Hypothyroidism describes a medical condition characterized by underproduction of hormones by your thyroid gland. These hormones regulate your internal body temperature and metabolize nutrients in foods. This condition can produce obesity, as well as symptoms such as inability to tolerate cold, fatigue, muscle cramps, infertility and susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections. Foods containing iodine, a primary component of thyroid hormones, may help alleviate the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Check with your physician before adding iodine-rich foods to your diet. High levels of iodine in your bloodstream may contribute to liver damage.
Garlic is an herb that has been used for medicinal remedies for over 5,000 years, according to Michael Castleman, author of "The Healing Herbs." Sumerian tablets dating back to 3,000 BC contained prescriptions for this herb. Through the centuries, herbal healers recommended garlic for longevity, immune system enhancement and cholesterol reduction. Garlic is also a rich source of iodine, and may stimulate the production of hormones that help your body convert nutrients into energy, instead of storing them as fat cells. Talk to your doctor if you plan to use garlic to fight hypothyroidism. The chemical compounds in garlic may cause excessive bleeding.
Kelp is a type of seaweed harvested from coastal waters along Japan, the United States and Europe. North Americans and Europeans used kelp as a primary source of iodine during the 1800s, until other sources of iodine were discovered. The iodine content in kelp may help ease the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It may also help prevent goiter, an enlargement of your thyroid gland associated with iodine deficiency.
Several other foods are abundant sources of iodine, and may help reduce the effects of hypothyroidism if you do not like the taste of kelp or garlic. Saltwater fish such as tuna, herring, cod and mackerel are especially rich sources of iodine. If you are a vegetarian or do not like fish, increase your intake of plant-based foods such as asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, tofu, Swiss chard and sesame seeds.