What is Hashimoto's disease?
Your thyroid gland is responsible for regulating your body's temperature, hormones, and metabolism. When the thyroid slows or stops the production of certain essential hormones, that can cause symptoms like fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, and constipation.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, more commonly known as Hashimoto’s disease, is an autoimmune condition that affects a healthy thyroid. Individuals with this disease often have a chronically inflamed thyroid and must make certain diet and lifestyle modifications to improve symptoms.
Want to gain more insight into what you can do to manage this condition? Read on to discover the changes you may need to implement in your life to ease symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Your thyroid gland sits at the base of your neck. This gland affects nearly every organ from your heart to your central nervous system and is responsible for regulating your metabolism through the secretion of a certain hormone.
Hashimoto's disease destroys thyroid tissue via white blood cells that play a large part in the function of your immune system. What this ultimately leads to is insufficient hormone production.
Specific foods are known to aggravate symptoms of this disease, and those who suffer from it should do their best to avoid eating foods that contribute to inflammation. While there isn't a specific diet that can prevent or treat this disease, changing your diet in general can still have a significant impact on your condition.
Changes to your diet can improve your overall quality of life if implemented consistently. When you stray from your diet, you may find that symptoms of the disease have returned or worsened.
What's the best diet for Hashimoto's disease?
Even with the help of certain medications, individuals living with Hashimoto's disease often find that their symptoms persist. Inflammation is a driving factor of Hashimoto's disease, though, which is why making certain lifestyle and diet changes can have an enormous effect, reducing symptoms related to this disease.
Making these lifestyle and diet changes may also reduce someone's risk of developing other autoimmune conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol. Taking supplements, making certain lifestyle changes, and eating the right foods can improve thyroid function and increase your quality of life.
While there is no specific diet you should adopt to manage your condition, the following diets can offer some potential benefits to those with Hashimoto's disease.
Removing all foods with gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat and other grains, may improve certain symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Popular foods that contain gluten include bread, pasta, beer, and cereal. The best way to avoid gluten altogether is by focusing on incorporating more gluten-free foods into your diet, like lean meats, vegetables, eggs, and beans.
Be aware, though, that eliminating grains from your diet may also cause you to lose out on nutrients like selenium, which is essential for those with Hashimoto's. You will need to find alternative sources of this and other nutrients.
If you were diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, you should consider getting screened for celiac disease, as these illnesses can coincide.
If you suspect you're lactose intolerant, choosing a dairy-free diet can aid certain digestive issues and improve thyroid function. It is not uncommon for those diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease to have difficulty digesting dairy. Cutting dairy products from your diet could moderately improve symptoms of Hashimoto's.
With an emphasis on unprocessed foods, the autoimmune or paleo diet aims to mimic early eating patterns by sticking to the basics and avoiding foods that can damage the gut and trigger inflammation. Some foods that are restricted from this diet include potatoes, refined sugar, grains, food additives, seeds, dairy, lentils, nuts, and refined oils. Inflammation is thought to be a primary trigger of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, so those who deal with chronic inflammation are encouraged to eat foods like vegetables and fatty fish due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Finding the best foods to avoid and add to your diet may be difficult and require a good amount of trial and error, though. Because the autoimmune protocol diet is an elimination diet, you should consider speaking to your healthcare professional before adopting it.
Nutrient-dense diets can improve your health and help mitigate symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease. A nutrient-dense diet contains things like vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats. Sticking to foods with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits like leafy greens, fatty fish, and fruits like berries can then help lower thyroid antibodies and fight against inflammation.
Focusing on eating healthy foods like lean proteins, healthful fats, and fibrous foods like beans will leave less room for refined sugars and other unhealthy, processed foods.
When it comes to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, avoiding cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts can also improve your condition. You may, however, continue to enjoy these vegetables in moderation.
What nutrients are helpful for Hashimoto’s disease?
Individuals with conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are often deficient in certain nutrients like vitamin D. Taking vitamin D supplements may benefit those with Hashimoto’s by reducing inflammation, and it may even slow down the course of hyperthyroidism. Some foods that are great sources of vitamin D include sardines, salmon, mushrooms, and fortified orange juice.
People with Hashimoto’s may also benefit from taking up to 200 mcg of selenium per day, as low selenium levels are common among those diagnosed with the disease. Often prescribed alongside selenium, zinc can also help improve thyroid function for those with hypothyroidism.
Food sources containing selenium that you should consider adding to your diet include Brazil nuts, eggs, tuna, and grass-fed beef. When magnesium levels are low in your body, this puts you at an increased risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease, while addressing magnesium deficiencies can improve symptoms of thyroid disease.
Because those with Hashimoto’s are more prone to developing anemia, iron supplements are recommended to correct this deficiency.
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Cleveland Clinic: "Hashimoto's Disease."
Health Match: "What Is The Best Diet For Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?"
Mayo Clinic: "Hypothyroidism diet: Can certain foods increase thyroid function?"
Med India: "Hashimoto's Diet: Best Foods for Hypothyroidism."
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Hashimoto's ThyroiditisHashimoto's thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder causing inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a type of hypothyroidism and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the US.
Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis may include dry skin, fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold, excessive sleepiness, dry skin, dry coarse hair, difficulty swallowing, a lump in the front of the throat, muscle cramps, mood changes, vague aches and pains, problems concentrating, leg swelling, constipation, and depression.
There is no cure for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Diet changes, natural supplements, vitamins, or other natural products will not treat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Treatment for the autoimmune disorder is with thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which will be necessary for the rest of the person’s life.
How Is Hashimoto's Disease Different From Hypothyroidism?Hypothyroidism is a term that simply means an underactive thyroid gland, while Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition that usually causes hypothyroidism.