Foods rich in calcium, selenium, vitamin D, and magnesium may help support your overall health if you have Graves’ disease. Other foods, including those high in iodine, may worsen symptoms.

While the foods you eat can’t cure Graves’ disease, they can provide antioxidants and nutrients that may help support your overall health and prevent complications.

Certain symptoms and complications associated with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism include:

  • extreme weight loss despite eating normally
  • brittle bones
  • osteoporosis

Diet may play a role in managing Graves’ disease.

Foods containing specific nutrients can help reduce some of the symptoms associated with Graves’ disease. These include:

Calcium-rich foods

Hyperthyroidism can make it difficult for your body to absorb calcium, which increases the risk of brittle bones and osteoporosis. Eating a diet high in calcium may help.

However, some calcium-rich dairy products may contain iodine—and consuming too much iodine may lead to worsening symptoms if you have hyperthyroidism.

A doctor or dietitian can help you determine which dairy products you should eat and which you should avoid.

Non-dairy sources of calcium include:

  • broccoli
  • kale
  • okra
  • chia seeds
  • sardines
  • salmon
  • soybeans and tofu

Foods high in magnesium

If your body doesn’t have enough magnesium, it can affect its ability to transport calcium and potassium across cells.

Foods high in magnesium can include:

  • pumpkin seeds
  • chia seeds
  • spinach
  • almonds
  • dark chocolate
  • brazil nuts
  • cashews
  • legumes
  • avocados
  • chicken breast

Foods containing selenium

Some researchers hypothesize that a selenium deficiency may be related to thyroid eye disease in people with Graves’ disease. This can cause bulging eyeballs and double vision.

Selenium is an antioxidant and a mineral. It can be found in:

  • brazil nuts
  • brown rice
  • sunflower seeds
  • sardines
  • tuna
  • shrimp
  • turkey

Consider talking with a doctor or dietitian to help determine the foods you should avoid or limit. You might also keep a food diary to track which foods aggravate your symptoms and which don’t. Some types of food to consider eliminating include:


According to a 2022 study, there is a higher incidence of autoimmune thyroid disease in people with celiac disease than in the general population. This may be due, in part, to a genetic link. People with celiac disease experience an autoimmune reaction after consuming foods or drinks containing gluten. The reaction can damage the lining of the intestines and make it harder for the body to absorb nutrients from food.

If you have Graves’ disease and celiac disease, a doctor will recommend avoiding gluten-containing products, such as:

  • wheat and wheat products
  • rye
  • barley
  • malt
  • triticale
  • brewer’s yeast
  • grains of all kinds, such as spelt, kamut, farro,
    and durum

Dietary iodine

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) notes that consuming too much iodine might trigger hyperthyroidism in people with Graves’ disease or another autoimmune thyroid disorder. Iodine is a micronutrient necessary for health and development, so taking in the right amount is important.

A doctor can determine if you need to make any dietary changes or avoid any sources of iodine.

Iodine-fortified foods include:

  • salt
  • products made with iodine-fortified salt

Foods that are naturally high in iodine can include:

  • fish, especially white fish, such as haddock,
    and cod
  • oysters
  • seaweed and kelp

Some medications and multivitamins may also contain iodine.

Avoiding meat and animal products

One 2015 study found evidence that vegetarians had lower rates of hyperthyroidism than those who followed a non-vegetarian diet. The study found the most significant benefit in people who avoided animal products, including:

  • beef
  • chicken
  • pork
  • fish

A 2023 review of research noted that following a Mediterranean diet may potentially protect against autoimmune hyperthyroidism. However, additional research is needed. This eating plan is mostly plant-based and includes:

  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • fruit
  • moderate consumption of fish and seafood
  • olive oil
  • limited consumption of meat, processed foods, and alcohol

What foods should I avoid if I have Graves’ disease?

If you have Graves’ disease, you may need to avoid consuming too much iodine, which can worsen symptoms. In addition, if you have Graves’ disease and celiac disease or food sensitivities, you may also need to avoid foods that trigger an autoimmune reaction or cause other symptoms.

What foods trigger Graves’ disease?

While no specific foods trigger Graves’ disease, people may experience worsening symptoms of hyperthyroidism if they consume too much iodine. Many foods contain iodine, including those made with iodized salt and other foods that naturally contain iodine. Additionally, if you have celiac disease, consuming food containing gluten may cause an autoimmune reaction and worsen symptoms of celiac disease.

What vitamins should I take with Graves’ disease?

It’s best to speak with a doctor before taking vitamins if you have Graves’ disease. Many vitamins, including multivitamins, contain iodine, which, when consumed in excess, can lead to worsening symptoms. A doctor may recommend changes to your diet.

How can I make Graves’ disease better?

While there is no cure for Graves’s disease, treatment can depend on factors like your symptoms. Treatment may include certain medications, radioiodine therapy, and thyroid surgery. Doctors may also recommend paying attention to your iodine intake, as excessive consumption may worsen symptoms.

Graves’ disease is a leading cause of hyperthyroidism. Doctors may recommend changes to your diet to support your overall health if you have Graves’ disease or an autoimmune thyroid condition.

They may recommend eating a nutritious diet with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. You may also need to monitor how much iodine you consume.

Talking with a doctor or a dietitian and keeping a food diary can help you determine what to eat and avoid.