safflower oil
- unsalted nuts and seeds
Foods To Avoid With Hyperthyroidism
While there are many beneficial foods for a hyperthyroidism diet, there are also many that you should avoid. Most of these foods for hypothyroidism are fine in moderation. Hoever, avoiding them is the best option.
Too much iodine can lead to hyperthyroidism or make the symptoms worse. Foods with high levels of iodine include:
- some milk and dairy products
- processes cheese
- egg yolks
- iodized salt
- some food coloring and dye
- blackstrap molasses
- iodate dough conditioners (found in some baked goods)
- restaurant meals
In some cases, gluten can cause inflammation of the thyroid. If you have a gluten intolerance or allergy, avoid gluten entirely. Foods that contain gluten include:
- brewer’s yeast
Soy doesn’t contain iodine, but it can interfere with hyperthyroidism treatments. Some of the foods containing soy that you should limit or avoid include:
- soy milk
- soy sauce
- edamame beans
- soy-based creamer
- soybean oil
Caffeine can exacerbate hyperthyroidism symptoms, resulting in increased anxiety, irritability, nervousness, and increased heart rate. If you notice that caffeine affects you this way, consider limiting your intake or eliminating it from your diet entirely. Food and drinks that contain caffeine include:
- caffeinated tea
- energy drinks
Sample Hyperthyroidism Meal Plan
There are many options for a hyperthyroidism diet meal plan, but it can be overwhelming to get started. Once you get into the new dietary routine, it will get easier. To get you started, though, following a sample hyperthyroidism meal plan can help.
Once you get the hang of it, you can adapt the meal plan as desired. In between meals, eat healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, fruits, or vegetables.
|Mixed berries and yogurt
|Grilled meat topped with herbs and vegetables
|A bowl of soup with cabbage or broccoli
|Oats with brown sugar
|Chicken lettuce wraps
|Low carb waffles
|Pad Thai chicken bowl
|Turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles
|Low-carb fruit smoothie
While hyperthyroidism is a common condition, it can cause severe health issues if left untreated. So if you have any of the symptoms, it is essential to seek professional advice to know for sure. With a diagnosis, you can begin getting the help you need to treat and maintain your condition.
Changing your diet won’t cure your hyperthyroidism, but it will make the condition easier to manage. By following a hyperthyroidism diet, you can prevent further damage from occurring. Plus, you can alleviate many symptoms of hyperthyroidism while balancing thyroid function and protecting your body.
Avoid eating food from restaurants and aim to cook more meals at home. This simple change will drastically decrease the amount of iodine you take in, plus you’ll get more nutrients and minerals. Following a hyperthyroidism diet can be life-changing as it prevents and alleviates symptoms of the condition.