The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland, located just below the Adam's apple, next to the thyroid cartilage above the trachea, and is made up of two butterfly-shaped lobes on either side of the trachea, both lobes joined by the isthmus. Regulates the metabolism and the body's sensitivity to other hormones.
There are people who have thyroid malfunction, more specifically they may have either an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), or they may have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and they should avoid certain foods that are bad for the health of these conditions in the gland and to prevent complications. Diet modification is the key aspect of management in both conditions.
Diet for thyroid malfunction
Thyroid conditions need to be taken care of or else there can be a host of complications. Diet modification is the key aspect of managing hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Those with these problems should avoid foods that are bad for thyroid health and prevent complications.
There are nutrients that, no matter how healthy they are, are not recommended when suffering from certain diseases. To make you feel good, specialists recommend avoiding certain foods that inhibit the ability to absorb replacement hormones, which regulate thyroid function.
Foods not recommended if you have hyperthyroidism
The diet for patients with this condition should include foods low in iodine, since the excessive presence of this mineral influences the appearance of this disorder, in addition to having ingredients that favor the decrease in thyroid hormone. Therefore, among the options that you should avoid are:
Soy: It is recommended to moderate or limit soy consumption because it contains plant-based phytoestrogens. These alter the function of the thyroid.
Gluten - irritates the small intestine and makes it difficult to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medications. This is a protein found in processed foods based on wheat, barley, yeast, malt, rye, and triticale.
Sugar: foods with excessive amounts of sugar should be avoided because they provide large amounts of calories without nutrients. It is best to reduce the amount or try to eliminate it completely from the diet.
Alcohol: Alcohol can interfere with balance of mood, sleep, thyroid function, and thyroid medications. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and say no to alcoholic beverages to ensure your thyroid gland is working properly.
Nitrates: can cause the thyroid to absorb too much iodine. This can lead to an enlarged thyroid and hyperthyroidism. Nitrates are found naturally in some foods. Processed foods can contain added nitrates. It can also be found in drinking water. Avoid or limit foods such as:
· Processed meats (sausage, bacon, salami, pepperoni)
Fiber: although it is essential for a good diet, it is suggested that adults consume between 20 to 35 grams a day, if this recommendation is exceeded it could alter the work of the digestive system.
Salty Food: Excess iodine in the diet is the most common reason behind thyroid conditions. It is recommended to avoid salty foods and also watch your salt intake. Avoid as much iodine as you can.
Whole milk: Consuming whole milk is not a good food choice for hyperthyroid patients. You should try to avoid it completely and go for skim milk which does not interfere with thyroid function and is easy to digest. Or even better, opt for plant-based milks such as almond or coconut.
Rice: People with an overactive thyroid should avoid rice because it is high in sodium and carbohydrates. Rice and rice products can dramatically increase weight, which can cause further complications for thyroid patients.
Caffeine: Thyroid patients are cautioned against consuming caffeinated products and should seek physician approval for caffeine. Herbal teas, fresh fruit juices, and plant-based soups are some of the best options.
Fried food: Fried foods or recipes with a lot of oil can increase weight and cholesterol. Both can be very dangerous for thyroid patients. Therefore, you should avoid eating fatty foods as much as possible.
Seafood: Avoid the following seafood and shellfish additives:
· agar agar,
Cruciferous vegetables: Incorporating cruciferous vegetables into the diet can improve health for almost everyone, but not for people with thyroid problems. Avoid broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage as they contain sulfur, which is responsible for triggering thyroid malfunction.
Foods to avoid if you have hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can lead to a disrupted menstrual cycle, weight gain, constipation, goiter, depression, dry skin, hair loss, muscle fatigue, slow heart rate, high blood cholesterol, and a puffy face.
· Raw or undercooked green leafy vegetables or cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, etc.
· Foods rich in sugar as uncontrolled insulin spikes deteriorate the condition of hypothyroidism.
· Junk food and processed foods, such as fried foods, fried in batters, potato wafers, French fries, etc. These foods are high in sodium, but have no iodine and no nutritional value. They will only increase cholesterol levels and affect your health.
· Green Tea. There are many studies that have confirmed that green tea possesses antithyroid properties and that excessive consumption of green tea can cause hypothyroidism.
Other foods to avoid are:
Tap Water - This is possibly one of the biggest challenges as everyone needs to drink a lot of water. Unfortunately, the chlorine and fluoride they add to our home water inhibit the production of thyroid hormones. Overcoming this is not so easy. Some folks are lucky enough to be able to collect fresh spring water, but be careful here too - spring water is often lacking in calcium, so you need to make sure you're supplementing in some way. Another alternative is a reverse osmosis filtration device under the kitchen sink, which filters all the harmful substances out of the water, but this way, you will also need to supplement your calcium.
Gluten - Many people with hypothyroidism are also sensitive to gluten, so it is wise to avoid anything that contains high levels of gluten. Flour, noodles, barley, and rye are high in gluten. Fortunately, most supermarkets carry a range of gluten-free products, but avoid the highly processed ones.
Soy: Although soy has been a favorite among vegetarians and people who want to eat less meat, it is becoming increasingly prominent due to the isoflavones it contains, which inhibit thyroid activity. In addition, they also inhibit the absorption of thyroid medications.
Now that you know which foods to avoid, keep in mind some that stand out for their properties to activate the metabolism, stimulating the functioning of the thyroid gland.
If you suffer from this disease or are in treatment, remember that food is essential to feel good. Do not forget it is important that after starting a treatment you should continue with frequent check-ups to make sure of its effectiveness and stay as healthy as possible.
The following meal plan provides options for 7 days of meals and snacks. The plan consists of nutrient-dense whole foods. A person should determine the appropriate portion sizes, according to their weight loss goals, activity levels, and individual requirements.