6 Worst Foods for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Posted October 17, 2020


Whether you or someone you love have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or Graves' disease — know that you are not alone. Whenever there is a hormonal problem within the body, it takes some time to understand how to manage symptoms and get relief. For some of you reading this, it may have even taken years to recognize symptoms and begin the journey of healing. But whether you are new to this journey or have been walking the path for some time, there are some changes you can make to your diet that will help reduce your symptoms and increase your quality of life.

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the Thyroid that is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located anterior to the trachea. Hashimoto's is classified as an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland.

Hashimoto’s disease can occur due to numerous reasons, such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). It may also be caused by an excessive treatment of hyperthyroidism (hyperactive thyroid) or genetics. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disorder that happens at least 8 times more in women more than in men. 1

Functions of Thyroid Gland:

Your thyroid gland carries out various tasks in your body that involve producing three main hormones, T3, T4, and calcitonin, that perform many body functions. 2

The thyroid gland is responsible for the following:

Growth and development
Temperature regulation
Stimulating heart rate and contraction
Regulates the basal metabolic rate of the body
Nutrient metabolism
Production of ATP
Calcium Homeostasis

Needless to say, the thyroid gland is doing a lot of work inside your body! When something does not feel quite right, it is important to take note of your symptoms in order to know how to help reduce them.

What are the Symptoms?

Hashimoto’s is not one of those diseases that suddenly starts to affect your whole body. Instead, it progresses very slowly over several years. Initially, it is asymptomatic, but gradually as hypothyroidism progresses, you may start to see one or more than one symptom. This makes Hashimoto's hard to diagnose.

You may not notice that your hair has gradually thinned, or that your face looks more puffy than the day previous. However, think back five years. How has your daily life changed?

The most common symptoms experienced are:

Goiter
Fatigue
Constipation
Depression
Memory problems
Reduced heart rate
Unexplained weight gain
Dry skin
Brittle, and thin hair
Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
Problems in becoming pregnant
Temperature regulation (especially cold)
Joint and muscle pain
Puffy face
Muscle weakness

This list of symptoms can make life harder! The good news is that these symptoms can be managed through proper nutrition. Adding in foods like leafy greens, organic meat, and organ meats can be effective in adding the vitamins and minerals needed to support the thyroid. It is equally important to cut out harmful foods from the diet so your body can function better.

6 Worst Foods for Hashimoto’s Disease

While heading forward towards the treatment of any disease through diet and nutrition, it is imperative to be aware of all the food options that can prove to be bad for your health. What you eat directly impacts your immune system and thyroid function.

Gluten

For those with Hashimoto’s Disease, there is always some extent of gluten intolerance. This means that gluten-containing products may trigger an autoimmune response that causes inflammation and gut problems. The good news is there are many alternatives to foods that contain gluten! For example, instead of wrapping your burrito with a wheat tortilla, try a cassava one instead! 3

Foods that contain gluten are:

Wheat
Barley
Rye
Bread
Cereals
Pasta
Crackers
Bakery goods
Some alcohol

Sugar

According to the American Heart Association, women should consume 6 teaspoons per day of sugar, and men should consume 9 teaspoons per day. And this amount includes the sugars present in fruits and natural foods and excludes artificial sweeteners or processed foods. But unfortunately, sugar consumption has skyrocketed, and an average person now consumes approximately 20 teaspoons of sugar every day. This is quite alarming! Reducing sugar is so important to success in permanently reducing symptoms. Research conducted in 2018 showed a significant return of antibodies level and thyroid-stimulating hormone after quitting sugar. Artificial sweeteners are not better than refined sugars. In fact, Sucralose is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener that was found to be harmful for those with thyroid problems. 4

High sugar intake can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, increase inflammation, sabotage gut health, and provoke autoimmune flares.

Foods that are high in sugars are:

High-sugar fruits
Soda
Maple Syrup
Processed foods
Packaged foods
Sauces

From personal experience, sugar is the hardest food to give up. It is totally normal to have cravings, headaches, and mood swings while you are in the process of giving up sugar. Stick with it! These symptoms will pass. When you have successfully given up sugar, you will notice that your brain fog is lifted, your inflammation is reduced, and your energy levels are more even throughout the day.

Grain

There are several foods in this group that can trigger an autoimmune reaction and results in unwanted symptoms. Two main factors affect the consumption of grains during hypothyroidism:

Hashimoto’s and celiac disease are closely related to each other. This is because both are autoimmune disorders and trigger a response that causes gluten sensitivity in the body. Once you consume grains/gluten, your intestinal permeability increases that lead to a leaky gut. It further aggravates health conditions as excessive hormone production, disruption of digestive walls that cause constipation, and unexplained weight gain.
Secondly, grains are a high fiber food, and fiber is undoubtedly necessary for the human body. But the problem arises when this high fiber food group brings with it a bucket-full of pesticides that damage the intestinal walls.

Grains detrimental to thyroid health are:

Wheat
Corn
Barley
Oats
Kamut
Couscous
Millet

Dairy

Animal milk contains high quantities of antigens and saturated fats. And both of these substances are responsible for inflammation that reduces your body’s ability to fight with bacteria and viruses. These inflammatory chemicals directly affect your immune system. As we know, Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease; so ensuring that your immune system is functioning well is important to reduce symptoms.

Dairy products that should be avoided are:

Milk
Cream
Cheese
Butter
Yogurt

Soy

Soy products contain Isoflavones that can block the function of the thyroid peroxidase enzyme. TPO is responsible for the production of thyroid hormones, T3 and T4.

Isoflavones also mimic the effect of estrogen that allows it to replace some of the functions of estrogen. When estrogen is replaced with Isoflavones, it can cause symptoms for people with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

Foods that contain soy are:

Soy milk
Edamame
Tofu
Vegan meat alternatives
Canned Fish
Processed foods
Processed meat

Alcohol

Did you know that your liver and your thyroid are highly connected? Your liver is responsible for hormone metabolism (including thyroid hormones). When you drink alcohol, your liver is also responsible for alcohol metabolism. So, you can see how not drinking alcohol can help your liver focus on what you want it to: metabolizing hormones.

Alcohol can also inhibit digestion. Your gut and thyroid are also highly connected. When the receptors in your gut are blocked, it is harder to absorb the nutrients that will help support your immune system and thyroid.

Abstaining from all forms of alcohol is vital to reducing symptoms for Hashimoto's Disease.

Hashimoto's Disease does not have to control your life. These changes to the diet will help reduce inflammation in your body and reduce the symptoms that you deal with every day.

The most important part of all of this is: do not give up! It will take a couple of weeks for cravings to subside, and your diet to become more normal for you. Give it 30 days of tracking your symptoms using our symptom tracker and re-evaluate!

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