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Hypothyroidism Diet

author image Cydney Walker
Cydney Walker is a registered dietitian and personal trainer who began writing about nutrition and exercise during her dietetic internship in 2000. She has been featured in "Voices" and by the National Medical Association for her HIV research. She earned her master's degree in human sciences from Texas A&M University in Kingsville.
Hypothyroidism Diet
Hypothyroidism can make you feel lethargic. Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland is not making enough hormones to regulate your metabolism. David Cooper in the "Medical Management of Thyroid Disease" says some symptoms include fatigue; dry, scaly skin; intolerance to cold; lethargy; and weight gain. Diet therapy can help you get your body back when you start medication to restore hormone levels.

What Foods Are Good?

Hypothyroidism Diet
Salmon is rich in B vitamins. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

When you start your medication regimen, your symptoms do not disappear overnight. It can take several weeks for the medication to restore your thyroid hormones, so your diet will be important. You will need to concentrate on foods that are rich in B vitamins, such as quinoa, brown rice, lentils, whole-wheat pasta (if you are not allergic), fortified cereals, bananas, chicken/turkey, salmon, baked potatoes and spinach. The B vitamins will help your body use your food to make energy.

Fiber and Constipation

Hypothyroidism Diet
Asparagus are fiber rich. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Fiber can provide bulk in your diet to regulate bowel function. You may experience constipation as one of your symptoms. Focus on foods high in insoluble fiber. This type of fiber is not digested by humans and will aid in keeping your bowel movements regular, says Dr. M. Sara Rosenthal. Add green leafy vegetables, carrots, green beans, radishes, asparagus and other nonstarchy vegetables. Also, increase your water intake, as insoluble fiber will pull more water into your colon to move things out.

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Timing of Certain Foods

Hypothyroidism Diet
Avoid certain foods after taking your medication. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Certain foods should be avoided for up to two hours after taking your medication, according to Medline Plus, such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach, pine nuts, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, iodine, kale, flaxseed/linseed or soy foods, as they can inhibit your medication from working completely.


Hypothyroidism Diet
Medications and supplements containing iron and calcium should be avoided for up to four hours after taking your medication. Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Medications and supplements that contain iron or calcium should be avoided up to four hours after taking your medication to prevent interference with medication absorption, according to Medline Plus. Make sure when taking your multivitamin that you check the label for iron and calcium content. B-complex and multivitamins should help correct for any nutritional deficiencies, as suggested by Dr. M. Sara Rosenthal.

Unwanted Weight Gain

Hypothyroidism Diet
Limit your intake of higher carbohydrate foods to early in the day. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Hypothyroidism leaves you tired and sluggish. To gain more energy, you may be relying on higher-calorie foods to give yourself a boost, but you want to get rid of extra weight. You will still need to focus on complex carbs to provide yourself with a steady stream of energy, but limit your portion sizes of whole grain breads, brown rice and other carbs to 1 slice or 1 cup. Eat these foods early in the day, when your energy demands are at their greatest. Leave green, leafy vegetables and lean proteins for your last meal of the day.

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  • Medline Plus: Levothyroxine
  • "The Thyroid Sourcebook for Women"; M. Sara Rosenthal; 2004
  • "Medical Management of Thyroid Disease"; "David Cooper"; 2001
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