Many Organic Liaison members who have Hypothyroidism have expressed that they want more information on how to help their thyroid. Thankfully there is a lot we can do to keep our thyroid functioning optimally. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which there is an inadequate production of thyroid hormone brought into the bloodstream, thus the thyroid gland is under active. Having low levels of thyroid hormone causes inadequate stimulation of the cells and organs in the body, which in turn slows down the body’s processes. At least 11 million people worldwide have Hypothyroidism and many more go undetected. The symptoms that can result from an underactive thyroid include an increased sensitivity to cold, fatigue, constipation, depression, muscle or joint pain, paleness or dry skin, brittle hair, weakness and weight gain.
One component that can help the thyroid be stronger is to be conscientious about the foods that are high in goitrogens. Goitrogens are foods that contain certain chemicals that can hinder the thyroid gland from functioning properly. In excess, they have been shown to decrease thyroid hormone absorption, limit the release of the thyroid hormone, decrease iodine uptake, and enlarge the thyroid gland (cause a goiter to form).
If you have hypothyroidism, you can still eat the following foods, however have them in moderation. Aim for 1 to 2 goitrogenic foods per day rather than at every meal. Goitrogenic foods are very nutrient dense, so enjoy them as part of your varied optimally balanced eating plan. If you have noticed a significant sensitivity to one of these foods, for example, increased bloating then you may want to remove that food from your eating plan, especially to aid in keeping excess weight off.
Food sources of Goitrogens include:
Barley, rye, oats and wheat. Gluten sensitivity contributes to a variety of autoimmune diseases including autoimmune thyroid disease. Being sensitive to gluten is one reason people with hypothyroidism still have hypothyroid symptoms even on higher does of thyroid replacement hormone. To determine if you have gluten sensitivity, take note of any symptoms after eating any products containing BROW (barley, rye oats and wheat). The common symptoms resulting from improper digestion of gluten include abdominal bloating or pain, diarrhea, constipation, gaseousness, or nausea with or without vomiting. It appears that acid reflux in the esophagus, manifesting as heartburn, may also be a potential symptom. Other symptoms people experience include fatigue, joint pains, mouth ulcers and bone pain. Please also consult with your physician to be screened for celiac disease.
Soybeans (edamame), tofu and soy products. Some researchers have suggested that sources of soy may compete with thyroid hormones for iodine. However, recent studies suggest if you have sufficient iodine in your diet, soy may not adversely impact thyroid function. So, maintain adequate sources of iodine in your diet and have soy in moderation. If you have found an increased sensitivity to soy, stay clear of soy or enjoy it cooked or steamed. The goitrogenic activity of soy can be less by cooking it. So enjoy your steamed edamame with a seaweed product, such as kombu or nori as your iodine source. In addition, it is healthful for individuals with impaired thyroid function who consume soy regularly to include good sources of selenium (e.g., seafood, tuna, mushrooms, egg yolk, cucumbers, chicken, celery).
3. Cruciferous vegetables
Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccolini, cauliflower, mustard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, and collards. These vegetables are indeed healthful, so no need to eliminate them, it is best to enjoy them steamed or cooked, since the heat helps eliminate the goitrogenic effect.
4. Other whole food sources
Certain “potentially goitrogenic” compounds are also found in peanuts, pine nuts, millet, peaches, strawberries, spinach, lima beans, sweet potatoes, radishes, and cassava root.
Our body likes a change on a daily basis! Have a variety of foods; keep changing up your fruit, vegetables and grains. Go for a rainbow of colors with your vegetable choices and enjoy gluten free carbohydrates on a weekly basis. Enjoy some green peas, quinoa, artichokes, brown rice and various winter squashes. Continue to consult with your MD to go over any symptoms that you are experiencing and monitor your thyroid hormone levels regularly.
Enjoy keeping your thyroid healthy and your metabolism up by eating a balanced diet and implementing MOVING into your daily routine. Aim for an hour a day of calorie burning time.
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