Many people are now aware of the effects that the thyroid can have on health. But if you’re dealing with thyroid concerns, it’s important to think about what you’re eating. There are a number of foods that could be making your thyroid issues worse and affecting your thyroid health. Here are some to consider.
It’s often recommended that people with thyroid disease stop consuming gluten. But what’s the reasoning behind this? It comes down to a case of mistaken identity.
There is a protein in gluten that, on a molecular level, looks a lot like thyroid gland tissue. If this piece of gluten crosses over into the bloodstream, the immune system will flag it as an invader. But this also means that the immune system will start to attack thyroid tissue as well.
This is a concern for anyone with thyroid issues, but particularly for those with autoimmune thyroid issues.
High sugar foods
There’s a close relationship between blood sugar levels, adrenal function and the thyroid. So when you eat a lot of sugary foods, you can send all three haywire.
When your blood sugar fluctuates rapidly, your adrenals have to produce more cortisol to stabilise the levels. High cortisol suppresses thyroid function and decreases conversion of T4 to T3. So eating high-sugar foods regularly will suppress your thyroid and stress your adrenal glands.
If you do want a sweet treat, go for high-fibre, low sugar options like berries instead.
Goitrogens are a substance found naturally in many plant foods. Unfortunately, this substance can block iodine from functioning and inhibit thyroid function.
When you’re diagnosed with a thyroid condition, people will tell you to cut out all sources of goitrogens. But that’s not actually the best way to go about it. Goitrogen-containing foods like broccoli and kale are incredibly nutritious, so you don’t want to eliminate them entirely.
The good news is that cooking goitrogen-containing foods can significantly reduce their levels. In fact, cooking cruciferous veggies for 30 minutes can reduce goitrogens by 60-90%, depending on the cooking method.
So don’t be afraid to enjoy goitrogen-containing foods, as they’re cooked properly. But you do want to skip the daily kale-packed green smoothies.
Foods you’re intolerant to
This is a pretty broad category, but it’s for good reason. Many people have undiagnosed intolerances that can cause symptoms minutes, hours or even days after consuming the food. These foods can be a problem for your thyroid as well.
When you consume foods that you’re intolerant to, your body reacts with inflammation. Inflammation can trigger thyroid issues or exacerbate an existing problem. So if you know you are intolerant to a food, it’s best to stop consuming it! If you’re not sure if you have food intolerances, work with a qualified professional to identify any foods that might cause issues.
Dairy, gluten, fructose and soy are some of the more common intolerances to think about.
Very low carb diets
Many people turn to very low carbohydrate diets when trying to shift stubborn weight. But if a thyroid condition is at the root of this issue, you could actually make the problem worse.
Low-carbohydrate diets can cause stress for the thyroid and even impair conversion of T4 to T3. This is because insulin is needed to convert thyroid hormones, but it is often lower in people on a low carb diet.
If stress is a big contributor to your thyroid condition, low-carb can also cause issues by putting pressure on the adrenal glands.
Everyone will have different foods that can cause thyroid issues. But eliminating problem foods is only one part of managing your thyroid health. You’ll need to include thyroid-supportive foods and address any factors that are specific to you. Ready to take the next step for your thryoid health? Dr. Rebecca Farthing (osteopath & naturopath) can sit down with you and get your plan of attack right for you and your thyroid.