Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland making it difficult to function. The diet for this disease is specific and improves the function of the thyroid gland. Some food items help in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, while others hinder its production. Usually, the food items that help better function the thyroid gland help improve Hashimoto’s thyroiditis condition. In this article, you will know about the food items that will help protect the thyroid gland and enhance its functioning and which food items you should avoid.
About the Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck region of the human body. This gland is responsible for secreting thyroid hormones in your body which controls the body’s mechanism. These hormones play a significant role in the proper functioning of the human body. These hormones control functions, including metabolism, fertility, growth, development, etc.
This disease occurs when the thyroid gland is inflamed or increases in size. The gland is inflamed primarily because of insufficient or excessive iodine levels. Iodine is a significant cofactor for many regulatory pathways inside the human body. Hence proper intake of iodine is crucial to leading a healthy life.
What happens in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. Lymphocytic means it is a disease of the white blood cells in the human body. Since it is a disease of white blood cells, it is an autoimmune disorder.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in today’s world. A Japanese physician discovered it, and the condition got its name from him. Over the years, this disease has grown from 4% to 22%. A striking feature of the evolution of this disease is that women have thyroid disease nine times more than men. Reasons for this wide gap in ratio between men and women are still under research.
In brief, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system mistakes healthy thyroid tissue as potentially dangerous to the body and attacks it. It results in inflammation of the tissue that eventually can destroy the function of the thyroid gland.
Causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Genetic factors
- Disorders of Pituitary gland
- Radiation treatments of the neck
- Iodine-containing medicines used to treat abnormal heart rhythm
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Initial symptoms include:
- Brittle nails
- Cold hands and feet
- Dry skin
- Joint pain
- Menstrual irregularity
- Muscle aches
- Sensitivity to cold (cold intolerance)
- Thinning, brittle hair
- Weakness (loss of strength)
- Weight gain
What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diet?
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diet is a diet that reduces inflammation of the thyroid gland. Reduced inflammation results in the repair and protection of the gland so that the normal body functions are not affected. Therefore, the diet must be devoid of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, refined cereals, and soybean.
Let’s dig a little deep into the diet. Here is a list of what to eat, what not to eat, and why.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diet: Foods to Eat
Apart from boosting energy, fruits are power-packed with antioxidants. This disease causes an inflamed thyroid gland. Antioxidants scavenge the free radical, which causes inflammation. It reduces inflammation which in turn helps in the repair of the thyroid gland. Some fruits are berries, apple, banana, orange, papaya, pomegranate, dates, guava, melons, lychee, lime etc.
For example, one hundred grams of fresh lychees contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 66 kcals
- Protein: 0.83 g
- Fat: 0.44 g
- Fibre: 1.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 16.5 g
- Potassium: 171 mg
- Vitamin C: 71.5 mg
- Phosphorus: 31 g
- Magnesium: 10 mg
- Iron: 0.31 mg
- Zinc: 0.07 mg
- Selenium: 0.6 µg
- Calcium: 5 mg
One hundred grams of red raspberries contain:
- Calories: 52 kcals
- Fats: 0.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 12 g
- Protein: 1.2 g
- Vitamin C: 26.2 mg
- Magnesium: 22 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
- Potassium: 151 mg
- Iron: 0.7 mg
- Calcium: 25 mg
Vegetables provide a lot of the essential minerals in the body. They help maintain satiety and control weight because they are rich in soluble fibre. In addition, they have pigments in them like betalain in beetroot, chlorophyll in ladyfinger etc. These pigments act as anti-inflammatory agents and help the body properly function. Some vegetables are bell peppers, potatoes, tomato, onion, brinjal, gourds, carrots, mushrooms, etc.
For example, one hundred grams of potatoes contain:
- Calories: 97kCal
- Fats: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 22.6g
- Protein: 1.6g
- Fibre: 1.7g
One hundred grams of tomatoes contain:
- Calories: 18kcal
- Water: 95%
- Protein: 0.9g
- Carbs: 3.9g
- Sugar: 2.6g
- Fibre: 1.2g
- Fat: 0.2g
3. Good Fats
Omega 3 and omega 6 are unsaturated fatty acids that have antioxidant effects on the body. Therefore, it helps in improving the body’s functioning. These good fats are oils from seeds, grains, basically plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fatty fish etc. For example, flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines etc.
One hundred grams of raw salmon fish contains:
- Calories: 127 kcal
- Fats: 4.4g
- Sodium: 37.4mg
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Protein: 20.5g
One hundred grams of tuna contains:
- Calories: 144 kcal
- Cholesterol: 60 mg
- Total fat: 4.9g
- Protein: 23.3 g
- Sodium: 47mg
- Potassium: 522 mg
4. Foods with High Biological Value Protein
The protein category comes under animal protein sources like egg, chicken, fish, etc. Protein from animal sources is readily absorbed in the body and gives minimum roughage. Hence, these are needed to repair and regenerate the wear and tear of cells.
One egg contains:
- Calories: 72kcal
- Protein: 6g
- Carbs: 0.6g
- Fat: 5g
- Saturated Fat: 1.6g
5. Low Fat Dairy
Low fat milk products give the body energy, calcium, and protein. Also, they are essential for the body’s functioning. Curd and yoghurt have probiotics in them. Probiotics help in maintaining gut health and aids in digestion.
6. Condiments, Spices and Herbs
Condiments, spices, and herbs are added in minimal amounts to the dish because they are power packs of nutrients. They have antioxidants, flavones, active ingredients, polyphenols, etc. In addition, they help reduce inflammation and repair and protect the body and its functions. Examples are paprika or red chilli, turmeric, rosemary, basil, black pepper, saffron, honey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar etc.
The nutritional value of 100 grams of coriander leaves is as follows:
- Calories – 31.07
- Carbohydrate – 1.93 g
- Protein – 3.52 g
- Water – 86.99 g
- Fat – 0.70 g
- Fibre – 4.66 g
- Vitamin C – 135 mg
- Vitamin A – 6918 mcg
- Phosphorous – 71 mg
- Iron – 1.42 mg
- Calcium – 184 mg
- Magnesium – 31 mg
- Sodium – 58.3 mg
- Potassium – 256 mg
- Sulphur – 49 mg
- Chlorine – 43 mg
Saffron contains the following nutrients per 100 grams.
- Calcium- 111 milligrams
- Iron- 11.1 mg
- Potassium- 1724 mg
- Total fat- 6 g
- Cholesterol- 0 gm
- Sodium- 148
- Potassium- 1724 mg
- Dietary fibre- 3.9mg
- Protein- 11gm
One hundred grams of rosemary contains:
- Proteins: 4.9g
- Water: 9.3g
- Calories: 331kcal
- Carbohydrates: 64g
- Total fat: 15g
7. Beans and Pulses
Beans and pulses are good sources of plant-based protein. When cooked properly, it reduces flatulence. Moreover, it helps repair and protects the inflamed organ. However, it would help if you avoided soybean as it has isoflavones that inhibit the functioning of the thyroid gland. Therefore, apart from soybean and its products, other beans and pulses are allowed: moong dal, masoor dal, rajma dal, yellow lentil, chana etc.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diet: Foods to Avoid
Soybean and Soy Products
Soybean and its products contain isoflavones. Isoflavones interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. In this disease, as it is, the functioning is affected. On top of it, soybean or their products affect the gland’s functioning and the secretion of the hormones. So, these products are strictly not allowed, be it soy chunks, soy milk, soybean oil, etc.
These vegetables contain goitrogens. Goitrogens interfere with the working of the thyroid hormone secretion. As it is, the secretion is affected in this disease due to inflammation of the gland. Therefore, cruciferous vegetables are not allowed in this condition due to the presence of goitrogens. Some examples are cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale etc.
Fast Foods and Fried Foods
These types of foods are not healthy. Foods cooked by these methods is very unhealthy and harmful for the body. Hence, these should be avoided at all costs when suffering from a diseased condition.
Highly processed foods are high in saturated fats. This high saturated fat content is a significant cause of many heart and liver diseases. Therefore, please avoid them in case of this disease.
These contain carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide reacts with food, and harmful substances occur in the body.
Do’s and Don’ts for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diet
Here are a few things that you should follow:
- Drink lots of water 3-4 litres in a day.
- Be physically active for most days of the week, 45 minutes daily.
- Sleep properly for 7-8 hours.
- Do not lead a sedentary lifestyle.
- Follow the diet correctly and avoid the food items which are not suitable for you.
- Take medications on time.
- Invest in a healthy lifestyle with good food and regular walking.
- Maintain the correct weight. Avoid sudden weight gain.
- Portion control should be maintained as specified by the nutritionist.
- Take a micronutrient supplement after consultation with the doctor.
Other Diets that You can Follow
Gluten-Free and Grain-Free Diet
Avoid all wheat, barley, and rye products when following a gluten-free diet. Most pasta, bread, and soy sauces, for example, contain gluten, though gluten-free alternatives are available. In addition, many studies show that people with Hashimoto’s disease are more likely than the general population to develop celiac.
Many other studies have found that people with Hashimoto’s disease, or autoimmune diseases, generally benefit from a gluten-free diet, even if they aren’t celiac. However, a grain-free diet is more restrictive than a gluten-free diet because it excludes all grains. So, although this dietary change may have some advantages, there is still research on this topic.
Hashimoto’s disease is due to inflammation. As a result, an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps alleviate symptoms significantly. Hashimoto’s disease, researchers discovered that those who ate more fruits and vegetables had lower oxidative stress markers, a condition that causes chronic inflammation. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties include vegetables, fruits, spices, and fatty fish, to name a few.
Autoimmune Protocol Diet
People with autoimmune diseases should follow the autoimmune diet. Grain, legumes, eggs, alcohol, nuts, seeds, refined sugars, oils, dairy, nightshades, added sugar, coffee, and food additives are the foods that one should eliminate. Remember that the Autoimmune Diet is a phased elimination diet that a qualified healthcare professional should only prescribe and monitor.
Research states that following a proper diet helps to improve Hashimoto’s thyroiditis disease. The diet and recommendations given in this article are generalised. Each individual is different, and each one’s diet needs special attention. You should consult a qualified nutritionist for making a diet specifically for you and your needs. It’s good not to follow any diet without assessing your health and nutritional needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Does Hashimoto’s thyroiditis affect pregnancy?
A. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may affect pregnancy. Pregnancy is a complex physiological condition. It is necessary to consult a gynaecologist during pregnancy, just after conception. It may make conception difficult too.
Q. Does Hashimoto’s thyroiditis cause joint pain?
A. Yes, it may cause joint pain in some people, as it is an autoimmune disorder related to inflammation. In this disease, there is inflammation in the joints. Therefore, you may have joint pain if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Q. Can you be skinny with Hashimoto’s?
A. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis symptom is weight gain. Since the physiology of the disease is lowering metabolism, which increases weight, it is not possible to be skinny with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Healthy weight can be maintained with balanced diet, exercises and other healthy lifestyle habits
Q. Can Hashimoto’s thyroiditis be reversed?
A. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder. It cannot be completely cured, but medical nutrition therapy, healthy lifestyle changes, and diet help control and manage the condition.
Q. Is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis hereditary?
A. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder and researchers have shown that genetics can have a role.
Q. Can Hashimoto’s thyroiditis cause infertility?
A. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may cause infertility. Since it’s an autoimmune disorder, consulting a gynaecologist while planning for a child is essential. In addition, maintaining a proper diet and healthy lifestyle is crucial in improving the condition and its symptoms.