Thyroid Hormone and Dietary Links

Thyroid hormone regulates our metabolism and there are several very common thyroid diseases that we find in women. Dietary studies are difficult to do as food, medication, lifestyle, exercise, and quantity of nutrients in our whole diet interact to make the data hard to interpret. Even birth control can affect your thyroid gland.  It has come to light that certain foods can affect your thyroid gland. There are foods that naturally release goitrin which can naturally lower thyroid synthesis. This can potentially be a benefit in a mildly overactive thyroid patient, but otherwise is potentially a negative for women with normal or under active thyroid. And in diets that are supplemented with iodine generally do not have much effect from these foods, and heating foods can break down the harmful goitrogen substances. Soy foods can be a goitrogen, and millet, even with normal iodine intake can suppress thyroid gland substances according to some studies.


  1. Soy: Soy can interfere with hormones, especially in women.
    Cruciferous vegetables: Generally food items like broccoli and cabbage are recommended for healthy eating but not if you have hypothyroidism. This type of food can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones.
    Gluten: Although commonly avoided by those with Celiac disease gluten should also be avoided if you have hypothyroidism.
    Fatty food: Fatty foods may interrupt the absorption of thyroid medications
    Sugary foods: With an already slower metabolism adding sugary foods will lead to greater weight gain.
    Processed foods: Hypothyroidism can result in individual’s having higher blood pressure so the added salts from processed foods will only worsen this.
    Too much fiber: Fiber is good to keep us regular but not in the case of those with hypothyroidism.
    Coffee: You may have to cut back on your morning coffee. Caffeine can limit the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medications.
    Alcohol: Alcohol can disrupt the production of thyroid hormones and reduce the body’s ability to utilize these hormones.


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