What foods are bad for the thyroid?
The thyroid gland is a shield-shaped gland located in your neck. It secretes the hormones T3 and T4 that control the metabolism of every cell in the body. Foods that are bad for the thyroid gland include foods from the cabbage family, soy, fried foods, wheat, foods high in caffeine, sugar, fluoride, and iodine.
Medical Author: Rohini Radhakrishnan, ENT, Head and Neck Surgeon Medical Editor: Pallavi Suyog Uttekar, MD
The thyroid gland is a shield-shaped gland located in your neck. It secretes the hormones T3 and T4 that control the metabolism of every cell in the body. A balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, and complex carbs keeps the thyroid gland healthy.
Certain foods may interfere with the ability of the thyroid gland to process or produce thyroid hormones. These are called goitrogens.
Foods that are bad for your thyroid may include
- The high content of fluoride in cold drinks damages the thyroid gland like no other beverage.
- Foods belonging to the brassica family such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage contain substances that may alter thyroid function. These foods, especially if eaten raw (salads), can cause T3 and T4 levels to dip.
- Soy foods such as tofu, edamame, and soybeans contain isoflavones that act as goitrogens in your body and inhibit the production of thyroid hormones. Steer clear of soy products and select fermented soy foods to minimize the concentration of goitrogenic compounds in your diet.
- Iodine that is essential for a healthy thyroid gland may paradoxically suppress T3 and T4 function if taken in excess. Daily consumption of iodine should not be more than 150 grams. Hence, only take iodide supplements such as kelp, nori, and seaweed under doctor supervision.
- Fried foods and foods that contain saturated fats are also bad for thyroid health and function.
- Although consuming gluten is generally not a problem for most people, it can impair nutrient absorption and trigger GI inflammation in those who have celiac disease. Unfortunately, some people with hypothyroidism, which is caused by an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto’s disease, are also at a high risk of being affected by celiac disease. Some people must avoid gluten completely to maintain thyroid function.
- Caffeine dependence is detrimental to your thyroid and adrenal glands. Caffeine blocks the absorption of thyroid hormone, so you should minimize caffeine consumption as much as possible if you have hypothyroidism.
- Excess sugar consumption wreaks havoc on the body. In addition to causing a slew of diseases, it interferes with T4 conversion which is necessary for thyroid function.
- Alcohol can suppress the thyroid gland’s ability to produce thyroid hormones, which is why doctors advise people who have an underactive thyroid to stop drinking alcohol.
What foods can I eat to support healthy thyroid function?
Foods that support healthy thyroid function may include
- Protein: Grass-fed meats, free-range chicken, wild-caught seafood, and beans (slow-cooked)
- Selenium: Brazil nuts, organic liver, cold-water fish, and garlic
- Magnesium: Dark leafy greens, almonds, pecans, and flax seeds
- Vitamin B12: Grass-fed meats, free-range chicken and eggs, and wild-caught seafood
- Iodine: Wild-caught seafood, seaweed, and kelp
- Iron: Grass-fed beef, organic beef liver, spinach, and sardines
- Zinc: Grass-fed meats, free-range chicken, wild-caught seafood, and almonds
- Vitamin B2: Grass-fed meats, organic organ meats, almonds, and green vegetables
- Vitamin D: Sunshine, egg yolks, organic liver, and wild-caught fish
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Wild-caught fish, walnuts, chia, and flax seeds
- Vitamin C: Broccoli, brussels sprout, citrus fruits, and berries
- Vitamin A: Free-range eggs, green vegetables, and organic liver
What is hypothyroidism?
An elevation in thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is an indicator that the gland is not working properly and that thyroid hormone function (serum T3 and T4) is low. Low levels of T3 and T4 circulate back up to the pituitary gland and signal that not enough thyroid hormone is being produced. The pituitary gland compensates by increasing TSH levels in the serum. This condition is called hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism slows down cell metabolism and weakens the heart, nerves, brain, and reproductive system.
What is hyperthyroidism?
Having low thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels means that your thyroid gland is overproducing thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), a condition called hyperthyroidism. In this condition, excess T3 and T4 hormones increase metabolism. The result is weight loss, abnormal heart function, eye problems, gut problems, and anxiety.
Can thyroid problems cause burning mouth syndrome?
Burning mouth syndrome is a severe, painful condition characterized by burning sensations in the tongue, lips, palate (roof of the mouth), gums, inside of the cheeks, and back of the mouth or throat. The feeling is often described as a scalding or tingling sensation. It is more common in women than in men and is particularly common around menopause. It may often be due to poorly functioning salivary glands. The poor function may be linked to abnormal T3 levels. Often, a diet rich in selenium and iodine is found to provide relief in some cases.