11 foods for thyroid health and 3 to avoid (2023)

They arethyroidYou need iodine to function properly and to produce enough thyroid hormones for your body's needsNational Institute of Health(NIH). If you don't get enough iodine, you riskhypothyroidismor goiter (a thyroid gland that enlarges to compensate for a lack of thyroid hormone, e.gMedline Plus). Most Americans don't have a problem getting enough iodine since table salt is iodized, but if you're on a low-sodium diet (as more and more Americans are doing for heart health) or are vegan (more on that later), then so are you You may need to increase your iodine intake from other sources.

Many types of seaweed are full of iodine, but the amount can vary widely,Mira Ilic, RD, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, saidhealth. According to the NIH, iodine levels vary significantly in different types of algae. For example, commercially available algae, whole or in leaves, have iodine concentrations ranging from 16 mcg/g to 2984 mcg/g (the recommended dietary intake for a person who is not pregnant or breastfeeding is 150 mcg/g). mcg). .

Since algae can be particularly rich in iodine, you should not eat sushi every day of the week.A lot ofIodine can be just as harmful to the thyroid as too little iodine and can trigger (or worsen) hypothyroidism. To reap the great benefits of algae without going overboard,Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, mihealthThe contributing nutrition editor of , advised sticking to one fresh seaweed salad per week (in addition to sushi) and avoiding seaweed teas and supplements.

The benefits of seaweed and why you should eat more

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Aside from eating some seaweed salads, you probably don't need to worry about getting too much iodine from other foods. Dairy products, in particular, contain an average of 85 mcg of iodine per cup, the NIH says.

However, the iodine content in dairy products varies. This is partly because cattle are supplemented with iodine and the milking process includes iodine-based cleaners. According to the NIH, when tested, skim milk samples contained a range of 38 to 159 mcg per cup.

Low-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt is a good source — it can provide about 50% of your daily iodine intake.NIH sea.

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Good: Brazil nuts

According to the NIH, Brazil nuts contain another nutrient that helps regulate thyroid hormones:Selenium. Selenium may help prevent long-term thyroid damage in people with thyroid problems like Hashimoto's and Graves' disease, according to a 2013 review in the Journal.Clinical Endocrinology.

Just one grain contains between 68 and 91 micrograms. Since the upper limit for selenium is 400 micrograms per day, this must not be exceeded. Too much selenium can cause "garlic breath", hair loss, and even discolored nailsheart failuresaid Ilic.

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According to the NIH, milk and dairy products are among the best sources of iodine. However, plant-based drinks used as milk substitutes, such as soy and almond drinks, contain relatively small amounts of iodine.

Our milk consumption has been declining for decades.United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) show that per capita consumption of liquid cow's milk in the United States has been declining for more than 70 years and continued to decline in the 2000s at an average rate of 1% per year and at the fastest average rate from 2.6% per year in the 2010s.

Drinking 1 cup of low-fat milk covers about a third of your daily iodine requirement. Another good idea: opt for a glass of milk fortified with vitamin D. A 2013 study published inInternational Journal of Health Sciencesfound that people with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) were more likely to have D deficiency than their healthier peers. (Another honorable mention for dairy is cheese, especially cheddar: just one slice has 12 micrograms of iodine and 7 IU of vitamin D.)

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Good: chicken and beef

Zinkis another essential thyroid nutrient: your body needs it to make thyroid hormones. According to a 2013 study published in , not having enough zinc can lead to hypothyroidismInternational Journal of Trichology. But understand this: If you develop hypothyroidism, you could also be zinc deficient, since thyroid hormones help absorb the mineral, Ilic explained. And when that happens, you can also experience side effects likealopecia, an autoimmune disease that attacks hair follicles, causing them to fall out in clumps, according to a 2013 report in theInternational Journal of Trichology.

You're probably getting enough zinc already (most people in the US), but if you have a poor diet or a gastrointestinal condition that's affecting your ability to absorb zinc, you could be deficient, Ilic said.Meat is a good source, according to the NIH: A 3-ounce serving of roast beef contains 7 milligrams; a 3-ounce hamburger contains 3 milligrams; and a 3-ounce serving of dark chicken contains 2.4 milligrams.

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Because iodine is found in soil and seawater, fish is another good source of this nutrient, the saysAmerican Thyroid Association. Researchers have long known that people living in remote, mountainous, inland regions are at risk of goiter, the authors of a 2014 study inBMC Public HealthI wrote.

"The most compelling evidence we have [of thyroid problems] is the lack of proper nutrition," he said.Dr. Salvatore Caruana, Director of Head and Neck Surgery in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery at Columbia Doctors.

A 3-ounce serving of baked cod contains about 158 ​​micrograms of iodine (enough to meet your daily needs if you're not pregnant or breastfeeding), the NIH says. Even fish fingers provide a healthy amount of iodine at 58 micrograms of iodine in a 3-ounce serving.

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Good: seafood

Usually shellfish such as lobster andShrimpthey are good sources of iodine, said Ilic. Just 3 ounces of shrimp (about 4-5 pieces) contains about 10% of the recommended intake, according to the NIH.

Bonus: Seafood can also be a good source of zinc. Three ounces of Alaskan crab and lobster contain 6.5 and 3.4 milligrams of zinc, respectively, the NIH says.

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A large egg contains about 16% of your daily iodine and 20% of your daily selenium needs, according to the NIH, making eggs a thyroid superfood.

Unless your doctor told you otherwise, eat the egg whole (try our foolproof hack for easy egg boiling): Much of that iodine and selenium is in the yolk, Ilic said.

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good: berries

The best thyroid diet requires more than just iodine, selenium, and vitamin D, Ilic said. Perhaps not surprisingly, foods are rich inantioxidants(Substances found in certain foods that help fight cell damage) are also good for the thyroid. According to a 2022 study inbiomedicine and pharmacotherapy, antioxidants may help control thyroid dysfunction.

All types of berries are therefore rich in antioxidantsMedicine Johns Hopkins, with the "best" berry being the black raspberry, a cousin of the raspberry with a deeper color. Black raspberries are very high in antioxidants, fiber and relatively low in natural sugars.

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If you do some Googling, you might find a page claiming that cruciferous vegetables (think: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts) can cause thyroid problems. The truth is a little darker. While it is true that this vegetable contains compounds called glucosinolates, whichI couldinterfere with the body's production of thyroid hormones in large amounts, they are very unlikely to harm your thyroid if you eat normal sized portions.

A 2016 study innutritional assessmentsfound that the amount and type of cruciferous vegetables played a role. Eating typical servings of raw broccoli, bok choy, bok choy, and broccoli rabe is unlikely to affect thyroid function. However, excessive consumption (eg, > 1 kg/day for several months) of raw Russian/Siberian kale, some kale, and Brussels sprouts may decrease thyroid iodine uptake and impair iodine production.

Bottom line: "Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and kale are important for a healthy diet and thyroid health," Ilic said. (Also, when you cook the food, you release enzymes related to glucosinolates. See? Problem solved.)

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Good (sort of): soy

The effect of soy on thyroid health has been conflicting. There is some concern that soy might negatively affect thyroid function and alter thyroid hormone levels, as described by the authors of a 2019 meta-analysisNature.After reviewing numerous studies thatNatureThe authors wrote that they found that soy supplementation did not affect thyroid hormones.

Again, Ilic said as long as you're eating average amounts of soy, there's no need to worry it'll harm your thyroid.

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FYI: This only applies to people withceliac diseaseor gluten intolerance.

According to a 2021 review published innutrient,Celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease often coexist. The review found that the data collected supports a significant gut-thyroid axis, suggesting that gut microorganisms affect not only the immune system and micronutrient absorption, but also thyroid function.

While it's not entirely clear whether a gluten-free diet alone can help treat thyroid disease, if you've been diagnosed with celiac disease, it's important to stick to a strict gluten-free diet to manage your symptoms.

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Not so good: processed foods

If you're thinking about increasing your intake of salty and processed foods just to get more iodine into your diet, think again.

"Manufacturers don't have to use iodized salt in their products," Ilic said. And according to the NIH, they "almost never do."

The result: You could be consuming too much sodium (which can lead to high blood pressure and then heart disease) without iodine.

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Like processed foods, fast food chains don't have to be usediodized saltin your food.

In accordance withAmerican Thyroid Association(ATA) you should avoid dining in restaurants as there is no reasonable way to tell which restaurants use iodized salt.

An analysis of the iodine content of common foods by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that a fast food hamburger contained 3.3 µg of iodine per 100 g, while a non-fast food ground beef hamburger contained 8 µg of iodine per 100 g 100g contained g.

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(Video) Foods for Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)


What are the 11 thyroid harming vegetables? ›

These vegetables have been shown, in certain situations, to interfere with how your thyroid gland uses iodine.
Cruciferous vegetables belong to a group of related plants, and include the following produce:
  • Bok choy.
  • Broccoli.
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Cabbage.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Collard greens.
  • Kale.
  • Kohlrabi.
Aug 15, 2018

What are the best fruit to heal the thyroid? ›

Apples, pears, plums and citrus fruits are abundant with pectins, which help with detoxifying the body of mercury – one of the most critical metals that have been connected to thyroid problems.

What foods make thyroid worse? ›

Foods to avoid
  • Soy. Studies suggest that phytoestrogens in soybeans and soy-rich foods may inhibit the activity of an enzyme that makes thyroid hormones. ...
  • Iodine-rich foods.
  • Iron and calcium supplements. ...
  • High-fiber foods. ...
  • Certain vegetables.

Which vegetable is not good for thyroid? ›

So if you do, it's a good idea to limit your intake of Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and bok choy, because research suggests digesting these vegetables may block the thyroid's ability to utilize iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function.

What foods inflame the thyroid? ›

These foods are known as goitrogens. Known goitrogens are vegetables from the cruciferous family: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards. Consumed in high amounts (especially raw) they are known to cause swelling of the thyroid gland leading it to become over- or under-active.

Do and don'ts for thyroid? ›

The thyroid gland releases thyroid hormones into the body that control how your body utilizes energy.
Do's and Don'ts.
Regular health check-upIgnore thyroid symptoms.
Avoid smoking and heavy alcohol consumption.Ignore the iodine intake in your diet
Take the correct amount of iodine.Eat excess sugary foods
3 more rows

What nuts to avoid with hypothyroidism? ›

One note: Walnuts can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption, so avoid eating them at the same time you take your medication.

What drink helps thyroid? ›

Drinks that your thyroid will love you for
  • Apple cider vinegar in water.
  • Bone broth.
  • Herbal teas with collagen.
  • Medicinal mushroom tea.
Apr 10, 2021

What can I drink to cure thyroid? ›

Dairy Products

Milk, cheese, and yoghurt are very beneficial for the thyroid as they are high in iodine, the mineral that is essential for proper thyroid functioning. Consuming dairy products will also help with increasing vitamin levels which in turn will help with thyroid problems.

Is avocado good for thyroid? ›

Avocado. Avocados aren't just a party staple; they're also loaded with healthy thyroid nutrients. Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, which our thyroids need to keep up with the rest of our bodies.

Is banana good for thyroid? ›

Hypothyroid persons can take all fruits including banana in moderation.

What is the best breakfast for hypothyroidism? ›

Eggs are a healthy breakfast for people with hypothyroidism. Eggs are a lean protein containing iodine and selenium—nutrients necessary for thyroid health. Pair with toast and sliced avocado for a nutrient-dense, satisfying breakfast.

What greens are best for thyroid? ›

Dark, leafy green veggies like spinach, chard, collard greens and kale score big in three ways: they're high in iron, magnesium and vitamin A—all nutrients your thyroid needs to thrive. Vitamin A helps your thyroid produce thyroid hormone, while both iron and magnesium help the body absorb it.

Is oatmeal good for thyroid? ›

Since oats are a good source of vitamins B and E, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese and iron, they help produce thyroid hormones and maintain their balance. Oats also contain iodine which is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

Is chocolate good for thyroid? ›

Dark chocolate is an interesting superfood to integrate for those with thyroid conditions,” Richards says. “Cacao contains significant amounts of antioxidants, which work to prevent and treat the cellular damage caused by free radicals in the body as a result of toxins and stress.”

Are potatoes OK for thyroid? ›

Potatoes provide several essential minerals that support the thyroid, including Vitamin C, B6, potassium, magnesium, iron, and iodine. In addition, vitamins A and B, abundant in sweet potatoes, control the secretion of thyroid hormones.

Do tomatoes affect thyroid? ›

Since antioxidants aid thyroid function by protecting it from autoimmune attacks, consuming blueberries, plums, grapes, cherries, tomatoes, and bell peppers, among others, can help reduce hypothyroid symptoms.

Is broccoli bad for thyroid? ›

People worried about broccoli and other vegetables in the brassica family can safely consume them as they do not cause hypothyroidism or goiter, according to research.

What is the best bread for hypothyroidism? ›

Healthier carbohydrate choices for people with hypothyroidism include whole-grain or sourdough bread, brown rice, whole-wheat tortillas, and sweet potatoes. These alternatives won't have the same effect on your blood sugar, Cowen says.

How can I quickly balance my thyroid? ›

Here are five ways to balance your thyroid, but make sure to work with your doctor to determine the best approach for you.
  1. Manage Your Stress. ...
  2. Exercise Regularly. ...
  3. Minimize Exposure to Toxins and Radiation. ...
  4. Increase Specific Nutrients. ...
  5. Limit Goitrogenic Foods.
Feb 25, 2016

Does peanut butter affect hypothyroidism? ›

Synthetic thyroid hormone replacement is safe and effective when used according to properly prescribed amounts. Side effects are relatively uncommon. Several foods appear to trigger hypothyroidism, two of which are peanuts and peanut butter.

Does peanut butter interfere with thyroid? ›

Can I eat peanut butter if I have a thyroid? Peanut butter and peanuts can worsen hypothyroidism. It is generally advised to avoid these in case of hypothyroidism.

Is cinnamon good for thyroid? ›

Cinnamon supplementation resulted in a lower serum total T3 level accompanied by normal serum T4 and TSH levels.

Which water is best for thyroid? ›

Thyroid patients must always drink distilled water. This is because chlorine, fluoride and bromine levels are very low and it is iodine-free which helps the thyroid to function properly. Distilled water also ensures cleaning the liver and kidneys of toxins.

Is coffee good for thyroid? ›

Studies conducted have shown that coffee increases blood sugar levels. This exhausts the adrenals and leads to thyroid problems. This is especially bad if you have hypoglycaemia as it can leave you feeling nervous and anxious through the day.

Does lemon cure thyroid? ›

Yes. Lemon blocks the antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone, hence normalizing an overactive thyroid.

What is the main cause of thyroid problems? ›

Problems with the thyroid can be caused by: iodine deficiency. autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, leading either to hyperthyroidism (caused by Graves' disease) or hypothyroidism (caused by Hashimoto's disease) inflammation (which may or may not cause pain), caused by a virus or ...

Does honey cure thyroid? ›

Yes, honey destroys the toxins of the body and also reduces the problem of the thyroid. In addition, honey contains omega-3 fatty acids that balance the hormones.

Is cucumber good for thyroid? ›

Cucumbers are another important food to include in your thyroid healing "clean" diet. This juice is a rejuvenating tonic that nourishes the kidneys and the lymphatic system to improve the body's ability to flush health-sapping toxins and detoxify the thyroid gland. Cucumbers also hydrate the lymphatic system.

Is yogurt good for thyroid? ›

Besides supplying plenty of protein, calcium and B-vitamins, yogurt ranks as one of the most iodine-rich foods available. Iodine is crucial when it comes to the production of thyroid hormones. A deficiency in this key mineral can impair thyroid function and cause weight gain, fatigue and hair loss.

Is cheese good for thyroid? ›

The body needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones. But because the body cannot make iodine, people need to get it from their diets. Foods rich in iodine include: cheese.

Is pineapple good for thyroid patients? ›

Bromelain is another compound in the pineapple with anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it helps to reduce the symptoms in the thyroid.

Is brown bread good for thyroid? ›

Complex carbs like whole grain bread or brown rice is a great staple to add to your diet for your overall health, but it is also helpful in managing thyroid problems. Complex carbs aid digestion and can help improve and balance thyroid hormone levels.

What cereal is best for thyroid? ›

Choose the right cereals like whole grain cereals over refined varieties. Complex carbs are loaded with fibre and provide a vital nutrient selenium for the thyroid hormones to function efficiently. Cereals like quinoa, finger millet, red and brown rice can be easily added to the daily regimen.

Are scrambled eggs good for thyroid? ›

Eggs are a great source of not only iodine but also selenium, another crucial nutrient for thyroid health. Pastured eggs contain more nutrients than conventional eggs.

Is boiled egg good for hypothyroidism? ›

Eggs, especially pastured eggs are rich sources of iodine and selenium, which are thyroid supportive nutrients. One egg contains 20 percent of selenium and 15 percent of iodine is required by your body daily for the better functioning of the thyroid gland.

Which herb cures thyroid? ›

Hypothyroidism. Kelp (Laminaria spp., Laminariaceae) is recommended by many herbalists for the treatment of hypothyroidism or thyroid nodules. Kelp is a rich source of iodine, which is necessary for the formation of thyroid hormone.

Is blueberry good for thyroid? ›

Berries are a rich source of antioxidants. So, go ahead and add fresh fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries to your diet. Antioxidants are also beneficial, because they protect against free radicals, which can increase the risk of hypothyroidism, fatigue, and weight gain.

Are grapes good for thyroid? ›

Anti-oxidants, besides being praised for their disease-preventing qualities, are great for keeping your thyroid running smoothly. Some fresh fruits to include in your diet are blueberries, strawberries, grapes, kiwi and cranberries.

Who should not eat cruciferous vegetables? ›

Myth No. 1: You can't eat cruciferous vegetables if you have a thyroid disorder. Cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale, have been thought to interfere with how your thyroid uses iodine. Iodine plays a role in hormone production in the thyroid gland.

Is Carrot not good for thyroid? ›

Carrot is a rich source of iodine and carotenoids that can interfere in the synthesis of thyroid hormones.

Is Sweet Potato good for thyroid? ›

Sweet potato has vitamin A which supports thyroid hormone. Moreover, it absorbs slowly and do not rise sugar levels much as compared to other strachy or carbohydrate foods.

What are thyroid Superfoods? ›

Blueberries, pumpkins, dark chocolate, and Brazil nuts are considered thyroid health-supporting superfoods. Here's what you should know. Aug 22, 2021.

What is the number 1 vegetable to avoid? ›

Cruciferous Vegetables

Vegetables that belong to the cabbage family such as cauliflower, Brussels, broccoli, and sprouts should never be consumed raw. These vegetables contain sugar that is difficult to digest.

Why thyroid patients Cannot eat cabbage? ›

If your diet is deficient in iodine, or you have an underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism, eating raw cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower can further suppress your thyroid hormone function,” it read.

Which breakfast is good for thyroid? ›

So here are my top-three breakfast recipes that are easy to make and will help support thyroid function.
  • Traditional Eggs or Egg Muffin Cups. Eggs are a great source of not only iodine but also selenium, another crucial nutrient for thyroid health. ...
  • Lindy's N'oatmeal. ...
  • Green Smoothie.


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