Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

Foods to Eat for an Underactive Thyroid

author image August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.
Foods to Eat for an Underactive Thyroid
Checking thyroid. Photo Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is a condition that commonly affects women in their 40s and 50s. Hypothyroidism can reduce your metabolism, making weight management and weight loss difficult without a healthy dietary lifestyle. In addition to potentially boosting your metabolism, there are foods that are known to improve thyroid function. When consumed on a regular basis, they can reduce and prevent underactive thyroid symptoms.

Video of the Day

Foods Containing Selenium

Whole wheat bread.
Whole wheat bread. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

Foods that provide selenium are thought to be helpful toward thyroid function. Dietitian Anne Collins suggests that you consistently eat selenium-rich foods such as whole-wheat bread, bran, Brazil nuts, tuna, onions, tomatoes and broccoli to help improve thyroid function. These foods are also high in other nutrients and fiber, which can contribute to overall health and weight management. Whole grains also contain B vitamins, which also may improve thyroid function.

High-Fiber Foods

Fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fresh fruits and vegetables. Photo Credit: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

The Hartford Clinic suggests a high-fiber diet for those who struggle with underactive thyroid. Such a diet improves regularity and can help you to maintain a healthy weight. To increase fiber in your diet, eat fruits and vegetables with most meals and as snacks. Replace white or sweetened breads and cereals with healthier, whole grain varieties. A high-fiber diet should provide approximately 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily. If you're on thyroid medication, excessive fiber intake can interfere with the synthetic thyroid, so stay within this range and seek your doctor's guidance to ensure you're on the right track.

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Blueberries. Photo Credit: Volosina/iStock/Getty Images

Antioxidants are powerful nutrients that reduce the development of particular diseases and can improve thyroid function. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends antioxidant-rich foods, such as blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, squash and bell peppers. Consuming a variety of these foods regularly may reduce hypothyroid symptoms. Add berries to breakfast smoothies and cereals and incorporate fresh, colorful vegetables into lunch and dinner salads and entrees for best results.

Iron-Rich Foods

Tofu on plate.
Tofu on plate. Photo Credit: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Foods that contain good amounts of iron can improve thyroid function. Iron is found in various foods, such as lean red meat, tuna, salmon, clams, most beans, leafy greens, tofu and fortified grain products, such as breads and cereals. Many of these foods offer fiber, antioxidants and B vitamins, making them ideal options for those with hypothyroidism. A variety of green vegetables and whole grains eaten daily and three ounces of fish twice per week enhances your overall diet and has a potentially positive effect on thyroid levels.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media