Situated in the lower neck region, the thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland which plays a crucial role in several metabolic processes of the body. The thyroid releases two hormones known as T3 and T4 which stimulate a series of reactions that result in the conversion of food into energy.
Additionally, these hormones also regulate body temperature and blood calcium levels. For the proper functioning of the essential processes of the human body, the thyroid gland must release optimum levels of these hormones.
However, if the gland starts malfunctioning, it can lead to either of the two conditions known as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. In a person suffering from hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces excessive amount of hormones.
The most common cause of this condition is an autoimmune disorder known as Graves Disease, under which the body’s internal immune system starts attacking the thyroid gland. On the other hand,hypothyroidism is characterised by an under-performing thyroid gland. This is usually due to iodine deficiency and the symptoms include rapid weight gain and fluid retention.
The primary course of treatment in both these conditions is medicinal and several specialised drugs will be prescribed by your physician. However, you will have to effect some lifestyle changes as well, the most crucial of which will be regarding your dietary intake.
People suffering from thyroid hormone imbalance have to be very careful about what they eat as some of the most staple components of a normal diet can be injurious to their health. Any food item which hampers the general health of the thyroid gland is known as a goitrogen.
Here is a list of some of the food items which are commonly classified as potential goitrogens. Hence, people with thyroid problems should reduce or eliminate the intake of these food items:
Note: If you’re concerned with your thyroid, I definitely invite you to check out ThyroidAssist because it’s a very powerful herbal remedy used to maintain normal thyroid gland functioning & thyroid hormone levels.
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1. Processed food rich in refined carbohydrates
Even under normal circumstances, processed food has little to offer in terms of nutritional value. Since it contains high quantities of carbohydrates and sugar, it has an extremely high calorie count. In most cases, processed food contains a compound known as gluten which impedes the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.
If a person is suffering from thyroid problems, his or her blood sugar levels are likely to be abnormal. The consumption of processed foods like pasta, cake, cookies, pretzels, bread etc. will aggravate the problems associated with imbalanced blood sugar levels.
At the same time, gluten can also trigger certain autoimmune responses in the body. For all these reasons, processed food containing gluten can be harmful for people with thyroid problems.
Significantly, gluten is present in nearly all grain varieties like wheat, rye, barley etc. This leaves you with very little choice in terms of the food items that you can eat. In the recent few years, the concept of a gluten-free diet has gained popularity and a number of FDA approved low-gluten or gluten-free products are widely available.
2. Cruciferous vegetables
The term cruciferous vegetables is an umbrella term which includes vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, spinach etc. All of these vegetables are potential goitrogens as they contain compounds that inhibit iodine metabolism. This, in turn, affects the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Interestingly, these vegetables are considered healthy by normal standards. However, that doesn’t hold true for people with thyroid ailments.
It must be mentioned that eating these vegetables cannot lead to thyroid problems if you are perfectly healthy otherwise. Instead, they can lead to complications only if you have been diagnosed with a thyroid related ailment.
Soy, especially in its non-fermented form, contains high levels of isoflavones which have goitrogenic properties. Non-fermented soy products include soy milk, tofu, soyabean oil, soy burgers etc. Recent studies conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture have shown that children fed on soy formulas are more likely to develop autoimmune thyroid problems in the future.
Having said as much, fermented soy products are less harmful than non-fermented soy products as the process of fermentation reduces the levels of isoflavones. As a result, the goitrogenic tendency of fermented soy products like miso, tempeh etc. decreases by a huge margin.
4. High-fat meat
High-fat meats like bacon and prime rib are dangerously rich in saturated fatty acids. These have been known to cause high cholesterol among other things. Elevated levels of cholesterol are usually associated with hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Therefore, if you are suffering from either of these disorders, chances are that your cholesterol levels have already gone through the roof.
On top of that, if you consume high-fat meat, your cholesterol levels will rise even further, increasing the risk of heart diseases , strokes and certain forms of cancer. Besides bacon and prime rib, you must also avoid other foods rich in saturated fats like fried chicken, hamburgers loaded with cheese and poultry fat.
Aspartame is a kind of artificial sweetener used as a substitute for normal sugar in several products which claim to be sugar-free. Even though it has been approved by official authorities, questions have repeatedly been raised about its potential side effects. Studies have revealed that Aspartame is capable of stimulating the onset of Graves Disease, one of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism.
Under this disease, the immune system of the body starts attacking the thyroid gland, mistaking it for a foreign substance. Hence, people suffering from thyroid problems must be weary of any products which contain aspartame.
6. Dairy Products
Dairy products should be avoided primarily because they can reduce the effectiveness of your thyroid medication. This doesn’t mean that you must stop consuming dairy products altogether. Instead, you must be more careful about the amount of dairy products consumed.
More importantly, you must not drink milk or have any milk related products immediately before taking your meds. As these products are rich in calcium, they can interfere with the medicines.
7. Caffeine and alcohol
As with dairy products, caffeine and alcohol must be avoided because they hamper the healing properties of thyroid meds. Studies have revealed that high levels of caffeine prevent the absorption of thyroid medicines in the intestines. If the medicines aren’t absorbed in the system, it is only obvious that they won’t be able to perform their stated function.
These are some of the foods that people suffering from any form of thyroid ailment must avoid. Unless stated by your physician, you should not eliminate these products from your diet altogether To the contrary, you must restrict the quantity and frequency of their consumption.
Some goitrogens like broccoli, cauliflower, soy etc. are considered healthy for all other purposes. Therefore, you can have them once in a while. However, other goitrogens like processed food and high-fat meat are notoriously bad for your general health well-being. Take these factors into consideration before you start working on your ideal diet plan.
Pay attention to this list if you have or are at risk of having thyroid problems. If you concerned with your thyroid, I suggest you look into ThyroidAssist because it’s a very powerful herbal remedy used to maintain normal thyroid gland functioning & hormone levels.