Managing Thyroid Health with Key Nutrients

Managing thyroid with healthy food

Ms Susan Itty, Clinical Nutritionist, Aster Medcity, Kochi - Kerala

While the cause of thyroid disorders is largely unknown, there is evidence that certain foods can aid in improved thyroid function.

Roasted seaweed

Seaweed, such as Kelp, Nori, and Wakame, are naturally rich in Iodine—a trace element needed for normal thyroid function.  Seaweed offers nutritional benefits of fiber, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.

Nuts

Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts are excellent sources of Selenium, which helps support healthy thyroid function.

Fish

Fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and Selenium, which help decrease inflammation. Baked Salmon, Cod, Sea Bass, Haddock, or Perch for lunch or dinner can provide a healthy dose of Omega-3s and Selenium.

Yogurt

Dairy products like yogurt, ice cream, and milk contain Iodine which prevents thyroid glands from becoming enlarged—known as Goiter. Low-fat servings of yogurt can be consumed to get sufficient levels of Iodine.

Eggs

Eggs contain healthy amounts of both Selenium and Iodine. For most health benefits, eat the entire egg, as the yolk holds most of the nutrients.

NUTRIENTS FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM

An early symptom of hypothyroidism is weight gain. Low-calorie, high-density foods such as fresh produce are the cornerstone of every successful weight loss program. Include either fresh fruits or veggies at each meal, if possible. Specific foods such as blueberries, cherries, sweet potatoes, and green peppers are also rich in antioxidants, nutrients that are known to lower risk of heart diseases.

However, people with Hypothyroidism may want to limit their intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, to 5 ounces/ 150 gm a day, as they can block the thyroid's ability to absorb Iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function.

Constipation is another common side effect of Hypothyroidism. Whole-grain foods such as cereal, bread, pasta, and rice are high in nutrients, in addition to fiber, which can help with bowel regularity. However, fiber can interfere with synthetic thyroid hormones. Therefore, it is recommended to take Thyroid medicines a few hours before or after eating fiber rich foods.

Vitamin-D may help improve thyroid levels, according to a study published in 2018 in the Indian Journal of Endocrine and metabolism which found that vitamin D supplements improved TSH levels in subjects with Hypothyroidism as well as thyroid antibodies in people with autoimmune thyroiditis. Fortified milk not only has added vitamin D, but also significant amounts of Calcium, Protein, and Iodine.

An inexpensive and versatile food, beans, are a great source for sustained energy, which can be helpful if Hypothyroidism leaves you feeling drained. Beans contain proteins, antioxidants, complex carbohydrate, and a lot of vitamins and minerals. They are also high in fiber, which can be beneficial if you suffer with constipation, a common side effect of hypothyroidism. Just be sure not to overdo it — guidelines recommend that adults get 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day, but excess fiber can interfere with thyroid treatment.