Best Diet for Hypothyroidism: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones.

Thyroid hormones help control growth, cell repair, and metabolism. As a result, people with hypothyroidism may experience tiredness, hair loss, weight gain, feeling cold, and feeling down, among many other symptoms

Hypothyroidism affects 1–2% of people worldwide and is ten times more likely to affect women than men (2).

Foods alone won’t cure hypothyroidism. However, a combination of the right nutrients and medication can help restore thyroid function and minimize your symptoms.

This article outlines the best diet for hypothyroidism, including which foods to eat and which to avoid — all based on research.

What is hypothyroidism?

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits near the base of your neck.

It makes and stores thyroid hormones that affect nearly every cell in your body.

When the thyroid gland receives a signal called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), it releases thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. This signal is sent from the pituitary gland, a small gland found at the base of your brain, when thyroid hormone levels are low .

Occasionally, the thyroid gland doesn’t release thyroid hormones, even when there is plenty of TSH. This is called primary hypothyroidism and the most common type of hypothyroidism.

Approximately 90% of primary hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your thyroid gland.

Other causes of primary hypothyroidism are iodine deficiency, a genetic disorder, taking certain medications, and surgery that removes part of the thyroid .

Other times, the thyroid gland does not receive enough TSH. This happens when the pituitary gland is not working properly and is called secondary hypothyroidism.

Thyroid hormones are very important. They help control growth, cell repair, and metabolism — the process by which your body converts what you eat into energy.

Your metabolism affects your body temperature and at what rate you burn calories. That’s why people with hypothyroidism often feel cold and fatigued and may gain weight easily .

You can learn more about the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism here.

SUMMARY

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. As the thyroid hormone is important for growth, repair, and metabolism, people with hypothyroidism may often feel cold and fatigued and may gain weight easily.

How does hypothyroidism affect your metabolism?

The thyroid hormone helps control the speed of your metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the more calories your body burns at rest.

People with hypothyroidism make less thyroid hormone. This means they have a slower metabolism and burn fewer calories at rest.

Having a slow metabolism comes with several health risks. It may leave you tired, increase your blood cholesterol levels, and make it harder for you to lose weight .

If you find it difficult to maintain your weight with hypothyroidism, try doing moderate or high intensity cardio. This includes exercises like fast-paced walking, running, hiking, and rowing.

Research shows that moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise may help boost your thyroid hormone levels. In turn, this may help speed up your metabolism .

People with hypothyroidism might also benefit from increasing their protein intake. Research shows that higher protein diets help increase the rate of your metabolism .

SUMMARY

People with hypothyroidism usually have a slower metabolism. Research shows that aerobic exercise can help boost your thyroid hormone levels. Additionally, eating more protein may help boost your metabolism.