How Your Diet Affects Your Thyroid
Bioidentical progesterone supports thyroid function and can be extremely helpful, but did you know that everyday dietary items can also make a difference?
Women at menopause are frequently diagnosed with underactive thyroid and given medication for it. There is a link between thyroid and menopause, but it is more to do with the tendency of women in this phase of life to experience auto-immune problems.
The late Dr John Lee, the pioneer of bioidentical progesterone cream usage, was surprised by the number of menopausal women in his practice who had thyroid issues and used progesterone to help their symptoms.
What does your thyroid need to be healthy?
1 Salt Your thyroid needs iodine to work well. Most people get enough of this element from their diet, usually through fish and dairy products.
Make sure you’re using iodized table salt at home. You can tell by looking at the label.
2 Leafy greens Spinach, lettuce, and other leafy greens are great sources of magnesium, a mineral that plays a huge role in your body processes.
Fatigue, muscle cramps, and changes in your heartbeat could be signs that you’re not getting enough.
3 Nuts Women tend to be cautious of these as they can be fattening, but cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of iron.
Brazil nuts help your thyroid in two ways. Not only are they a good source of iron, but they’re also rich in selenium, another mineral that supports your thyroid. Just a few each day give you the selenium you need.
4 Seafood Fish, shrimp, and seaweed are great sources of iodine. You need iodine for a healthy thyroid, but avoid large amounts of iodine-rich choices like kelp. That may make your condition worse.
What does your thyroid not need too much of?
1 Kale Kale is a mild goitrogen — in rare cases it prevents the thyroid from getting enough iodine. But kale shouldn’t be a problem for you unless you get very little iodine in your diet and you’re eating large amounts of kale.
This is also the case for cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
2 Soy In rare cases, some of the chemicals found in soy products like soy milk or edamame could hurt your thyroid’s ability to make hormones, but only if you don’t get enough iodine and eat large amounts.
Just like with kale, if your iodine levels are OK, you probably don’t need to worry about soy.
3 Organ Meats If you eat things like kidneys, heart, or liver, you might get a lot of lipoic acid. That’s a fatty acid found in these and some other foods. You can also buy it as a supplement.
But if you get too much, it could mess with the way your thyroid works. Lipoic acid could also affect any thyroid medicines you take.
4 Gluten Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with coeliac disease, it probably won’t affect your thyroid.
Gluten can damage the small intestines of people with coeliac disease. They can have other autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s disease (which leads to an underactive thyroid) and Graves’ disease (which leads to an overactive thyroid).
If you have coeliac disease, a gluten-free diet may help prevent these thyroid diseases.
How food can affect thyroid medication
The foods you eat can affect your thyroid medicine. They can slow down how your body absorbs medicine. It can also affect how well it does it.
One way to help with that is to take medicine on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning and to be aware of items that can interfere with it.
Levothyroxine interacts with minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium, which lower the activity of thyroid medicine. Many antacids contain magnesium and aluminum, so avoid taking them when you’re on the thyroid supplement levothyroxine.
Avoid taking your thyroid hormone at the same time as:
- Coffee if having it with milk
- Calcium supplements.
- Iron supplements or multivitamins containing iron.
- Antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium.
- Some ulcer medications, so check with your pharmacist