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Hypothyroidism and Diet: 7 Ways Food Impacts Thyroid Function

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Think of the food you eat every day like putting fuel in a car.

If you use premium gas your car will run more smoothly and efficiently, whereas standard gas might damage the engine and transmission over time. 

If you fuel your body with nutritious foods you will have more energy, sleep better, and even boost your mood. 

This is especially true for those dealing with hypothyroidism. 

Keep reading for helpful information on managing your hypothyroidism and diet to start feeling your very best!


Hypothyroidism is a condition where the body does not produce enough of the normal thyroid hormones. Those hormones help to control some of the basic functions of your body, including your metabolism.

Hypothyroidism is often caused by an autoimmune disorder, but can also be caused by iodine deficiency, a genetic disorder, or by taking certain medications.

People with hypothyroidism may experience different symptoms of varying severity. One of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is weight gain. This is why many people look to diet changes to help manage the symptoms.

There are medications to help manage hypothyroidism as well as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy which can help manage out of control hormones.

Because hypothyroidism affects metabolism, many people look to diet changes to improve their symptoms. And while diet changes alone won’t cure hypothyroidism, there are certain diet guidelines that can help your thyroid function at an optimal level.

1. Manage Levels of Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that helps your body produce thyroid hormones. A lack of iodine may even cause of hypothyroidism.

If you know that you are typically low in iodine, you can add iodine-rich foods to your diet or add iodized salt to your meals.

Seaweed, eggs, shrimp, and prunes are all rich in iodine and can be added to your diet to help provide your body with enough iodine. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you make any substantial changes to your diet. 

2. Avoid Foods that React Negatively with Your Medication

If you are taking medication for hypothyroidism, there are certain foods that can interact with your medication and negatively affect your thyroid hormone levels.

These foods include:

  • Walnuts
  • Soybean flour
  • Cottonseed meal
  • Highly-processed foods (hot dogs, store-bought cookies, etc.)
  • Many supplements (calcium, iron, etc.)

Staying away from these foods altogether is the best way to avoid a negative reaction with your medication. However, if you do plan to have one of these items try to consume several hours before or after you take your medication.

Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about how your medication may interact with other supplements you are taking.

3. Grains and Seeds Are Your Friends

So maybe you have to say goodbye to heaping bowls of pasta and peanut butter sandwiches on white bread, but there are so many healthy grains and seeds to try instead!

Replacing typical high-sugar carbs with rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds, and flax seeds is a great place to start. Add some veggies, meat, or fish and you have yourself a nice balanced meal that is also hypothyroidism-friendly!

Gluten-free snack items are also a great choice for a hypothyroidism diet.

4. Give Keto A Chance

You’ve probably heard the hype over the keto diet. But what about hypothyroidism and keto diet?

Generally speaking, the keto diet is a low-carb, high fat, and protein diet. It puts your body into a state called “ketosis” which helps you burn fat and help you lose unwanted weight while boosting your energy.

The keto diet has evolved significantly since its origins in the 1920s, but the overall principles remain the same. Eating a keto diet may help increase your energy and prevent weight gain from hypothyroidism.

Ask your doctor or a medical professional before starting the keto diet because ketosis is not healthy for everyone.

5. Focus on Fats

Eating “good” fats are good for your overall health and is important to a balanced diet. They are known as “good” fats because they are good for the heart, and may help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Good fats come from nuts like brazil nuts and almonds as well as fish like salmon or sardines. Fats from highly-processed foods or fatty meats do not provide the same benefits. 

Some of the seeds mentioned above, like chia and flax seeds, also contain good fats. However, as with all foods, eat high-fat foods in moderation – even if they are good fats.

6. Use Food as a Metabolism Booster

Believe it or not, there are foods out there that can actually help boost your metabolism! Consuming these foods may be able to counteract the effects that hyperthyroidism has on your metabolism. 

Eating plenty of vegetables and high-quality sources of protein may have the ability to boost your metabolism

7. Eat Foods With Vitamin D

Did you know that Vitamin D doesn’t just come from sunshine? It’s true! There are foods like greek yogurt, milk, and other dairy products that can supply you with plenty of Vitamin D. 

Vitamin D is known to help overall thyroid health and function. If you have dairy sensitivities, you may want to get your Vitamin D from other non-dairy products like tofu or soy milk.

Hypothyroidism and Diet: What Did We Learn?

Hopefully, you are feeling confident and well-informed after reading this information on hypothyroidism and diet.

And just because you struggle with hypothyroidism does not mean you can’t enjoy good food. Take into consideration which vitamins and minerals you need and the other foods that could help support your thyroid and promote overall wellness.

A balanced diet focusing on good fats, high-quality proteins, and whole grains and seeds is a great place to start. Be sure to contact your doctor if you have any questions about diet, medication, or hyperthyroidism.

If you are interested in more health and fitness related topics, check out some of our other blogs!

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