The best diets for thyroid problems

Updated February 21, 2017

Thyroid problems, both hyperactive and hypoactive, affect the health of many people. A 2006 article on The Diet Channel states that over 10 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women suffer from some kind of thyroid problem. Since the thyroid gland controls the body's hormone levels and metabolism, people with underactive thyroids may have a difficult time metabolising their food, while people with overactive thyroids must deal with foods metabolising too quickly. The right meal plan can help people with thyroid problems maintain a balanced diet.

Low-Iodine Diets

Hyperthyroidism cannot be reversed by foods or nutrients; however, eating a diet that is low in iodine may have a positive impact on your health. According to Dr. Mario Skugar, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic, the more iodine a person with hyperthyroidism has in their system, the more their thyroid will produce hormones, thereby worsening their symptoms. The solution, then, is to remove foods from the diet that are high in iodine. Salts, seafood, eggs, dairy products and some produce are typical high-iodine culprits, so these foods should be eliminated.

High-Nutrient Diets

According to The Diet Channel, vitamins and minerals have a positive effect on the thyroid. Specifically, supplements that encourage proper thyroid functioning are vitamins A and D, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Incorporating these nutrients into your everyday meal plan is easy. Green leafy vegetables, salmon, cauliflower and beans are a few food options for maintaining a high-nutrient diet to protect your thyroid.

Dietary Changes

People with hypothyroidism find it difficult to lose weight, which is attributed to the fact that their thyroid gland becomes underactive and is no longer able to effectively regulate the metabolism. Consequently, foods--even healthy ones--can cause weight gain. One way to control weight gain from hypothyroidism is to be careful with your diet. Foods that are high in fats, calories or sugars should be replaced with low-fat, low-sugar alternatives. For example, substitute a scoop of ice cream for a handful of berries.

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About the Author

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.