Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. It is a very common condition and many people are never diagnosed. Your thyroid regulates the metabolism, so if it is not producing enough hormones, the symptoms are generally associated with your body “slowing down”.
Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Dry skin, dry hair and hair loss
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
- Intolerance to cold temperatures
- Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
- Depression and irritability
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Memory loss
- Decreased libido
Food can make a big difference to the thyroid in many ways.
DO NOT CUT CALORIES!! Cutting calories is not the solution when you have hypothyroidism. When you cut calories your thyroid slows down. This is the body’s automatic response to dieting. This slows your metabolism even further making the symptoms of a sluggish thyroid even more of a problem.
Avoid Gluten – In 90% of cases, hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD), such as autoimmune thyroiditis, which is also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, are conditions in which the immune system attacks the body’s own thyroid gland.
Even worse, the immune response to gluten can last up to 6 months each time you eat it. This explains why it is critical to eliminate gluten completely from your diet. Being “mostly” gluten-free isn’t going to cut it. If you’re gluten intolerant, you have to be 100% gluten-free to prevent immune destruction of your thyroid.
Avoid foods that directly affect the production of thyroid hormones known as Goitrogens. Goitrogen is a substance present naturally in certain foods. It is a chemical (natural chemical) that can cause difficulty for the thyroid gland to produce hormones. Examples of goitrogens are corn, potatoes, spinach, kale, radishes, strawberries, pears, peaches, turnips, broccoli, soy, and cabbage. If you cannot simply say goodbye to these foods, you may decide to cook them before eating, because cooking destroys the goitrogens.
If taking Medication avoid foods that affect absorption:
- Soy products. Soy contains phytoestrogens which interfere with T4 reception in cell receptors.
- Iron supplements may interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone medication, so ask your practitioner before taking iron.
- Calcium is not to be eaten one hour before taking medication as it interferes with absorption. Do not eat calcium in the morning. I.e. nuts, seeds, dairy products
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
Avoid sugar: Excessive amount of sugar intake can actually destroy the thyroid as well as adrenal glands. So, sugar intake must be minimal.
To get some help with what foods you CAN include and what you should be eating if you have a sluggish thyroid, see Kasey our Nutritionist for more information.