If you have hypothyroidism, you may benefit from eliminating gluten, processed foods, and other foods that may trigger your immune system or cause inflammation.
Hypothyroidism is a health condition in which the body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones. It affected about
Thyroid hormones help manage a number of bodily functions, including growth, cell repair, and metabolism. As a result, people with hypothyroidism can experience
Medication is the first line of treatment for hypothyroidism, but following a healthy diet and lifestyle can help improve thyroid function and symptoms, too.
This article outlines a nutritious, well-balanced diet for hypothyroidism, including which foods to eat and which to avoid — all based on research.
The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits near the base of the front of your neck.
It makes and stores thyroid hormones that affect nearly every organ system in your body.
When the thyroid gland receives a signal called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), it releases
Causes of primary hypothyroidism
- iodine deficiency
- certain medications, such as rifampin, amiodarone, and lithium
- thyroid surgeries
- acute thyroid inflammation
- medical treatments that damage the thyroid
When your thyroid isn’t working properly, it can cause a variety of symptoms, including extreme fatigue and constipation.
Some people with hypothyroidism may experience extreme symptoms, while others may not experience many symptoms at all.
A healthcare professional will choose an appropriate treatment plan based on your thyroid function, symptoms, and other health concerns.
However, many people’s symptoms may persist even when they’re being treated with thyroid hormone replacement.
For example, people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may often experience symptoms like fatigue, cold intolerance, anxiety, and hair loss even after thyroid hormone medication has normalized their thyroid function. Because of this, many people with hypothyroidism may seek alternative treatment methods.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as weight gain, cold intolerance, and constipation.
Hypothyroidism is usually treated with thyroid hormone replacement medications, but some people with hypothyroidism may still experience symptoms when their thyroid function is considered typical.
Following a nutritious diet is important for everyone, but studies show that certain dietary interventions can have specific benefits for people with hypothyroidism.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is
Many studies have shown that dietary changes can benefit people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in a number of ways. This includes improving thyroid function, promoting a healthy body weight, and reducing hypothyroid symptoms.
For example, gluten-free diets may help improve thyroid function. Additionally, diets high in vegetables and fruits could
Following a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet can also help promote
What’s more, nutrient deficiencies can worsen hypothyroid symptoms, like fatigue, anxiety, and low mood.
Some deficiencies that may be responsible for worsening these symptoms
In general, a diet rich in nutritious foods and low in pro-inflammatory foods with added sugar or ultra-processed foods can be helpful for many people with hypothyroidism.
Following a healthy, nutrient-rich diet could help people with hypothyroidism improve their thyroid function, prevent nutrient deficiencies, and improve hypothyroid symptoms.
There are a number of nutrients that are essential to the health of the thyroid.
Plus, people with hypothyroidism are more likely to develop certain nutrient deficiencies compared with the general population.
Iodine is an essential mineral that is needed to make thyroid hormones, and a deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. In fact, insufficient iodine intake is the
Though iodine deficiency is common in many areas of the world, it’s less common in developed countries like the United States.
If you have hypothyroidism, avoid supplementing with iodine unless a doctor recommends it to treat low iodine levels. Taking in
If you’re concerned that you’re not taking in enough iodine, contact a healthcare professional or dietitian to assess your iodine levels and determine the best iodine intake plan for you.
Adding selenium-rich foods to your diet is a great way to boost your selenium levels. Examples include:
Additionally, selenium supplements can be helpful for certain people with hypothyroidism.
But this doesn’t mean that selenium supplements are necessary for all people with hypothyroidism. Only supplement with selenium if recommended by a healthcare professional.
The National Institutes of Health has identified
Not getting enough zinc can negatively affect your thyroid function and many other aspects of health, so it’s essential to get enough of this nutrient in your diet.
If you’re interested in taking a zinc supplement, talk with a healthcare professional. They can determine whether or not a zinc supplement may be appropriate for you.
Other important nutrients
In addition to the nutrients listed above, there are other vitamins and minerals that people with hypothyroidism should be mindful of:
- Vitamin D: People with hypothyroidism
are more likelyto be deficient in vitamin D. Having low vitamin D levels can negatively affect thyroid function and worsen hypothyroid symptoms. Because vitamin D isn’t concentrated in many foods, supplementation is often necessary.
- Vitamin B12: B12 deficiency is common among people with hypothyroidism. Talk with a doctor about testing your B12 levels. If your levels are low or suboptimal, a doctor can recommend a B12 or B-complex supplement.
- Magnesium: Low or deficient magnesium levels
are associatedwith thyroid dysfunction and can increase the risk of developing hypothyroidism. Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to improve hypothyroid symptoms.
- Iron: Iron deficiency is
commonin women with hypothyroidism. Low iron levels or iron deficiency anemia can impair thyroid function. Supplementation is often necessary to reach and maintain healthy iron levels.
These are just some of the many nutrients that are important for thyroid function and general health. Other examples of nutrients important for people with hypothyroidism
People with hypothyroidism are more likely to be deficient in several essential nutrients. Supplementing with certain vitamins and minerals could help improve thyroid function and hypothyroid symptoms. But it’s recommended to talk with a medical professional or dietitian before starting any new supplement.
You don’t have to avoid many foods if you have hypothyroidism, but there are certain foods that may cause issues in some people with hypothyroidism.
Gluten and ultra-processed foods
Some studies suggest that people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may benefit from following a gluten-free diet. Other
Additionally, people with hypothyroidism may want to limit certain foods in order to promote overall health.
For example, people with
People with hypothyroidism may want to
Most people, including those with hypothyroidism, can enjoy moderate amounts of goitrogenic foods without negatively affecting their
Plus, cooking goitrogenic foods reduces goitrogenic activity, making them safer for people with hypothyroidism.
That being said, it’s a good idea to avoid consuming large amounts of juice made with raw cruciferous vegetables.
People with hypothyroidism may want to avoid eating large amounts of:
In general, people with hypothyroidism may want to avoid eating large amounts of any
Diet and thyroid medication
Make sure you’re taking your thyroid medication on an empty stomach to promote optimal absorption. This includes avoiding beverages, foods, and supplements that could interfere with medication absorption.
Experts suggest taking thyroid medications like
Even coffee can significantly affect
It’s also important to avoid taking thyroid medication within 4 hours of taking iron or
People with hypothyroidism don’t have to avoid many foods, but they may want to avoid consuming large amounts of goitrogenic foods and limit ultra-processed foods to promote overall health. Additionally, people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may benefit from a gluten-free diet.
Following a diet rich in nutritious foods can help improve overall health and promote healthy body weight maintenance.
A diet high in fiber can also help lower the risk of constipation, which is a common symptom of hypothyroidism.
If you have hypothyroidism, try incorporating the following nutritious foods into your diet:
- Non-starchy vegetables: greens, artichokes, zucchini, asparagus, carrots, peppers, spinach, or mushrooms
- Fruits: berries, apples, peaches, pears, grapes, citrus fruits, pineapple, or bananas
- Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, or butternut squash
- Fish, eggs, meat, and poultry: fish and shellfish, eggs, turkey, or chicken
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut, or full fat yogurt
- Gluten-free grains: brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, or brown rice pasta
- Seeds, nuts, and nut butters: almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, or natural peanut butter
- Beans and lentils: chickpeas, kidney beans, or lentils
- Dairy and nondairy substitutes: coconut milk, cashew milk, coconut yogurt, almond milk, unsweetened yogurt, or cheese
- Spices, herbs, and condiments: spices like paprika, saffron, or turmeric, fresh or dried herbs like basil or rosemary, and condiments salsa or mustard.
- Beverages: water, unsweetened tea, coffee, or sparkling water
Keep in mind that some people with hypothyroidism may benefit from avoiding gluten and other ingredients like dairy. Others may not need to cut these foods from their diet and may be able to consume gluten and dairy without an issue.
This is why it’s important to develop an eating plan that works for you and your specific health needs.
If you can, work with a registered dietitian who can help identify which foods you may need to eliminate. They can also help you develop a balanced eating plan that doesn’t unnecessarily cut out nutrient-rich ingredients.
There are plenty of healthy food options for people with hypothyroidism, including vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and protein sources like fish and eggs.
Everyone with hypothyroidism has different health and dietary needs. Your calorie needs depend on a number of factors, including:
- activity level
- whether you’re trying to lose or gain weight
This general meal plan can help you get an idea of what healthy eating may look like when you’re living with hypothyroidism.
- Breakfast: egg and spinach omelet served with half of an avocado and a bowl of berries
- Lunch: a large green salad with chicken, beans, and pumpkin seeds
- Dinner: stir-fried shrimp and vegetables served with brown rice
- Breakfast: chia pudding with almond butter and berries
- Lunch: grilled salmon salad
- Dinner: fish baked with lemon, thyme, and black pepper served with roasted vegetables and a baked potato
- Breakfast: egg and veggie muffins with a side of fruit
- Lunch: Mediterranean quinoa salad with chickpeas, vegetables, and feta
- Dinner: shrimp skewers and a salad
- Breakfast: spinach, chickpea, and sweet potato breakfast hash
- Lunch: chicken salad with fresh veggies and fruit
- Dinner: butternut squash and lentil curry
- Breakfast: protein berry smoothie made with vanilla pea protein, natural peanut butter, and frozen mixed berries
- Lunch: a large green salad with chicken, fresh vegetables, beans, and pumpkin seeds
- Dinner: stuffed peppers
- Breakfast: egg, mushroom, and zucchini frittata
- Lunch: Mediterranean tuna and quinoa salad
- Dinner: brown rice pasta with chunky pasta sauce and chicken meatballs
This sample week-long meal plan is suitable for people with hypothyroidism. It provides plenty of options for a delicious and healthy menu.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is a health condition that affects many people worldwide.
It can cause symptoms like tiredness, weight gain, constipation, low mood, and cold intolerance among many others.
There’s no “best” diet, but eating the right nutrients and taking medications can help manage hypothyroidism symptoms, improve thyroid function, and promote overall well-being.
Everyone has different diet needs, but people with hypothyroidism can benefit from a diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish.