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Diet Recommendations for Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disorders affect approximately 30% of the population aged 18-65 in Vietnam. Iodine deficiency is one of the common risk factors for these disorders. Therefore, a proper diet not only helps prevent but also limits the risk of serious disease progression. Let’s explore what individuals with thyroid disorders should and should not eat.

1. Types of Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disease is a general term referring to conditions involving thyroid dysfunction, where the thyroid gland produces too little or too much hormone. Insufficient hormone levels lead to hypothyroidism, while excess hormone leads to hyperthyroidism. Some thyroid diseases may not directly involve hormone production but are still common, such as benign goiter and thyroid cancer. Depending on the type and severity of the thyroid disorder, individuals may experience various symptoms, including changes in neck appearance, difficulty swallowing, sensitivity to temperature changes, joint pain, weakness, brittle hair, dry skin, menstrual irregularities, decreased libido, changes in bowel habits, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and unexplained weight changes.

Types of Thyroid Disorders

Some typical thyroid diseases

2. Foods to Eat for Thyroid Disorders

Below are some suggestions for foods that individuals with thyroid disorders can incorporate into their daily diet:

2.1. Iodine-Rich Foods

Iodine plays a crucial role in stimulating thyroid hormone production and balancing thyroid hormones. Ensuring adequate iodine levels in the body reduces the formation of thyroid nodules. Foods rich in iodine, such as seaweed, seafood, and eggs, may benefit individuals with goiter. However, they are not recommended for patients with hyperthyroidism or those undergoing radioactive iodine therapy, as excessive iodine intake can exacerbate thyroid inflammation.

Foods to Eat for Thyroid Disorders

Iodine-rich foods – Best food choices for your thyroid

2.2. Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables such as Malabar spinach, water spinach, fish mint, etc are rich in magnesium, a mineral that supports efficient thyroid hormone metabolism, helping reduce thyroid symptoms such as fatigue and regulating heart rate.

2.3. Nuts and Seeds

Plant-based protein sources like nuts and seeds, including cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and flaxseeds, provide magnesium, vitamin B, E, and minerals that support thyroid function.

2.4. Low-Fat Yogurt

Low-fat yogurt is beneficial for the thyroid as it contains significant amounts of vitamin D and iodine. While iodine aids in thyroid hormone synthesis, vitamin D regulates the immune system, helping limit inflammation, including thyroid inflammation.

2.5. Chicken Meat

Chicken meat is a good source of protein, zinc, and iodine, beneficial for thyroid health. Individuals with thyroid disorders can incorporate chicken into their daily meals.

3. Foods to Avoid for Thyroid Disorders

In addition to incorporating beneficial foods into the diet, individuals with thyroid disorders should control the intake of foods that may worsen symptoms:

3.1. Soy and Soy Products

Soy contains goitrogens, which can interfere with iodine synthesis in the thyroid gland, potentially exacerbating goiter. Phytoestrogens and isoflavones in soy can also disrupt normal body functions. Regular consumption of soy products can reduce the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medications.

Foods to Avoid for Thyroid Disorders

Goitrogens in soy products are substances that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones

3.2. Processed Foods High in Fat

Processed foods high in saturated and trans fats, empty calories, and harmful additives can hinder thyroxine production and may reduce the effectiveness of thyroid medications.

3.3. High-Fiber Vegetables

While vegetables are generally healthy, high-fiber vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and bok choy can interfere with iodine synthesis and thyroid hormone production. Cooking these vegetables before consumption and limiting intake to 142 grams per day can minimize their impact on thyroid function.

3.4. Foods High in Sugar

High-sugar foods like pastries, candies, sugary drinks, and packaged snacks can exacerbate thyroid conditions, particularly thyroid inflammation. Excess sugar consumption can also lead to weight gain, obesity, and other health issues.

3.5. Grains Containing Gluten

Gluten, found in wheat-based products like bread, cereal, and pasta, may negatively affect thyroid function and interfere with thyroid medication absorption. Opting for whole grain products can improve gut health.

3.6. Organ Meats

Organ meats are rich in lipoic acid, which may interfere with certain thyroid medications and disrupt thyroid hormone balance.

3.7. Stimulant Beverages

Long-term consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages like coffee, cocoa, soda, and tea can damage thyroid cells, reduce hormone production, and worsen thyroid symptoms. Patients with hyperthyroidism should especially avoid these beverages and opt for fresh fruit juices instead.

In addition to dietary considerations, individuals with thyroid disorders should regularly monitor their thyroid health and consult with their healthcare providers for personalized dietary and medical management. Based on thyroid function test results, doctors can adjust medication dosages and provide tailored nutritional advice for each stage of treatment.

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