Foods That Treat Underactive Thyroid

Updated July 18, 2017

Underactive thyroid, commonly known as hypothyroidism, is a glandular condition that affects at least 27 million women. In his 2007 book "From Fatigued to Fantastic," Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum states that iodine is needed to synthesise the thyroid hormonesT4 and T3. He also says, "Even a minor iodine deficiency can trigger classic hypothyroid symptoms like sluggishness and weight gain."

To help keep in check these symptoms, Dr. Teitelbaum recommends eating foods that are rich sources of iodine. He says that people with this glandular condition should eat some form of protein with each meal. Frequent doses of protein nourish the thyroid with a constant supply of tyrosine, an amino acid needed to produce gland-fuelling hormones T4 and T3.

Iodine -Rich Foods

Iodine-rich foods include ocean fish like cod, haddock, mackerel and sardines. People who detest eating fish have the option to use a seaweed seasoning called Triple Blend Flakes. It can be purchased at your local health-food stores. Another good option is to eat Brazil nuts and eggs. Brazil nuts and eggs are loaded with selenium. Selenium is a micro-mineral that helps the body convert T4 into T3, the most active thyroid hormone. Aim to eat three to four weekly servings of iodine-rich foods for optimal benefits.

Foods That Suppress the Thyroid

Eating iodine-rich foods will help reduce the affects of an underactive thyroid; however, it is equally important to avoid foods known to suppress thyroid health. The most common thyroid-suppressing foods are in the brassia family. They are cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables contain chemicals called "goitrogens" that interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis by blocking the production of thyroid peroxidase, the enzyme responsible for iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. These foods should never be eaten raw. If you must eat them, it is recommended that you cook them first, because heat deactivates goitrogens.


If you can, it is highly recommended that you eat organic foods. Pesticides sprayed on non-organic foods contain oestrogenic compounds that can affect thyroid function.

Stay away from white flour and white sugar; they are known to suppress thyroid function.

Drink distilled or filtered water. Chemicals in unfiltered water can also suppress thyroid function.

Avoid drinking alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine; they too can suppress thyroid function.


Eating iodine-rich foods will not cure an underactive thyroid, but it will help support the thyroid in order to minimise thyroid-related disturbances.

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About the Author

Based in Littleton, Colorado, Nicole Weaver has been writing health-related articles since June 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish from the College of New Rochelle, New York. In March 2009, Weaver published her first trilingual children's book titled "Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle."