Hypothyroidism is the result of an underactive thyroid, meaning your thyroid gland under produces important hormones your body needs. This condition causes an imbalance of chemical reactions within the human body, which when untreated can contribute to obesity, joint pain and heart disease. The effectiveness of replacement hormone treatments can be diminished if you eat certain foods.
Foods to Avoid if You Have Hypothyroidism
Limit or try to avoid these six types of food if you have hypothyroidism.
- Cruciferous vegetables – Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts can inhibit the production of thyroid hormone. This is especially common in those who have an iodine deficiency. Digesting these vegetables can block the ability to absorb iodine, which is needed for normal thyroid function. Cooking cruciferous vegetables reduces the adverse effect on the thyroid. It is suggested that a limit of five ounces per day doesn’t seem to have negative effects on thyroid function.
- Gluten – Gluten is the protein — found in foods processed in wheat, rye and other grains — that irritate the small intestine and hinder the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement. If you do decide to eat gluten, choose whole-grain varieties of pasta, bread and rice. This helps to reduce bowel irregularity, a common symptom of underactive thyroid. It’s important to remember to take your hypothyroidism medication a few hours before or after eating these high-fiber foods as not to interfere with thyroid hormone absorption.
- Fatty foods – Fats are known to upset your body’s ability to absorb thyroid replacement hormones. Fats can also prevent the thyroid’s natural ability to produce hormones. Physicians recommend that you cut out all fried foods and limit your intake of fats from butter, mayonnaise and fatty meats.
- Sugary Foods – A side effect of hypothyroidism is a slowed metabolism. This can cause weight gain if limitations are not in place. Physicians state that you’ll want to avoid foods with too much sugar because they don’t offer nutritional value. Try to reduce your sugar intake or completely eliminate sugar from your diet.
- Coffee – Caffeine can block absorption of thyroid hormone replacements. Coffee also has the ability to interfere with the natural thyroid hormone T4 that is absorbed through the stomach. Take your medication with water and skip the coffee for at least 30 minutes before and after.
- Processed Foods – These types of foods typically contain high levels of sodium. It is suggested that people with hypothyroidism should avoid sodium due to the already higher risk of having high blood pressure. Sodium only increases this risk. When purchasing food, be sure to look at the label and choose items with the lowest amounts of sodium. According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, those with a higher risk of high blood pressure should limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams daily instead of the recommended 2,300 milligrams.
These six types of food can contribute to difficulties in your thyroid’s natural hormone production and any hormone replacement medication you may take. Limiting or completely avoiding these foods will help with your hypothyroidism and treatment.
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