Here’s a list of foods you should and shouldn’t include in your Hashimoto diet to avoid complications.
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Foods to Include and Not to Include in a Hashimoto Diet
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Definition: Also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the thyroid, leading to its inflammation.
What to Include in Your Hashimoto Diet
1. Foods High in B12
Vitamin B12 helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. When a person suffers from Hashimoto’s disease, the thyroid’s function is interrupted as the condition itself leads to poor extraction of vitamins and minerals, including B12, resulting in vitamin deficiency.
To increase the level of vitamin B12 in your body, you can eat foods like the following:
- Low-fat milk
- Fortified cereals
- Nutritional yeast
- Grass-fed beef
2. Foods High in Iodine
Iodine is a mineral responsible for the hormone production of your thyroid. Deficiency of the mineral can lead to thyroid problems or diseases like goiter, thyroid enlargement, and hypothyroidism.
Keeping the correct daily iodine intake (150 mcg) in your body will help stabilize its production and function. You may consume the following foods:
- Navy beans
- Sea vegetables (kombu, arame, seaweed, and kelp)
- Table salt
3. Foods Rich in Zinc
Zinc is a trace mineral that is important for the synthesis of a person’s thyroid hormones, and the lack of this mineral can lead to hypothyroidism. To get more zinc in your body, you can eat the following:
4. Foods Packed with Selenium
Selenium has the same function as zinc for your thyroid, but this nutrient is also needed to protect the gland from oxidative stress, where Hashimoto’s disease can increase it. You can eat oysters, cremini mushrooms, sunflower, and Brazil nuts to get a few days supply of selenium.
Part of the development of Hashimoto’s disease is a leaky gut, and collagen protects your intestinal lining. It supports the gut barrier with glutamine and glycine, preventing bacterial adhesion.
As your body ages, the supply of collagen decreases a lot, preventing your body from repairing the intestinal lining, digesting properly, and reducing gut inflammation.
You can get collagen from chicken skin, fish skin, and bone broth.
6. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods promote good bacteria in the gut and eliminate the bad ones. They also give healing benefits to your thyroid, help in the absorption of essential nutrients into the bloodstream, and aid in digestion.
These foods are kimchee, pickled veggies, and sauerkraut.
Probiotics are good bacteria needed for your immune health and digestive system.
What these good bacteria do for your immune system is that it helps reinforce the intestinal lining’s barrier function, reducing the risks of bad bacteria to enter into the bloodstream from the intestine. This may help decrease the chances of creating immune-related reactions and developing infections.
You can take probiotic supplements, but you can also get them from yogurt.
Note: In consuming yogurt, it is important to get the natural kind because it has less sugar.
8. Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are the building blocks of the body’s hormones that help regulate various processes in the body, including the thyroid. Eating poor-quality fats may lead to poor-quality hormones.
Consume fats from food sources like olive and coconut oils, avocado, and grass-fed butter.
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9. Foods High in Vitamin D
Although the primary role of vitamin D in the body involves regulating bone metabolism, this essential vitamin is also linked to autoimmune thyroid diseases like Hashimoto’s disease.
Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system, preventing it from attacking the thyroid. Foods that contain high levels of vitamin D are as follows:
- Fortified foods like orange juice, cow’s milk, and cereal and oatmeal
- Egg yolks
- Canned tuna
- Cod liver oil
- Herring and sardines
An additional and better source of vitamin D is sunlight. Spend 15 to 20 minutes outside in the sun early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
What Not to Include in Your Hashimoto Diet
First on our list of worst foods for Hashimoto’s disease is gluten.
Gluten promotes increased intestinal permeability as it affects zonulin (responsible for regulating the small intestine’s tight junctions), leading to a leaky gut. If you remove gluten from your Hashimoto disease diet, your body increases its ability to absorb nutrients and reduces intestinal inflammation.
With that said, it’s best to check labels before purchasing products to achieve a 100% gluten-free diet.
11. Excessive Amounts of Omega-6 Foods
Your body requires a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 for inflammation reduction and promotion, respectively. The problem happens with imbalance — consuming more omega-6 fats, which can worsen a thyroid condition.
Avoid vegetable oils and corn-fed beef as these contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
Soy contains goitrogens that can be damaging to those with Hashimoto’s disease. Heat doesn’t remove or destroy them.
Goitrogens Definition: Substances that disrupt the thyroid function by preventing it from utilizing iodine.
In some cases, consuming soy leads to thyroid crash, leaving the patient exhausted and feeling drained the following day after consumption. Avoid eating soybeans or taking anything with soy.
13. Canola Oil
Canola oil is also another goitrogen. It’s highly refined and processed and is commonly present in processed foods, like margarine, mayonnaise, and salad dressings.
Carefully read labels on the products you’ll be purchasing and opt for healthier oil varieties.
14. Raw Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous veggies are a group of vegetables with flowers that resemble the shape of a cross. Examples are Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli.
Although they possess these essential nutrients, cruciferous veggies also contain a goitrogen called glucosinolate which can interfere with the uptake of iodine and negatively affect the creation of thyroid hormones.
Cook these vegetables first before eating them to deactivate their goitrogen contents.
15. Drinks with Caffeine
An early morning coffee may help you start better during the day, but the drink has some unwanted immune system effects. A cup of coffee, for example, may help boost your energy levels, but it also increases your cortisol levels, a hormone that responds to stress.
High levels of it, over time, can reduce energy levels and weaken the immune system.
With this list of foods to eat and not to eat, you can keep your Hashimoto diet on the right track. But, it’s still important to consult your physician for proper guidance with your well-balanced diet.
Diet and lifestyle greatly affect how thyroid meds are processed in the body.
How do you maintain your Hashimoto diet? Share some tips with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 25, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.