Foods to Increase Thyroid Function

Updated April 17, 2017

The thyroid is a bow-tie shaped gland that sits in the front of your neck below the larynx. Without it, your body cannot process iodine, which gets converted into thyroid hormones. Since the thyroid is responsible for your metabolism, it plays a critical role in energy production and affects every cell. According to Mayo Clinic, if thyroid medication is prescribed, there are certain foods that you need to avoid such as walnuts and soybean flour. Although Mayo Clinic does not advise that foods can improve thyroid function, alternative medicine practitioners and some nutritionists believe they can.


Women to Women's website states that vitamins A and C are antioxidants that can support your thyroid gland. Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, and collard greens contain vitamin A. According to Leslie K. Kay, a registered dietitian and researcher who has written a continuing education course on nutrition therapy for Nutrition Dimension, antioxidants may lower inflammation in the body. Also, vitamin A deficiency may be a cause of a low-functioning thyroid.

Foods with Zinc

A lack of zinc in the diet is also associated with a poorly-functioning thyroid gland. Your body needs zinc to produce thyroid hormones. Oysters have the most zinc (76.7 milligrams per serving) according to the National Institutes of Health's office of dietary supplements. Free-range beef and chicken contain high amounts of zinc. Other shellfish (besides oysters), beans and seeds provide smaller amounts.


According to Women to Women's website, the thyroid cannot do its job of turning iodine into specific hormones if you have completely eliminated iodised salt or iodine-containing foods. Iodine-rich foods include kelp, nori, oysters, sardines, salmon and clams. Most seafood has some iodine.


Blackstrap molasses is high in iron. Not only is iron necessary for thyroid function, according to Women to Women, but it prevents anaemia. Anemia coupled with low thyroid function can zap all your energy and make fatigue symptoms worse.


Radishes are from the cabbage family. This family of vegetables have phytochemicals (contain active healing compounds). Some nutritionists state that radishes contain an active compound that naturally slows down thyroid function. This is helpful if your thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroidism).

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About the Author

Based in Colorado Springs, Vanessa Newman writes for "Women's Edition" magazine and has been published in "Rocky Mountain Sports," "IDEA" magazine and "The Teaching Professor." She has been writing professionally for over 10 years and holds a master's degree in sports medicine. She has written online courses for companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Chevron, but prefers creative writing.