What Is The Best Diet For Thyroid Conditions?
Which diet is best if you have a thyroid problem?
Food is an incredibly powerful form of medicine for your body. So when you’re diagnosed with a thyroid condition, it’s natural to wonder what diet will be most effective for managing your thyroid issues.
If you’ve ever wondered what the best diet for thyroid issues is, let’s take a closer look.
The truth – there is no one-size-fits-all diet for your thyroid
Clients often ask me if there's one specific diet that I prescribe for thyroid conditions.
The truth is there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to any health concern - and that includes the thyroid.
Some people respond well to a few small dietary tweaks. Others need a more regimented approach to see improvements in their symptoms.
The best way to know what the right diet for your thyroid concern is? Work with a qualified practitioner who can guide you through and identify what is likely to work for your specific needs.
Diet tips to support your thyroid naturally
Although there is no one perfect diet for thyroid conditions, there are a few factors that are common in the diets that people spruik for thyroid concerns.
These are the changes that help to support the thyroid’s function and reduce the contributors to the disease processes that affect the thyroid.
Here are a few tweaks you might want to try out if you have a thyroid issue.
Focus on unprocessed wholefoods
The most nutrient-dense foods on the planet are unprocessed wholefoods. Wholefoods are packed full of nutrients that support the thyroid, reduce inflammation and support a healthy balanced immune system.
Fill your plate up with:
Beans and legumes
No matter what diet approach you use for your thyroid condition, wholefoods should always be the foundation. Aim to include at least 80% wholefoods on a daily basis.
Include foods rich in thyroid nutrients
No matter what thyroid condition you have, your thyroid needs plenty of nutrients! That’s why you want to include plenty of foods that are naturally high in the nutrients that nourish the thyroid.
The four main thyroid nutrients are:
Selenium – found in meat, eggs, fish, Brazil nuts, mushrooms and seeds
Zinc – found in meat, eggs, fish, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and nuts
Iodine – found in wild-caught fish, shellfish, seaweed, wholegrains, garlic and asparagus
Tyrosine – found in chicken, turkey, dairy products, legumes, nuts and seeds
There are other nutrients that also support thyroid function. To learn more about these nutrients, see this article.
Give gluten a wide berth
One food that I encourage people to minimise or eliminate is gluten. There’s a good reason why gluten is such a big problem for people with thyroid issues – molecular mimicry.
Molecular mimicry is when a protein found in gluten is very similar to a protein in thyroid cells. When there is an autoimmune issue, eating gluten can cause the immune system to overreact and attack the thyroid gland. This can flare up your symptoms and cause widespread inflammation.
As a huge percentage of thyroid issues are autoimmune in origin, the safest bet is to take gluten out altogether. Many people experience fewer flares and improvements in symptoms when I help them to remove gluten from their diet.
Remove any other known intolerances
Food intolerances can trigger inflammation in the gut. This inflammation can affect your ability to absorb nutrients, prevent unwanted food particles from entering the body and maintain healthy gut flora.
Inflammation is like fire – it tends to spread. If your thyroid is already vulnerable due to a thyroid condition, the inflammation will make its way there. Just like gluten, this leads to symptoms and flare-ups.
Not sure what your intolerances are? The best way to figure it out is by working with a skilled practitioner who can help you to identify potential issues.
Handy tips to stay on track with healthy eating
Do you find yourself struggling to stay on track with eating a healthy and balanced diet? Here are a few tips to get you started:
Plan in advance – if you don’t know what you’re eating in advance, you’re more likely to simply get drive-through on the way home or pick up a convenient option from the supermarket.
That’s why you want to plan your meals in advance. Over the weekend, plan out what you’re going to eat each day, and make sure you have at least most of the ingredients.
Prep meals and ingredients – find yourself coming home too tired to make a healthy meal? Give meal prepping a go. Cook 2-3 meals at once, then store the leftovers into glass or Pyrex containers in the fridge. When it’s time to eat, simply reheat and eat.
If you’re not a fan of pre-cooked food, you can prep ingredients instead. Chop up your veggies, marinate your meat and set it up so that it’s easy to throw a meal on when you get home. You might lose a little bit of nutrition by prepping ingredients in advance, but you still get more than if you never eat it!
Have some healthy alternatives for your favourites – everyone has their favourite foods. You might love chocolate, chips, ice-cream or lollies. Unfortunately, many people fall off the healthy eating bandwagon when a craving for their favourite food hits!
That’s why it’s good to have a healthy alternative for your favourite foods. Make your own lollies at home with fresh juice and gelatin, or blend up some bananas and coconut or almond mylk to make some ice-cream.
That way, you can satisfy your cravings in a more nutrient-dense and less inflammatory way!
Are you looking to control your thyroid condition with dietary and lifestyle changes?
You don't have to do it alone. Tara is here to guide you through the process of finding the right shifts and tweaks that work for you. To book an appointment, click here.