A quick refresher on the thyroid gland: it is responsible for producing hormones that regulate multiple bodily functions like metabolic rate, heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood, and even bone maintenance. The health of this small gland is vital to the overall health of your body. In addition, keeping the thyroid functioning properly revolves largely around nutrition.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies poor nutrition as one of the four main risk factors leading to preventable chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The thyroid depends heavily upon three important nutrients: iodine, zinc, and selenium. A well-balanced diet can fulfill the needed nutrient requirements to help protect the thyroid from deficiencies that may lead to disease.
What Foods Should You Avoid?
Off the bat, it is best to avoid any processed foods. American fast-food culture has pumped individuals and families full of harmful ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, MSG, sodium nitrite, food dyes, and more. These toxic chemicals are not meant to be introduced to the body, and therefore, can cause harmful side effects to parts of the body like the thyroid. It is also suggested to not take supplements like iodine unless directed to do so by your doctor.
The two biggest things to keep a watchful eye one, in order to protect your thyroid, include goitrogens and gluten products. While it is not necessary to completely cut out these products it is important to ensure your intake is in moderation.
Goitrogens: These substances disrupt the production of thyroid hormones and can promote the unhealthy growth of thyroid tissue, which leads to the development of a goiter. These compounds are found in cruciferous vegetables like brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and more. They are also found in starchy plants like sweet potatoes and soy products like tofu and edamame. Certain fruits like peaches and strawberries also carry goitrogens.
Again it is not necessary to avoid these foods but to limit your consumption, in addition, it is best if these foods are not eaten raw.
Gluten: Gluten products have shown to have negative impacts on individuals who suffer from thyroid issues, as many of these individuals also are linked to having underlying celiac disease. Therefore, avoiding wheat, rye, and barley products may be beneficial for your health.
What Foods Should You Eat?
It is a good general rule of thumb that most vegetables and fruits are positive food choices. In addition, drinking close to a gallon of purified water every day is vital to your health. Consuming enough water helps protect organ function, flush out toxins, carry nutrients, promote digestion, and more.
Some of the best foods to eat for your thyroid include:
- Meat in moderation (lamb, chicken, turkey, beef)
- Fish (salmon, tuna, halibut)
- Fruits (bananas, oranges, tomatoes, etc.)
- Nuts (brazil, macadamia, hazelnuts)
An example of a thyroid based meal plan could look like something like this:
Breakfast: Eggs, mushrooms, and zucchini with a cup of yogurt
Lunch: Grilled salmon served over rice with mixed veggies
Dinner: Stir-fried chicken with quinoa and a side salad
Discover How to Help Your Thyroid Condition Through Epigenetics
Contact Dr. Goodbinder to schedule an appointment to examine your current health status. Thyroid problems are common and can be fixed. Improvement starts with the proper gameplan and identifying why your thyroid isn’t functioning properly. Learn how we can help address your health concerns, and adjust for a healthier life moving forward.
Jay Goodbinder DC DABCI is a doctor in Overland Park, KS who serves patients in surrounding Kansas City areas, cities across the United States, and in several countries around the world.