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If you’re suffering from unexplained weight gain, fatigue, thinning hair, stiff or painful joints, memory issues and/or increased sensitivity to cold, you may want to get your thyroid checked. Chances are, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism — sometimes called underactive thyroid or low thyroid.
The thyroid plays a key role in regulating the body’s metabolism, affecting weight gain and related metabolic problems like diabetes, high cholesterol and fatty liver disease.
Left untreated, low thyroid can lead to obesity, infertility and heart disease. The standard treatment includes thyroid hormone replacement like levothyroxine to compensate for your underactive thyroid.
Nutrition can help support your thyroid function. Here are five foods rich in key thyroid-benefiting nutrients that are particularly good for people with low thyroid…
5 foods that are good for your thyroid
According to Dr. Raphael Kellman, M.D., a doctor of functional medicine and author of The Microbiome Diet, “Vitamins and minerals can help fight the underlying causes of thyroid disorders, such as autoimmune processes and inflammation, and help improve a dysfunctional thyroid.”
Those key nutrients include:
Below are foods that are good dietary sources of these nutrients…
Most nutrition plans recommend choosing lean protein meat sources like chicken over beef and pork. And chicken’s also a great choice for thyroid health.
A three-ounce serving of dark meat chicken contains 22 percent of the daily recommended value (DV) of zinc, a trace mineral that helps the body produce thyroid hormones. White meat chicken has less zinc than dark meat, but it’s still good for thyroid health.
Chicken is also a source of tyrosine — which when accompanied by iodine produces thyroid hormone.
You’ll find two crucial trace elements in eggs: selenium and iodine. Both of these trace elements can help improve overall thyroid function and control activation of thyroid hormones.
One large egg contains 27 percent of your DV of selenium and 17 percent of your DV of iodine. If you sprinkle a little iodized salt on your eggs, you’ll likely be getting all the iodine you need to protect your thyroid.
Eggs also contain about 32 percent of the RDA for vitamin D. Though recent reports suggest that the RDA is set too low.
Nuts and legumes
Nuts and legumes like cashews and lentils are high in selenium. Brazil nuts are an especially rich source of the trace element, with one ounce containing nearly 1,000 percent of your DV of selenium. However, you’ll only want to eat a few servings of Brazil nuts a week to avoid selenium toxicity.
When it comes to foods rich in zinc, oysters are No. 1. One serving of oysters gives you 673 percent of zinc’s DV.
Like most seafood, the oyster also is a great source of iodine. Just three ounces of cooked oysters provide nearly two-thirds of the iodine you need each day.
Tuna and sardines
Tuna and sardines are second only to Brazil nuts on the list of selenium-rich foods. Tuna contains 167 percent of the nutrient’s DV, while sardines come in at 82 percent.
Tuna is also a relatively good source of iodine, though it doesn’t have as much as oysters. A three-ounce serving of tuna contains about 11 percent of the DV of iodine.
4 foods to avoid if you have hypothyroidism
Some foods aren’t good for thyroid health because they contain substances that can interfere with thyroid function when eaten in large quantities. If your thyroid is underactive, you should either minimize or avoid consumption of the following foods….
Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages
Drinks containing alcohol and caffeine can affect your thyroid in different ways. Alcohol can suppress your thyroid function, especially if you drink it regularly. And it’s possible caffeinated beverages can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb your thyroid medication, though research hasn’t completely proven this.
Since coffee, green tea and alcohol can all irritate your thyroid gland, it’s best to drink them in moderation. Maybe keep your coffee intake to one cup in the morning, and save your alcohol consumption for special occasions.
Cruciferous and leafy green vegetables
This one is tricky. After all, fresh veggies are critical for good health. But if you have hypothyroidism, you should limit excessive consumption of cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and spinach. These tend to be higher in thyroid-interfering goitrogens than other vegetables. However, experts say as long as you eat them in moderation — and cook them first — you should be fine.
Some research has shown millet to reduce thyroid function even when it’s not eaten in excessive amounts. So you may want to avoid this grain completely if your thyroid is underactive.
Some experts say it’s possible that soy-based foods like tofu, soy milk and edamame can interfere with thyroid medication absorption. If you are going to eat these foods, do so in moderation and several hours after taking your thyroid medication.
The best diet for hypothyroidism — The Checkup By SingleCare
20 Foods Rich in Selenium — Healthline
Zinc & Selenium and Their Effect on Thyroid Health — Genesis Performance Chiropractic
Top Foods High in Iodine — Nourish by WebMD