While not a very common disorder, hyperthyroidism affects about 1 percent of Americans, mostly women. Hyperthyroidism involves an over-active thyroid, usually caused by Grave's disease, but also by too much iodine, another thyroid condition called thyroiditis, or from taking too much synthetic thyroid hormone. A dietary change might improve symptoms of hyperthyroidism, but will probably not cure it. Talk to a doctor for a hyperthyroidism treatment plan.
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The American Thyroid Association explains that one treatment method does not work for all people with hyperthyroidism. Instead, your doctor will suggest an individualized plan that can include medication, radioactive iodine, beta-blockers and surgery, depending on your condition. Nonetheless, diet can be part of a treatment plan for hyperthyroidism. Talk to a doctor specialized in thyroid conditions to determine a treatment plan.
Foods to Include in Your Diet
A hyperthyroidism diet will include foods that slow your thyroid gland, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. These include vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, mustard greens and turnips; as well as legumes like soy and dry beans. However, if you have thyroiditis and go back and forth between an over- and under-active thyroid, you should not eat these foods. Talk to a doctor before changing your diet for a thyroid condition.
Certain nutrients might reduce symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Vitamins A, C, E and B complex are all necessary for thyroid health. Minerals magnesium and calcium contribute to your metabolic functions. Doctors also advise taking iron, zinc and selenium for hyperthyroidism. Essential fatty acids aid your body in making hormones. Further, foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, peppers and squash, might improve symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian for a specialized hyperthyroidism diet before taking supplements.
Foods to Avoid
There are also foods you should avoid to alleviate some of the hyperthyroidism symptoms. Stay away from processed foods as much as possible, especially processed meat. Reduce your intake of red meat and trans fat, found in many baked goods, stick margarine and fast food. Reduce your caffeine and alcohol consumption as well. Also, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends avoiding foods that trigger an allergic reaction.