There’s a lot of conflicting advice about the role diet plays in supporting thyroid health. Even though food may not completely repair or restore hormone balance, nourishing your body with a colorful diet is essential to feeling as well as possible. Here are our top food picks to help you do just that.
We’re sorry there’s not a “pie” or “latte” after that. But in all seriousness: pumpkin itself is amazing. It has plenty of fiber, magnesium, folate, potassium, and, well, the list goes on. Plus, there’s no downplaying that it’s a great source of vitamin A, which increases how receptive cells are to thyroid hormones.
Not sure how to work pumpkin into your routine? Try our favorite soup recipe or blend it up in a smoothie with a little almond or coconut milk. Shake in some pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Instead of sugar, add a frozen banana to get a naturally sweet taste you’ll crave.
Go ahead and make an omelet. Your thyroid needs iodine and selenium, and it’s best to get those nutrients through your diet rather than supplements. Eggs provide both and are a great source of quality protein.
Along with being delicious, they have a host of other goodies, like iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D (a common deficiency in hypothyroidism). To reap all of the benefits, eat the whole egg. Don’t skip the yolk.
Make green one of your favorite colors. Leafy vegetables pack a lot of magnesium, which helps convert T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) into T3, an active and ready-to-use form of thyroid hormone.
You may have heard that hypothyroidism means avoiding cruciferous vegetables, such as kale. There’s evidence that these types of foods (bok choy, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and the like) interfere with iodine absorption. They’re also goitrogenic and can contribute to the thyroid gland becoming enlarged.
With that in mind, steer clear of piling your plate high with raw kale every day of the week. If it’s a must-have, steam it or throw it in a skillet and let it lightly wilt before eating. Cooking takes care of the goitrogenic effects.
We always hear about the healthy fats in avocado. Our bodies gladly benefit from those, thank you. But we should also sing its praises for being rich in glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant our bodies make but that we can also get from some foods.
Why is glutathione so special? The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder where the body mistakenly attacks the thyroid. Like all autoimmune conditions, Hashimoto’s causes inflammation. It also creates oxidative stress, disrupting our balance between damaging free radicals and the antioxidants, like glutathione, that fight them.
It’s no surprise that berries are very good news for your thyroid. They come standard with a healthy vitamin profile. Plus, they’re full of antioxidants, so they can sweep up the free radicals we mentioned earlier.
Another benefit? Berries are a smart choice for snacking or dessert. Because they’re low-calorie and high in fiber, you can have a healthy serving size, even if you’re struggling with hypothyroid weight gain.
Meat and legumes
Carnivores and vegetarians can unite over a mineral these foods offer: zinc. Aim to add all-natural sources to your diet daily, like oysters, red meat, poultry, and beans. One study showed that adequate zinc intake was linked to improved levels of T3, or active thyroid hormone. If that’s not reason to eat up, we don’t know what is.