Did you know that the food you eat can impact your thyroid health? Although research is ongoing with the aim to uncover the secret relationship between diet and thyroid health, there is enough evidence to suggest diet, and certain nutrients, impacts thyroid functions.
While treatment, mainly in the form of medication, is needed for those with a thyroid conditions, it is possible to incorporate the right foods into your diet to compliment treatment, and promote better thyroid health. This is done through regulating the levels of T3, T4, and thyroid antibodies in the body.
What links diet and thyroid health?
Proper nutrition is required to keep your thyroid functioning well, there are specific nutrients that are especially important to have, or add, to your diet, to ensure that it is working optimally. Here are some key dietary tips to keep in mind:
- Stick to the basics: Eating a balanced diet, with a variety of foods in the right proportions, can help support your thyroid health. This means eating at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables, choosing unsaturated oils and spreads in moderation, getting protein from sources such as beans, pulses, fish, eggs, and meat, and basing meals on high-fiber whole grain foods. Limit foods high in fat, sugar, and salt, and drink plenty of fluids (6-8 glasses per day).
- Check your micronutrient intake: Small amounts of vitamins and minerals, called micronutrients, are needed by your body, to aid thyroid function. If these are taken excessively, they can be as harmful as having a deficiency, with this in mind, have a blood test to determine if any more of these nutrients are needed, particularly iodine, selenium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
- Iodine: Seaweed, white fish, dairy, and eggs are good sources of iodine, but try to avoid relying on iodized table salt io increase your iodine intake. Because iodine helps make thyroid hormones, too little will negatively impact your thyroid, and can lead to goitre, whereas goitrogenic foods can interfere with your iodine uptake and hormone synthesis.
- Selenium: Regulates the thyroid hormones, selenium can be found in Brazil nuts, fish, eggs, and meat, a normal balanced diet will usually provide enough selenium for your body, however, speak to your doctor before taking additional supplements. Lower levels of selenium have been linked to an increased risk of hypothyroidism, goitre, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Magnesium, Zinc, Iron: These three minerals support thyroid health and function, but more research is needed to fully understand their impact, talk to your doctor and get a blood test to determine if you need more Magnesium, Zinc, or Iron, especially before taking any additional supplements.
Any dietary changes should only be used to complement, and not replace, medical treatment for existing thyroid conditions, consult your doctor for specific personalized advice on managing your thyroid condition through diet. If you are concerned that you may have thyroid problems, then we are able to test for this.