The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland which is located in the neck. It secretes two hormones which are: – Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate many bodily functions like breathing, body weight, muscle strength, body temperature, cholesterol levels etc. It’s important that both T3 and T4 hormones levels remain neither too high nor too low.
Hyperthyroidism is a medical condition in which thyroid gland becomes overactive, and as a result, it starts to make a lot of thyroid hormone (T3 and T4). The symptoms of hyperthyroidism are:
- Mood swings
- Rapid heartbeats
- Heart palpitations
- Dry skin
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight loss
- Increased bowel movements
- Missed periods in women
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Rapid heartbeats
- Increased heart rate
The treatment of hyperthyroidism includes stopping the thyroid gland from making too much hormones. Treatment includes anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine and sometimes even the surgery is recommended.
Diet and lifestyle modification in hyperthyroidism
It’s a well-known fact that when you eat healthily, you feel good. Same is true in the case of hyperthyroidism. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetable and healthy grains are important to ensure that you are getting the right amount of nutrients. When you have hyperthyroidism, you lose a lot of weight, and your physician will tell you to gain weight by increasing the calorie intake. That doesn’t mean that you start binge eating and indulge in the junk food which is high in calories and low in nutrients. Another issue that is seen with the hyperthyroidism patient is that once their hormones start to level out, they start to gain weight quickly. At that stage, an opposite diet plan will be needed where calorie cut down is essential.
Another very important thing is that you should focus on low iodine diet as high iodine can trigger the hyperthyroid symptoms. Your thyroid gland needs iodine for thyroid hormone production.
Now let’s have a look at what kind of food you should include in your diet if you have hyperthyroidism:
Always remember that fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean protein and whole grains make up a balanced diet. If you have hyperthyroidism then you should mainly focus on eating:
- Lentils – Lentils are great for hyperthyroidism as it is a very good source of protein and it also contains fibre. The benefit of eating lentil is that even being high in protein it is free from saturated fats that is found in meat.
- Food that is high in calcium – Hyperthyroidism can weaken your bones if not treated on time, so it gets highly important that you increase the intake of calcium in your diet. As dairy product contains iodine, you should switch to the non-diary source of calcium like fortified foods, but you can also ask your doctor to prescribe you calcium supplements.
- Freshwater salmon – Fishes are healthy as they contain healthy fats and fats can help you in maintaining weight when you have hyperthyroidism. But you should be cautious of consuming saltwater fish as there is high iodine content in saltwater fish.
- Selenium-rich food – Selenium-rich foods can balance out your thyroid levels, and it can also prevent your gland from the disease. Good sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, Chia seeds, mushroom, Sunflower seeds etc.
- Zinc – Zinc is a mineral that keeps your immune system strong and thyroid healthy. The food which is rich in Zinc is Beef, chickpeas, Pumpkin seeds, cashews, cocoa powder etc.
- Healthy fats – As stated above fats are very good for hyperthyroidism as it helps you to maintain a healthy weight. You can consume healthy fats from Flaxseed oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil.
- Avoid eating processed foods – If you have hyperthyroidism, you should not consume food which is high in iodine especially processed food and iodized salt. Eating too much iodine can only make your symptoms worse.
- Avoid eating nitrates – Limit the food that contains nitrates as it can make your thyroid to absorb a lot of iodine. Nitrates are found naturally in some food like processed meat, celery, lettuce, parsley, leeks, beets etc.
- Avoid eating gluten – Consuming too much gluten in hyperthyroidism can cause inflammation. Even if you don’t have a gluten allergy, it’s advisable to restrict the consumption of gluten. Gluten is present in wheat, barley, malt, rye, brewer’s yeast etc.
- Avoid soy products – Soy itself is not harmful in the condition of hyperthyroidism, but sometimes it may interfere with the treatments of hyperthyroidism. So avoid foods that have soy like soy milk, soy sauce, tofu, soy chips etc.
Hypothyroidism is a treatable condition, and with proper diet and nutrition, you can make your condition better. Follow your treatment and dietary recommendations to make sure that your thyroid gland starts to function normally.0