The thyroid hormones control the metabolism of every cell in the body. Your entire body will therefore suffer if your thyroid is unwell.
Although nourishing your thyroid is a great first step, you must also avoid the foods that aggravate it. Foods that support the thyroid should be eliminated as you incorporate more of them into your diet.
Food #1: Soy
Years ago, soy oil was promoted to Americans as an alternative to tropical oils like coconut and palm. It led to an increase in unhealthy vegetarian and vegan soy-based diets since it was promoted as a healthful meal and as the ideal protein that could replace meat.
Thus, the soy movement got started. Additionally, as is always the case, money was involved. Because it is difficult to produce coconut palm trees in the United States, financial incentives were given to soybean farmers.
The market was overrun with soy products like soy milk, texturized vegetable protein, tofu, margarine, and cheap soy sauce. Then, saturated fats were demonized, much to the destruction of thyroids nationwide. For many years, low-fat/unsaturated fat products and marketing were the norm.
The interference with the thyroid gland’s ability to operate is the effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids that is most understood. Unsaturated fats prevent the thyroid hormone from being secreted, from moving through the circulatory system, and from causing tissues to react to the hormone. In general, the body is exposed to higher quantities of estrogen when the thyroid hormone is weak. Progesterone and pregnenolone, which are considered “protective hormones,” are made with the help of the thyroid hormone, which is why when the thyroid is under stress, these hormones are produced at lower levels. Anything that interferes with the thyroid’s ability to use and eliminate cholesterol is likely to cause cholesterol levels to rise.
Does Soy Exist Today? Absolutely. It’s in everything, including bread, breakfast cereal, bottled salad dressings, and restaurant cuisine. Look for it in protein bars, kid’s snack foods, baby formula, mayo, hummus, and potato chips.
Most disgustingly, soy is still promoted as a nutritious source of protein. One can get soy posing as chicken, cheese, sausage, and hot dogs in practically any health food store.
When infants only consume soy-based formula, they develop autoimmune thyroid abnormalities, leaky gut syndrome, and liver and kidney issues.
Soy can have a negative impact on thyroid hormone synthesis and interfere with the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormones. Not to mention that virtually all soy sold now is genetically modified, making it bad even for people with healthy thyroid function.
Like sugar, soy can be found in unexpected places. We always advise making your own mayo, salad dressings, condiments, and other soy-containing items rather than buying them from the supermarket.
Carefully read the labels on all the prepared foods you buy. If it has any soy in it, put it back on the shelf. To save money and improve your health, learn how to build your own homemade versions.
Food #2: Grains, particularly those with gluten
The basis of the modern American diet is grains. You can easily observe that our government encourages a diet that is largely made up of wheat, corn, pasta, bread, rice, and other whole grain goods by comparing the outdated USDA Food Pyramid with the more modern and marginally superior My Plate.
The majority of these products include gluten, and there is compelling evidence connecting celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and autoimmune thyroid disorders. When the body perceives gluten as a foreign intruder, it produces antibodies to combat it, which also assault the thyroid.
One such autoimmune thyroid disorder where avoiding gluten and most grains is strongly advised is Hashimoto’s.
Since dietary factors account for the majority of Hashimoto’s disease triggers, leaky gut syndrome and poor blood sugar metabolism are present in most, if not all, Hashimoto’s patients. Avoiding all grains and sweets is the greatest strategy to promote gut healing, stop blood sugar swings, and reduce body fat.
What About Eliminating Gluten?
Since many gluten-free goods are still highly refined and many foods are cross-reactive, going “gluten-free” is sometimes insufficient. These cross-reactive foods have the same effect on the body as gluten does. Despite the fact that these meals are gluten-free, the body nevertheless produces antibodies to reject them because of how similar their protein structures are to gluten.
Coffee, dairy, milk chocolate, tapioca, soy, hemp, potato, and eggs are examples of foods that react negatively to gluten. Corn, oats, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, teff, and rice are also cross-reactive cereals. Although the body responds to each of those meals in the same way as if they were made of wheat, rye, spelt, or kamut despite the fact that they are all nominally gluten-free.
The next step is to look into cross reactivity and eliminate ALL grains if eliminating gluten doesn’t result in a marked improvement in health. In either scenario, no one’s diet should be based primarily on grains, especially not someone who has thyroid disease.
Food #3: Raw Cruciferous Veggies
Many contend that the advantages of eating raw cruciferous vegetables outweigh any potential thyroid health issues. Others assert the complete reverse, saying that raw crucifers are goitrogenic and must always be prepared before consumption.
The cruciferous family of vegetables is abundant in glucosinolates, sulfur-containing chemicals that are excellent for the body’s detoxification and cancer prevention. Brassicas, sometimes known as cruciferous vegetables, include:
- Cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli
- Radish with Brussels sprouts
- Kale, arugula, watercress, mustard greens, collard greens, turnips, bok choy, kohlrabi, and other leafy greens
However, they also have a goitrogenic tendency. A goitrogen is something that prevents the thyroid from absorbing iodine. When the thyroid cannot absorb enough iodine, it expands in an effort to do so. A goiter is created in the throat as a result of this. To check for a goiter, which is a surefire indicator of a thyroid condition, medical professionals should constantly palpate the area of your throat.
However, some contend that even if iodine absorption is hampered by goiters, food does not obstruct this absorption. Goiters, according to them, are actually brought on by inflammation brought on by autoimmune thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s. Therefore, treating the autoimmune thyroid disorder is the best course of action rather than cutting out goitrogenic items like cruciferous vegetables from the diet.
So, Is It Better To Eat Cruciferous Vegetables Raw Or Not?
Although numerous reliable sources reassure us of their safety, an equal number of sites advise against swallowing raw crucifers.
Similar to how steaming deactivates the oxalates in raw spinach and kale, cooking deactivates the goitrogenic chemicals. There is no reason why you shouldn’t regularly eat these foods cooked because they still contain a ton of vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, in my opinion, they are much better when cooked. I’m talking about raw bok choy or turnips. Any day of the week, I’d pick roasted broccoli over raw broccoli.
Since cruciferous vegetables are so rich in vitamins and other components necessary for healthy thyroid function, consume plenty of them. If your practitioner, doctor, or you believe they may contribute to the development of a goiter in you, just limit your raw consumption of them.
Food #4: Coffee
What would your day be like without coffee in the morning? If you are unable to, it is likely that you depend on it for energy.
Your thyroid and adrenal glands suffer from caffeine dependence. Actually, caffeine causes blood sugar to become unstable and hides your body’s signals that it wants to relax. It is quite challenging to break this cycle once it has started.
What’s worse is that caffeine prevents the body from absorbing thyroid replacement hormone. Therefore, your morning cup of coffee is really preventing those hormones from being absorbed if you already know you have thyroid disease and take thyroid replacement hormone, such as Armour or Synthroid.
Researchers claim that “in animal tests, caffeine has been demonstrated to dramatically modify thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and thyroid hormones”.
Caffeine withdrawal can be more difficult than giving up gluten and sugar put together. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine is a substance that is highly addictive because it stimulates the neurological system and causes a sensation of alertness and energy that would not otherwise exist.
Decaf, what about it?
Many health professionals avoid recommending it for two reasons even though it is a contentious topic. One example is that many producers employ a chemical procedure to take the caffeine out of the coffee beans. Less caffeine but more chemicals are the end consequence.
You’ll improve the function of your thyroid by learning to live without this stimulant.
Food #5: Sugar
Thyroid issues and blood sugar instability are frequently related. The thyroid needs to be in good condition to keep blood sugar levels in check. Blood sugar needs to be constant to keep the thyroid functioning normally. One does not exist without the other.
To prevent the sharp rise in blood glucose that processed foods and all other forms of refined carbs induce, additional insulin is needed. As the blood sugar levels rise over time, more insulin is needed, which eventually results in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are precursors of diabetes. Surprisingly, hormones have a major role in everything. Hormones are also out of balance when blood sugar is. Thus, the vicious cycle continues…
Ironically, if a person has hypothyroidism, even those with normal blood sugar levels may experience hypoglycemic symptoms as shakiness, headaches, fainting, hunger, and irritability. It feels like hypoglycemia even though it isn’t because the body’s cells are less sensitive to glucose, less glucose is absorbed in the gut, insulin reacts more slowly to decreased blood sugar, and the body absorbs less glucose. The body suffers because the cells don’t receive the necessary amounts of glucose. The stress hormone cortisol is secreted by the adrenals. Additionally, thyroid function is compromised.
All kinds of refined, glucose-spiking foods fall under the category of “sugar”:
- morning cereals, granola bars, and “energy” bars packaged in boxes
- Even health food store goodies like candy and gummy bears
- nearly all prepared snacks, such as cookies and chips
- Even “natural” sodas and energy drinks, refined grains and pasta, salad dressings and condiments, and even full sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar for people with severe thyroid and/or blood sugar issues
Do you think it’s impossible to give up sugar?
It goes without saying that if you have an autoimmune condition, you must stop eating sugar. Leaky stomach due to sugar (often cited as the precursor to autoimmune disease). Sugar causes endocrine system inflammation and disruption, while insulin spikes cause thyroid gland destruction. A dysfunctional thyroid gland will impede the clearance of insulin from the bloodstream in addition to the harm that insulin causes.
Food #6: Fluoridated water
The hazardous substance fluoride has been related to a number of potentially serious health issues. Recently, both British and American media outlets covered research connecting drinking fluoridated water to thyroid malfunction. The United States continues to add fluoride to municipal water sources serving almost 211 million Americans despite conclusive evidence of harm. More than 67 percent of Americans had access to fluoridated water as of 2012. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 11 million of those individuals receive fluoride at or above the amount considered to be the “optimal” level.
Due to the regular exposure of our population to this hazardous element, fluoride is a significant issue in the United States. It’s added to our drinking water and is also present in our air. Every time we visit the dentist, we are advised to receive a fluoride treatment because it is in our toothpaste.
An investigation compared two English cities, as reported in this Newsweek story. The city of Birmingham added fluoride to its water; the city of Manchester did not. The researchers came to the conclusion that clinicians in Manchester were twice as likely as those in Birmingham to report cases of hypothyroidism.
But not only those two cities were examined. In actuality, 99% of general medical practices in England were included in this survey. “Regional disparities in fluoride consumption or other confounding factors are unlikely to have played a role in the surprising results,” the study’s authors write, “considering the comprehensiveness of this study, which almost encompassed the entirety of England”.
- Tyrosine is the amino acid that iodine binds to in order to produce T4 and T3. This process is slowed by fluoride.
- Fluoride “turns off” each cell’s ability to take up active thyroid hormone (T4).
- Fluoride inhibits the pituitary gland’s ability to stimulate TSH production by reducing thyroid hormone secretion. TSH and T4 have receptor sites on every cell in the body. The thyroid generates less thyroid hormone, and the cells receive less thyroid hormone as a result of fluoride’s competition for these receptor sites on the thyroid and in the cells.
Avoid consuming tap water. Choose a water filtering system that will eliminate fluoride from drinking water while keeping important minerals. Additionally, spend money on shower head filters that eliminate fluoride and chlorine from bathing water. Refuse fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office and use natural, non-fluoridated dental supplies instead.
Food No. 7: Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils are nevertheless marketed as healthy fats even though they are associated with an increase in heart disease and obesity and a decline in the consumption of saturated fats. And others still hold this belief.
Before the turn of the 20th century, there were no affordable fat substitutes like canola, corn, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, or peanut oil. However, new technology and government subsidies made them possible.
The healthiest cooking fats and oils come from pressing (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil), churning (butter), and rendering (tallow and lard). None of these extraction methods use chemicals. They have been produced using much the same methods for thousands of years, giving people all across the world nutrient-dense fats for eating and cooking.
What Makes Vegetable Oils So Harmful to the Thyroid, then? Polyunsaturated fats, in two words.
Three avenues exist for polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) to hinder and impede thyroid function:
- They prevent thyroid hormone from being secreted by the thyroid.
- They prevent the bloodstream from carrying thyroid hormone to the cells.
- Additionally, they prevent the cells from using the available thyroid hormone properly.
Systemic inflammation is sustained by vegetable oils. Keep in mind that an inflamed thyroid is a diseased thyroid. Vegetable oils contain GMOs, and who knows what harm these organisms are doing to our thyroids?
Vegetable oils must be entirely avoided if you want to stop the inflammation and thyroid suppression they produce. Choose butter, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil, tallow, and lard as your traditional, healthy, unprocessed fats.