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I have hypothyroidism caused by Hashimotos. What foods should I eat/stay away from?
– Justin S.
As you know, Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune problem and the subsequent hypothyroidism is primarily treated with a hormone prescription. The American Thyroid Association’s website (www.thyroid.org ) and their 2013 patient booklet don’t mention diet or foods suggested for treatment of Hashimoto’s. Although there is no special diet for an underactive or mal-performing thyroid, nutritional support can help*. In addition, many patients experience problems with their weight. So a sound nutrition plan can help two-fold.
Follow the basics of a healthy diet, such as consuming regular meals, focusing on wholesome fresh foods, avoiding processed/packaged foods, getting more vegetables and beans, managing portions, drinking adequate fluids and balancing energy consumed with physical activity. Check with your physician whether you need to increase Vitamin D foods (fatty fish, milk, dairy, eggs, mushrooms) or Selenium sources (Brazil nuts, tuna, crab, lobster). If you are deficient in Vitamin B12 then you should consider increasing your meat, fish, poultry, organ meats and dairy intake.
Talk to your doctor if you eat large amounts of soy products, consume a high-fiber diet or if you take any of the following which may affect drug absorption:
- Iron supplements, including multivitamins that contain iron
- Aluminum hydroxide, which is found in some antacids
- Calcium supplements
Because people with Hashimoto’s disease may be sensitive to the essential mineral iodine, do not consume large amounts of seaweed or take iodine supplements, which may worsen the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
* “While these practices can be helpful, it’s important to note that there is no one special diet or vitamin that has been proven to eliminate cancer or remove thyroid disease. Because of these special reasons, it’s important to talk with the doctor managing your treatment about any special diets or supplements you are thinking about using.” – ATA 2017, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Thyroid Disease
– Debbie J., MS, RD
- Thyroid Disease and Diet — Nutrition Plays a Part in Maintaining Thyroid Health. Cheryl Harris. Today’s Dietitian. July 2012 Issue, Vol. 14, No. 7, P. 40
- “Hashimoto’s Disease.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 01 May 2014. Web. 15 June 2017.
- “Hashimoto’s Disease.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Nov. 2016. Web. 15 June 2017.
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.
Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.
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