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World Thyroid Day: Foods to avoid and adopt if suffering from hypothyroidism

As we celebrate World Thyroid Day on May 25, we bring to you a list of food items to avoid and adopt if you are suffering from hypothyroidism

A thyroid disorder is a condition that affects the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland which is located in front of the neck, below Adam’s apple. Thyroid has several important roles to play, mainly in regulation of the metabolic process throughout the body. Thyroid gland is controlled by the hypothalamus gland and pituitary gland, and any disorders with these tissues can affect thyroid function and cause thyroid problems.

Two of the most common problems of the thyroid gland is hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, both of which involve the abnormal production of thyroid hormones.

On World Thyroid Day, let us browse through a list of foods that one should avoid and adopt while suffering from hypothyroidism.

Foods to Eat in Hypothyroidism

Since iodine is found in soils and seawater, is a good source of this nutrient. Fish is also an important food item because of the high level of essential fatty acid content. Oily fishes like Salmon, Tuna, and Sardines have a high constitution of omega three fatty acids which help to lower the risk of heart disease and lowers inflammation in people suffering from hypothyroidism.

Nuts are a good source of selenium; hence it is an important food to be included in the diet for people suffering from Hypothyroidism. One of the healthiest nuts available with high selenium content is the Brazil Nuts.

Whole Grains
One of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism is constipation, and one of the best ways to solve this problem without the use of laxatives is by introducing fiber to the diet in the form of whole grains. Some of the healthiest whole grains are quinoa, bulgur, oats, and brown rice.

Anti-oxidants rich fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables rich in anti-oxidants are beneficial for people suffering from Hypothyroidism. It helps keep the weight in check, which is one of the many symptoms seen in hypothyroidism.

Seaweed is a rich source of iodine – which is an essential nutrient for thyroid function. It works like a precursor for the production of thyroid hormone.

Eggs can be a super food for individuals suffering from Hypothyroidism. One large egg contains around 16% of the iodine and 20% of the selenium, the daily requirement for an individual for the day.

Greek yogurt or low-fat yogurt is a good source of iodine—it can constitute up to about 50% of the daily intake of iodine.

Drinking 1 cup of low-fat milk can constitute to about one-third of the daily iodine needs.

Foods to avoid in Hypothyroidism

Cruciferous vegetables
People suffering from Hypothyroidism should avoid eating cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage and broccoli, as it can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone in an individual. Especially people who have iodine deficiency. It could be a challenge for such individuals to digest these vegetables as it can block the thyroid's ability to absorb iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function.

Junk Foods/Fried foods
It is advised that individuals with hypothyroidism should avoid consuming fried foods as fats may interfere with the thyroid's ability to produce hormone.

Alcohol consumption can come in the way and wreak havoc on the thyroid hormone levels in the body. It can also cause a challenge in the ability of the thyroid to produce the hormone. Alcohol has a toxic effect on the thyroid gland which suppresses the ability of the body to use thyroid hormone. People with hypothyroidism should completely cut the intake of alcohol.

Too much fibre
Consuming fibre is considered good but getting too much can complicate the hypothyroidism treatment. So the intake of high fibre foods must be in moderation and done with the advise of the doctor.

Foods rich in iodine
Foods with iodine content should be taken, only if one suffers from hypothyroidism due to lack of iodine in the body. This is a rare phenomenon, since eating too much of the iodine will result in hypothyroidism.

Foods with gluten
A food with gluten tends to trigger autoimmune responses in sensitive people and hence hinders the production of thyroid hormones in the body.

Artificial Sweeteners
Since artificial sweetener contains aspartame which can cause autoimmune disorders in people. Artificial sweeteners are also known to cause thyroid inflammation.
Inputs By: Dr Nikhil Nashikkar, Consultant Endocrinologist, K. J. Somaiya Hospital Super Specialty Centre.

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