The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones important for energy levels, mood and metabolism. If your thyroid produces too few hormones, you have a condition known as hypothyroidism. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may prescribe synthetic thyroid medications. A healthy diet, limited in certain foods, may help minimize your symptoms, which may include lethargy, depression, constipation, weight gain, menstrual irregularities and sensitivity to cold. For best results, seek guidance from your doctor or dietitian.
Enriched flour derives from a whole grain. Processing strips the grains of valuable vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein content. As a result, enriched flour products have a high glycemic index, meaning they impact your blood sugar levels. The University Medical Center recommends eating whole grains to help reduce symptoms of hypothyroidism 1.
Like enriched flour products, added sugars can disrupt your blood sugar, moods and energy levels and make it more difficult to manage your appetite and weight. Consuming excessive amounts of sugary foods or beverages also leaves less room in your diet for the naturally sweet foods recommended for hypothyroidism patients, such as blueberries and cherries. To reduce your added sugar intake, replace table sugar and honey in your tea or coffee with stevia -- a calorie-free, sweet-tasting herb that provides antioxidant benefits.
Some vegetables, though valuable sources of antioxidants and fiber, may interfere with thyroid function and thyroid medications. Since skinless potatoes have a high glycemic index rating and may offset blood sugar and hormonal levels. Avoid mashed potatoes and skinless baked potatoes. Fried vegetables, such as french fries, onions rings and fried okra, may increase inflammation and add to thyroid-related weight gain. Choose fresh, thyroid-friendly varieties instead.
Gluten is a storage protein in wheat, barley and rye. A correlation stands between gluten intolerance and thyroid disease, according to a "Today's Dietitian" article published in November 2010 2. If you sense that gluten-containing foods, such as:
- brown rice
- wild rice
Other less obvious sources of gluten include
- soy sauce
- meat marinades
- some oatmeal varieties
- seitan -- a vegetarian protein source -- tabouleh
- Worcestershire sauce
If you take thyroid hormones, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests speaking with your doctor before using soy products, because they may interfere with the absorption of your medication 1.
Consuming excessive amounts of sugary foods or beverages also leaves less room in your diet for the naturally sweet foods recommended for hypothyroidism patients, such as blueberries and cherries. Since skinless potatoes have a high glycemic index rating and may offset blood sugar and hormonal levels. If you sense that gluten-containing foods, such as wheat and white breads, most cold cereals, crackers and commercially prepared baked goods, trigger or worsen your thyroid symptoms, try opting for gluten-free whole grains, such as brown rice, wild rice and popcorn, instead.
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