Foods To Eat For Thyroid Health

by Sara Banta | Jun 16, 2024 | AHP News, Nutrition, Thyroid Health

Over the past three years, there has been a noticeable increase in people experiencing thyroid health issues. Thyroid hormones impact nearly every cell and organ in your body and are crucial for:

    • Growth and development: Thyroid hormones are essential for childhood growth and brain development.
    • Basal metabolic rate (BMR): Thyroid hormones help regulate the number of calories burned at rest, influencing weight and energy levels.
    • Heart rate and blood pressure: Thyroid hormones help control both heart rate and blood pressure.
    • Body temperature: Thyroid hormones assist in regulating body temperature.
    • Muscle and bone health: Thyroid hormones are Important for maintaining strong muscles and bones.
    • Brain function: Thyroid hormones are critical for normal brain function and mood regulation.
    • Reproduction: Thyroid hormones influence fertility and menstrual regularity.
    • Cholesterol levels: Thyroid hormones can affect cholesterol levels.

An imbalance in thyroid hormone production, either too much or too little, can disrupt these vital processes and lead to various health issues.

Medication is often the initial approach for managing thyroid health, but since food is medicine, we should first consider how a thyroid-friendly diet can help regulate thyroid hormones. Eating foods that support thyroid health is an effective and simple way to enhance the function of your thyroid gland.

Symptoms of Poor Thyroid Function

Poor thyroid function can manifest in two main ways: hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Each condition has its own set of symptoms.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid):

    • Fatigue and tiredness
    • Unexplained weight gain
    • Feeling cold even in warm temperatures
    • Dry skin, hair, and nails
    • Brittle hair and hair loss
    • Muscle weakness, aches, and stiffness
    • Joint pain and stiffness
    • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
    • Depression
    • Slow heart rate
    • Constipation
    • Trouble concentrating and memory problems

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid):

    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Increased heart rate and palpitations
    • Feeling hot even in cold temperatures
    • Sweating
    • Tremor
    • Anxiety and irritability
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Diarrhea
    • Frequent urination
    • Bulging eyes (Graves’ disease)
    • Muscle weakness
    • Skin thinning
    • Hair loss
    • Irregular menstrual periods
    • Vision problems

Essential Nutrients for Thyroid Health

Iodine

There is one ESSENTIAL nutrient for thyroid health: IODINE.

Iodine is a critical building block for thyroid hormones.

Unfortunately, with today’s degraded food supply and iodine disruptors, we are not getting enough iodine. As our bodies do not make iodine, diet and supplementation are the only ways to get iodine into our system.

How What You Eat Impacts Thyroid Health

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of well-being, but for those with thyroid conditions or other health issues, food becomes an even more powerful tool. Shifting your perspective on food as medicine can be life changing.

Need help changing your food-centred thinking? If you’re struggling to see food in a new light, there’s support available! Consider joining my free health coaching group on Telegram; it could be life changing for you.

To understand how food can support optimal thyroid function, I’m going to break it up into three main categories: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Let’s define how each contributes to healthy thyroid function.

PROTEIN

Healthy Protein

healthy protein for thyroid health

Thyroid hormones, like T3 and T4, are proteins themselves. Consuming adequate protein provides the building blocks, or amino acids, that your body needs to synthesize these hormones. Without enough protein, your body may struggle to produce sufficient thyroid hormones, potentially leading to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

The very best source of healthy protein is wild animal or game meat.

While wild animal proteins may offer only 32% of usable amino acids, they provide essential B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and other nutrients vital for protein synthesis and overall health.

Moreover, the digestion of wild animal proteins induces a “thermic” effect, during which the body burns 25% of the calories consumed. Additionally, the balanced ratios of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids in wild animal proteins stimulate the release of a hormone called CCK, which helps curb sugar cravings and suppress the appetite. These meats include bison, elk, deer, lamb, Cornish game hen, and wild cold-water fish.

Unhealthy Protein

unhealthy protein

When it comes to protein sources, not all options are created equal. Here’s a breakdown of some common protein sources that degrade metabolism, energy, and thyroid health:

Whey, Pea, and Soy Protein

These protein sources utilize only about 18% of their essential amino acids for protein synthesis, with the remaining 82% converted to sugar. Additionally, they may lead to various health issues such as inflammation, increased estrogen levels, leaky gut, high histamine reactions, or allergies, depending on the specific powder consumed. 

Soy, in particular, is concerning due to its estrogenic properties and GMO content, which can contribute to estrogen dominance and toxicity. Whey, derived from dairy, might trigger inflammation and leaky gut in certain individuals, while pea protein is susceptible to mold contamination and may induce allergies and inflammation.

Chicken, Conventional Beef, Turkey, and Pork

These meats contain high levels of omega-6 inflammatory fats, including linoleic acid, and amyloid proteins, which are associated with various diseases and autoimmune conditions.

Linoleic acid, being highly unstable in the body, generates oxidative stress, leading to increased fat storage, reduced ATP production, and a cascade of detrimental effects. Moreover, amyloids, misfolded protein structures typically produced in the bone marrow, not only fail to break down into usable amino acids for building lean tissue but can also accumulate in tissues or organs like the brain.

Consumption of meat products from animals raised in crowded conditions may contribute to amyloid buildup in their tissues, potentially feeding pathogens and reactivating viruses in the body, leading to gut issues, pathogen proliferation, fat gain, inflammation, and autoimmunity.

Farm-raised Fish

Most farmed fish are fed genetically modified corn and soy, which are not only unnatural but also rich in inflammatory omega-6 fats and linoleic acid, contributing to fat storage and compromising mitochondrial health.

FATS

Healthy Fats

healthy fats for thyroid glands

Healthy fats play a crucial role in supporting thyroid health. They help reduce inflammation, support hormone production, and ensure the proper functioning of your cells.

Concentrating on fats like butter, ghee, organic cold-pressed olive oil, and possibly avocado oil can support better thyroid health.

It’s important to be cautious because not all olive oil and avocado oil products are created equal. Unfortunately, over 60 percent of olive oil and avocado oil available in the market are mixed with inexpensive seed oils. This adulteration can hinder your fat-burning goals and may inadvertently steer you off track.

Unhealthy Fats

Not all fats are created equal! Some, like those found in processed foods, fried items, and vegetable oils (corn, soybean, canola), can be harmful. These fats are called polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are found abundantly in processed foods, imitation butter, salad dressings, fried foods, poultry, pork, nuts, seeds, seed oils, and fatty fish pose significant health risks. These fats, including safflower, grapeseed, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, soybean, rice bran, peanut, and canola oil, contain the primary culprit, linoleic acid (LA), which is particularly detrimental.

PUFAs are distinguished by their multiple double bonds in carbon chains, unlike saturated fats. These fats hinder energy production, elevate energy requirements, and impede energy utilization efficiency. Fragile in structure, they can transform into inflammatory compounds and are highly susceptible to damage. 

Consumption of these oils leads to mitochondrial dysfunction, affecting the electron transport chain crucial for ATP production. Additionally, they inhibit fatty acid beta-oxidation, reducing the body’s ability to use fat efficiently for fuel, favoring carbohydrate utilization instead. Consequently, the body’s capacity to utilize fat for energy diminishes, resulting in enlarged fat cells. Moreover, these fats persist in the body for up to six years, continuing to disrupt metabolism.

Linoleic acid is also present in foods often considered “healthy,” such as chicken, pork, seeds, and nuts. Ruminant animals like bison, cows, lamb, deer, and elk have multiple stomachs housing bacteria that convert high linoleic acid fat into healthier saturated and monounsaturated fat, which is easier for the body to metabolize and burn.

Conversely, chicken, pork, and other single-stomach animals are typically fed corn and soy, high in LA, resulting in meat rich in LA. Despite being labeled as “lean,” these meats contribute to fat gain due to their linoleic acid content.

CARBOHYDRATES

Healthy Carbohydrates

healthy carbs for thyroid

Carbohydrates have faced criticism in recent years, particularly with the rise of ketogenic and carnivore diets. While it’s true that excessive consumption of certain carbs can lead to inflammation, leaky gut, and fat accumulation, choosing the right sources of carbohydrates can promote healthy thyroid function, increase fat burning, reduce stress hormones, and support optimal energy levels.

Carbohydrates sourced from cooked organic vegetables, devoid of sulfur, oxalates, histamines, or mold, can supply fiber essential for a healthy gut microbiome without disrupting detoxification pathways. These healthy carbs are known as “complex cabohydrates”. 

Additionally, organic fruits offer complex carbs that don’t promote endotoxin growth while providing sufficient energy.

Unhealthy Carbohydrates

unhealthy carbs avoid thyroid

Simple carbs coming from refined processed foods are short chains of sugar molecules that are easily digested and absorbed by the body, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.

These spikes can cause energy crashes, increased hunger, and contribute to weight gain over time. They also tend to be lower in nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

Rapid changes in blood sugar levels from eating unhealthy carbs may disrupt the conversion of inactive T4 thyroid hormone to its active form, T3, which is essential for proper cellular function.

Other Foods to Avoid for Better Thyroid Health

Goitrogens

 

wha are goitrogens in thyroid health

Goitrogens are natural substances found in various vegetables that can interfere with the thyroid gland’s function. Sulfur and oxalates are examples of these goitrogens.

Goitrogens primarily affect the thyroid by inhibiting the uptake of iodine. 

When iodine uptake is hindered, the thyroid gland can enlarge in an attempt to compensate for the lack of hormone production. This enlargement is called a goiter, hence the name goitrogen.

Many common vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, onion, cauliflower, kale, egg yolks, Brussels sprouts, and cassava contain goitrogens.

Accelerated Food Guide - Your Guide To Eating for Thyroid Health

Confused about what and what not to eat for optimal thyroid function?

My Accelerated Food Guide provides you with a free list of foods to eat and avoid for overall health, and is the perfect diet guide for improved thyroid health.

Supplements to Support Optimal Thyroid Health

Here are my top three supplements to help naturally restore optimal thyroid function:

Acceleradine® Iodine

In a country where 96% of the population could be iodine deficient, proper iodine supplementation is crucial for thyroid health. Acceleradine® iodine stands out as an effective supplement for hypothyroidism due to its unique features.

It consists of a single atom of iodine, easily absorbed by cells in the body.

Iodine supports blood cleansing, aiding the liver in detoxifying the body from toxins related to hypothyroidism.

The number one reason you need Aceleradine® iodine? Because your thyroid can’t function without iodine.

Accelerated Thyroid®

This comprehensive 3 in 1 natural thyroid supplement contains ingredients that unite to support optimal thyroid function. 

Accelerated Thyroid® combines grass-fed thyroid glandular (providing peptides, amino acids, and nutrients essential for the thyroid), an ancient Ayurvedic herbal formula (Kanchanara) known for detoxification and thyroid support, and additional amino acids necessary for thyroid optimization. It is Accelerated Thyroid® is also the only thyroid supplement programmed with our proprietary scalar technology.

Thyroid Fixxr

Dr Amie Hornaman’s Thyroid Fixxr combines T2 with complementary fat-burning ingredients to boost mitochondrial health synergistically. This supplement enhances the effects of Acceleradine® iodine and Accelerated Thyroid® and can support improvements in mood, skin, hair, and fat loss.

Eating Healthy is the Key

In summary, while there isn’t a single “best” food for thyroid health, focusing on a balanced and varied diet rich in certain nutrients with added support from the right supplementation is key to optimal thyroid health.

Eating healthy protein, fats and carbohydrates, and avoiding processed foods, excessive soy products and goitrogenic vegetables can significantly improve your thyroid health.

By incorporating these dietary strategies, you can support your thyroid health and promote overall well-being.

Sara Banta

Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.

sara banta blog

Hi, I’m Sara Banta!
I’m a certified natural supplement expert, podcaster, Health Coach, and natural wellness expert. Each week I publish articles on the latest in cutting-edge health supplements and natural health solutions. I also interview leading experts across a wide range of health topics to transform your body, mind & spirit. I’m also the Founder of Accelerated Health Products. Join my mailing list and receive 10% off your first order.

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