Welcome to the third and final installment (for now) of my Getting to Know Your Thyroid handout series! This handout highlights the principle of "food as medicine." What you eat plays a vital role in how you feel and how healthy you are. Certain foods can help your thyroid while other foods could negatively impact your thyroid. Please check out the 1st and 2nd handouts in this series.
Food for thought… and your Thyroid
Different foods can play a role in thyroid health. Some foods help your thyroid while some can hurt your thyroid. These foods are particularly important for hypothyroidism more than hyperthyroidism.
Seaweed: Seaweed is a great food for your thyroid since it is a rich source of iodine. Your thyroid hormones are made up of iodine. If you don’t have enough iodine in your diet, your will not be able to make enough thyroid hormones. Since Western diets were so low in diets, iodine has been added to table salt in order for people to get enough Iodine. Other sources of iodine include: kelp, fish and sea vegetables.
Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts are a great source of Selenium, a mineral needed to turn T4 to T3. If you are low in selenium, you can get hypothyroid symptoms since you might have enough TSH and T4 but not enough metabolically active T3. Low selenium can also aggravate autoimmune thyroid concerns. Other sources of selenium include: mushrooms, couscous and oysters.
Turkey: The amino acid Tyrosine is important for thyroid health as it is used to make thyroid hormones. Foods including turkey and seaweed contain tyrosine. As with iodine, if you do not have enough tyrosine, you can be at risk of developing hypothyroidism.Other sources of tyrosine include: tofu, almonds, egg whites, bananas, avocados and sesame seeds.
Food to be cautious with:
Kale: Yes I wrote kale. This superfood contains something called a goitrogen. Goitrogens interfere with iodine intake and can lead to less thyroid hormones and possibly a goitre (hence the name). The good news is that you can still eat your kale and Brassia vegetables by cooking or lightly steaming them. Other Brassia vegetables can contain goitrogens include: brussel sprouts, cabbage, turnips, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy.
Wheat: All food intolerances, specifically wheat, indirectly impacts your thyroid. Wheat often creates inflammation in the body which negatively overstimulates any autoimmune processes. Avoiding foods that cause excess inflammation in the body should help the thyroid work as it should. Millet is also important to avoid as it block thyroid hormone synthesis.
Soy: This controversial food has been shown to decease thyroid hormone production. It has also been demonstrated to be a goitrogen like the Brassia family. So soy is not your thyroid friend.
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Yours in health,
Naturopathic Doctor in Norwich and Woodstock Ontario