Diet For Hypothyroidism: Towards A Healthier Thyroid

thyroid-publicdomainIf you are diagnosed as having an underactive thyroid then you have a condition called hypothyroidism. Your thyroid gland is located at the front of your throat and this is essential to the body for controlling hormones that help regulate your metabolism. This condition will result in a lowering of the hormone levels your body requires, and this can affect you in numerous ways. Although the vast majority of cases are found in adults it can still occur in children.

One major side effect of this condition is weight gain and it can be difficult keeping to a diet for hypothyroidism to control it. For people who don’t control their weight it can lead to other health problems in the future such as high blood pressure which can result in a stroke or heart disease.

Millions of people around the world suffer from this condition and it is only in extreme cases that a thyroid would be totally removed, and that is usually because of a tumor in the thyroid gland, although this is rare, and often benign.

Every cell in your body requires energy and this is supplied by the T3 and T4 hormones that the thyroid produces, these are what help you burn calories, so you can see that by having lower amounts of these it can result in less sugars being burnt off and so they are converted to fat. This can also make it more difficult to lose weight than someone who is just obese so using the right diet for hypothyroidism is crucial.

Diagnosis

Before you can move ahead with any diet for hypothyroidism you need to make sure that you have had a correct diagnosis. This will involve a visit to your doctor where a number of blood tests will be taken. This will look for low levels of the T3 and T4 hormones as well as high level of TSH from your pituitary gland which your body produces to try and make up the shortfall from your thyroid gland.

Once your doctor has the results he will then know by the levels which treatment to put you on, in some cases it will be just be a diet plan but in others you may receive medication such as levothyroxine, which is a synthetic T4 hormone, or ArmourO which is natural T3 and T4. Once you are started on this medication it is important you do not miss a dose.

Avoidance
brussel-sproutsThere are foods and nutrients that are well-known to absorb thyroid hormones and as you already have a limited supply, even with the medication, these foods are best avoided.

You should not be taking any supplements with calcium or iron in them, and you need to control your total calcium intake so it is no more than the recommended daily amount. You can still take these supplements if your body is also short of them and it is advised by your doctor, but you must take them at least four hours after your thyroid medication.

One type of food you should definitely avoid is those that are classed as goitrogens, these include sprouts, broccoli, soy foods, cauliflower and legumes. If you must eat these then make sure they are well and truly overcooked as this will break down the parts that absorb the hormones.

Food Balancing

If you are one of those people who skip breakfast, have a large midday meal, and then just snack a bit then you definitely need to change how you eat. You need to eat so that everything is level throughout the day. Some people opt for 2 meals in a day, but much smaller than a main meal.

Protein is known to make you feel fuller for longer, so try and balance proteins and carbohydrates, although the most important time for protein has been shown to be breakfast which gives you a boost after having not eaten during the night. Your doctor will instruct you on the best proteins and carbohydrates to eat at different times of the day.

Fiber

Always eat lots of fiber in your diet, it is a good idea that at breakfast you replace one third of your normal cereal with bran flakes. Fiber also helps you feel full for longer and helps with digestion.

Exercise

walkingYou probably thought you might get through this article without the mention of the dreaded ‘E’ word but afraid not. However, we are not talking about going down the gym and doing 10 lengths of the pool followed by an hour on the treadmill at 20mph. If you want to increase your metabolism you do the simplest exercise known to man; ‘walking’. Recent research has shown that walking for 15-30 minutes a day is enough to burn off a lot of calories and increase your heart rate. This has to be a walk for the sake of walking and not part of a shopping expedition as you are constantly stopping and starting then.

Having hypothyroidism does not mean you need to put on extra weight, just a few long term changes here and there can help you to manage this condition.

Leave a Reply