Optimal thyroid function plays such a critical role in supporting overall health. The thyroid is responsible for regulating metabolic rate, helps to regulate digestive functions, and even plays a part in brain development. (1) Without optimal thyroid health, we can suffer from a number of unwanted health conditions related to imbalanced thyroid function.
It is important to take a look at your diet as some foods can support thyroid health while others can make a thyroid condition worse. Let’s take a look at the best and the worst foods for the thyroid.
Best Food for Thyroid Health
#1 Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts are full of selenium, a very important mineral for thyroid health. Selenium has antioxidant benefits, so it can help protect the thyroid from free radical damage. (2) Selenium can also help support thyroid hormones by activating them so they can actually be used by the body which is an important part of supporting conditions like hypothyroidism. Brazil nuts are a great way to get the selenium in your diet that you need, and you only need a couple each day!
#2 Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are another excellent food choice for thyroid health as they are rich in zinc, and zinc plays an important role in activating thyroid hormones. (3) Zinc also plays an important role in immune health, so adding some pumpkin seeds to your diet can be beneficial for your overall health.
#3 Berries: Berries are a rich source of antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent free radical damage to the thyroid. Since certain thyroid disorders like Hashimoto’s happen to be inflammatory conditions, adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can be a very important part of supporting thyroid health. Even if you don’t suffer from a thyroid condition, an anti-inflammatory diet is an important part of supporting overall health. You can make an antioxidant-rich smoothie with fresh berries, almond milk, and a few brazil nuts to help support optimal thyroid health.
THE WORST FOODS FOR THYROID HEALTH
#1 Gluten: Gluten can be extremely harmful for those with a thyroid condition for a number of reasons. For one, if you suffer from an autoimmune thyroid condition, you may be at an increased risk of developing celiac disease since having one autoimmune condition increases the chances of developing another. (4) Not only that, but gluten can be especially harmful for those with a thyroid condition. The protein of gluten resembles thyroid tissue which can be a big problem if your body reacts to gluten. (5) The immune system may mistakenly attack healthy thyroid tissue which is why it is so important to remove gluten from the diet in cases of thyroid imbalance.
#2 Dairy: If you suffer from thyroid health issues, it may be best to avoid dairy since dairy is inflammatory. You want to eliminate as many inflammatory foods from your diet as possible to help reduce any possible inflammation going on in the thyroid. Replace dairy products with things like almond and coconut-based products.
#3 Processed Foods: Fried and processed foods should be avoided for more than one reason, and they certainly don’t support healthy thyroid function. Processed foods tend to be very high in sodium, and suffering from an underactive thyroid can increase your risk of having high blood pressure. (5) To help reduce that risk, it is important to stay away from high sodium, processed foods. Strive to choose more whole and nutrient-dense foods and stay away from the ones that are loaded with added artificial ingredients and salt.
Take control of your thyroid health by removing the inflammatory foods from your diet and adding in anti-inflammatory thyroid-supporting options. With just a handful of dietary changes, you may see a noticeable difference in both your thyroid and overall health.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Jacobs N.C is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in digestive and women's health. She doesn't believe in dieting but rather making lifestyle changes, and believes that healthy eating must be delicious. Rebecca is also a recipe developer and creates healthier alternatives to traditionally unhealthy foods.