Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces deficient amounts of hormones, causing symptoms such as lethargy, depressive moods, increased appetite, weight gain, constipation, menstrual problems, confusion, headaches and a reduced pulse. Hypothyroidism is treatable, typically through use of synthetic thyroid therapy. A healthy diet may help reduce mild cases of an under-active thyroid, support other treatment forms and help prevent potential complications. For best results, seek specified guidance from your doctor or dietitian.
Fish and Seafood
Fish and seafood are valuable sources of protein, which promotes sustained energy and blood sugar balance, and vitamin B-12. According to research published in the "Journal of Pakistan Medical Association" in 2008, increasing your vitamin B-12 intake may be important when faced with hypothyroidism. During the study, researchers examined vitamin B-12 levels in 116 patients with hypothyroidism. Forty-six, or 39.3 percent, of the participants exhibited deficiencies. Since some symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency are similar to hypothyroidism, including weakness, fatigue and constipation, you may find that incorporating more fish and seafood into your diet helps reduce your prominent symptoms. Fish and seafood particularly rich in vitamin B-12 include clams, rainbow trout, salmon and lake trout.
Whole grains are grains that have retained valuable nutrient and fiber content during food processing. In addition to promoting blood sugar balance and appetite control, whole grains may help prevent or alleviate constipation associated with hypothyroidism, according to authors of "The Complete Thyroid Book" Kenneth Ain and M. Sara Rosenthal. Unless you're following a doctor-prescribed low-iodine diet, aim for 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day. One cup of cooked whole wheat pasta or cooked barley provides roughly 6 grams. One cup of cooked oatmeal provides 4 grams. For best results, replace enriched breads, pasta, cereals and snack foods in your diet with whole grain equivalents most often.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide rich amounts of antioxidants, which help your body's ability to defend itself from infections and disease. While some vegetables may interfere with thyroid function, such as broccoli, mustard greens, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, kale, Brussels sprouts and spinach, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, other colorful fruits and vegetables may improve your symptoms. To determine whether certain varieties are off limits, talk to your doctor. Otherwise, incorporate a variety of colorful, whole produce into your meals and snacks routinely. Fruits and vegetables particularly rich in antioxidants include berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, seaweed, red and green bell peppers and winter squash. Avocados, raspberries, pears, artichokes, peas, beans, lentils and sweet potatoes are rich sources of fiber.
Flaxseed, Walnuts and Canola Oil
Flaxseed, walnuts and canola oil provide healthy fats known as omega-3 fatty acids. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that people with hypothyroidism consume omega-3 fatty acids consistently for reduced inflammation and improved immune system function. Plant-based sources of omega-3 fats are particularly important if you do not consume fatty fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna or halibut -- prime sources of the healthy fats. Consume ground flaxseed rather than whole-seed for optimum absorption. Enjoy flaxseed and walnuts on their own or as healthy, flavorful additions to smoothies, yogurt, cereals and baked goods. Canola oil provides a heart-healthy alternative to butter and margarine.
- "Journal of Pakistan Medical Association"; Vitamin B12 Deficiency Common in Primary Hypothyroidism; Abdul Jabbar et al.; 2008
- "The Complete Thyroid Source Book"; Kenneth Ain, M. Sara Rosenthal; 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Hypothyroidism