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Healthy diet for an underactive thyroid

Updated March 23, 2017

Underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is when the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This slows your metabolism. One of the side effects of an underactive thyroid is weight gain, which is extremely frustrating because losing two to four kilograms is close to impossible. People with hypothyroidism feel tired and lack energy, so exercise is difficult. Try a low-calorie, high-nutrient diet to increase your metabolism, gain energy and begin shedding weight.

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Protein power

Eat protein-fuelled foods because protein feeds muscle growth, which boosts the metabolism. Leucine, an amino acid in protein-rich foods, promotes muscle growth and assists the body’s hormonal system. Include foods like green leafy vegetables, almonds, walnuts, whole grains, lean meat or eggs with every meal. Research shows that protein is an important part of any weight loss diet. According to research conducted at the University of Illinois in the US, women who consumed an average of 110 g of protein a day lost more weight than those who averaged 60 g of protein.

Iodine-rich foods

Iodine is an important nutrient for maintaining thyroid health. More than two-thirds of the body’s iodine levels are located in the thyroid gland. If you have an iodine deficiency, it could exacerbate your underactive thyroid condition. Include food such as iodised salt, fresh fish such as cod or haddock, fish oil, eggs and cheddar cheese in your diet to increase iodine levels. Adult men and women should consume between 100 to 200 g of iodine-rich foods or supplements every day. Iodine can only be stored in the body in small amounts; however, most people can meet their daily iodine requirements through the foods they eat.

Fibre and vitamins

Vitamins A, B2, B3, B6 and C maintain hormone levels. Foods such as carrots, spinach, egg yolks, oranges, melon and broccoli should be part of your underactive thyroid diet. Some of the top fibre-rich foods are bran, beans and berries. Deep green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach provide supercharged amounts of vitamin K, E, B3, B6 and folate.

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About the Author

Gina Ragusa has made a career out of writing for the past 15 years, with an emphasis on financial institution writing. Ragusa has written for Consumer Lending News, Deposit and Loan Growth Strategies and Community Bank President. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University.

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