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Diet Tips for an Underactive Thyroid

Updated November 21, 2016

An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is caused by the pituitary gland's inability to produce enough hormones to control metabolism. Symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, high cholesterol and muscle cramps. Located in the front of your throat, the pituitary gland absorbs iodine from food and converts the iodine into thyroid hormones. By adding more iodine-rich foods and refraining from food that inhibits hormone production, your thyroid will be better equipped to regulate your metabolism.

Iodine Rich Foods

Load up on iodine-rich foods if you have been either diagnosed with hypothyroidism or suspect you have a problem. It is important to note that you should talk to your doctor to eliminate the possibility that you suffer from hyperthyroidism. Foods rich in iodine are seaweed, soy sauce, cheeses, eggs, ice cream, saltwater fish, shellfish and yoghurt. Japanese food like sushi or sashimi could be very beneficial. Starting your morning off with eggs is also another meal possibility. Sandwiches with cheese, tuna, egg salad or shrimp salad make great lunch options. Play around with the list and find meals that suit you best.

Foods to Avoid

Soy products have been found to impede on the thyroid's ability to produce enough hormones. The isoflavones in these foods resemble a hormone that blocks thyroid peroxidase, which helps in absorbing iodine. Refrain from eating tofu, tempeh, soy sauce and soy milk. Keep an eye on labels, because soy can show up in the production of many processed foods. To avoid this conundrum, try to eat only fresh foods with known ingredients. Other thyroid peroxidase inhibiting foods include broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, turnips and Brussels sprouts.

Other Factors

It has been found that low progesterone levels usually brought on by hormone imbalances in women have played a hand with reducing the thyroid hormone. Meat contains oestrogen that can further reduce progesterone within the system. Try to eat a diet of lots of vegetables and fish. Gluten consumption should be avoided for both hypo and hyperthyroidism. Check out the ingredients in the foods you buy. Gluten can be found in breads, pastas, gravies, frozen food, crackers and soups. There are a host of gluten-free products on the market that you can check out and try.

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