Thyroid

Is Flaxseed Good for Thyroid? Let’s Find Out

Parul Dube

January 27, 2023

What you consume affects your overall health and well-being. Thyroid issues commonly appear in people 12 years of age and older. However, there is always time to prevent this problem by making simple dietary changes and leading a healthy lifestyle.

You can manage your thyroid levels because the thyroid can alter how much weight you have by exercising and eating the right foods with few calories. Therefore, one must make dietary and lifestyle modifications to prioritise and care for health.

Flaxseeds have several benefits. Protein, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids are all in sufficient amounts in one serving of flaxseed.

As a result, it could help maintain a healthy weight, control blood pressure and cholesterol, and lessen the risk of several diseases. However, does it help improve thyroid condition? 

Read on to understand the connection between flaxseed and thyroid conditions. 

Flaxseed – An Overview

Flaxseeds are a good source of dietary fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Alpha-linolenic acid, Phytoestrogens called lignans, which resemble the hormone oestrogen, are also found in flaxseeds.

In addition, the seed coat of flaxseed contains fibre. It makes people feel less hungry when taken before a meal. It also helps reduce the amount of cholesterol the body absorbs from the diet.

Flaxseed is a multi-purpose ingredient that can enhance the flavour and texture of any recipe due to its mild, nutty flavour and crunchy consistency.

It is an excellent addition to overnight oats, homemade veggie burgers, morning smoothies, and pancake batter. In addition, flaxseed aid in lowering the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, constipation, etc.

Nutrient Profile of Flaxseed 

According to USDA, nutrients in 100 grams of flaxseed include

  • Calories: 534 Kcal
  • Protein: 18.29 g
  • Carbohydrate: 28.88 g
  • Fat: 42.16
  • Dietary Fibre: 27.3 g
  • Potassium: 813 mg
  • Phosphorus: 642 mg
  • Magnesium: 392 mg
  • Calcium: 255 mg
  • Iron: 5.73 mg
  • Zinc: 4.34 mg
  • Sodium: 30 mg
  • Vitamin C: 0.6 mg
  • Vitamin K: 4.3 µg
  • Folate: 87 µg
  • Selenium: 25.4 µg

Thyroid Gland and Disease: An Outline

The thyroid is a little butterfly-shaped gland on the front of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple. In around one in twenty people, thyroid abnormalities exist. These conditions can be either temporary or chronic. A study found that it is common and affects women more frequently. But occasionally, men, teenagers, children, and even babies are affected.

Your thyroid gland secretes the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The proper functioning of the body’s metabolism, growth, and development depends on hormones. Normal hormone synthesis by the thyroid regulates how your body functions, but thyroid disease occurs when the synthesis is impaired. Thyroid hormone synthesis usually takes two forms, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism

Studies indicate when your thyroid generates too many hormones, it is hyperthyroidism, which raises your metabolism. Although men can also have hyperthyroidism, women between the ages of 20 and 40 have the highest prevalence of this condition. Shortness of breath, palpitations, increased sweating, and sleeplessness are all signs of this condition. Hyperthyroidism typically results from an autoimmune disorder or a developing tumour.

Studies indicate insufficient thyroid hormone levels get referred to as hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. People of all ages can develop hypothyroidism, although women over 50 are more likely to do so. Your body’s metabolic rate decreases as a result of the hormone lowering. This condition’s symptoms include weariness, weight gain, sensitivity to colds, a slow pulse rate, headaches, and depression. One of the main reasons for hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. However, this is uncommon in developed nations. 

Flaxseed and Thyroid: A Healthy Connection

According to studies, omega-3 fatty acids, ALA, lignans, and fibre, are all abundant in flax seeds. As a result, they support thyroid gland functionality. You can roast flax seeds, powder them, add them to curries and chutneys, and eat them daily. 

Investigations show flax seeds contain an active component called cyanogen, which is hazardous if taken in excessive quantities. You can consume 5g to 30g daily. However, iodine insufficiency (prevention of iodine absorption) can result from consuming more than 2 tbsp (30g). Thus, you may consume this in moderation for optimal outcomes. 

You must unquestionably consult an endocrinologist for medical assistance if you have hypothyroidism. One study found that diets poor in selenium, zinc, and iodine can result in thyroid problems. Flaxseeds contain a significant amount of selenium and zinc. Therefore, consuming it in recommended quantities will benefit thyroid activity.

Flaxseed Oil for Thyroid

Cold pressing is a common method used to make flaxseed oil because it effectively extracts the oil from the seeds. It is preferable to store this oil in dark glass bottles and a dark, cold area, such as a kitchen cupboard because it is susceptible to heat and light. You should not use flaxseed oil for high-heat cooking techniques like frying because its nutrients are heat-sensitive.

Flaxseed oil has a higher ALA content than flaxseeds that have been ground. Approximately 1.6 grams of ALA are present in just one tablespoon (7 grams) of ground flaxseed, whereas 7 grams are present in 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of flaxseed oil. However, ground flaxseed contains various other healthy elements, including fibre. Therefore, consider consuming as a whole if you want its full benefit. 

Flaxseed oil helps support healthy hormone balance and thyroid function. The ideal intake of flaxseed oil. 

Here’s How to Use Flaxseed for Thyroid

  1. Add 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed to your hot or cold breakfast beverage.
  2. While preparing your sandwich, you can add flaxseeds.
  3. An excellent dessert choice for people is flaxseed with yoghurt.
  4. You may use flax seeds in other baked items like cookies and muffins.

Conclusion

Monitoring your metabolic health is crucial. For example, thyroid dysfunction gets linked to several issues, such as uncontrollable weight gain, weight loss, and other metabolic diseases. According to studies, omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed and flaxseed oil get linked to several health benefits.

Flaxseed is beneficial for individuals with thyroid issues because it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can exacerbate symptoms of thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism. Additionally, flaxseed is also high in lignans. They have a beneficial effect on hormonal balance, including the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. 

It is important to note that flaxseed should be used in moderation, as it may interfere with the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone. Therefore, individuals with thyroid disorders should consult their physician before adding flaxseed to their diet. Also, medications can aid in restoring normal thyroid function. However, a full recovery in some rare thyroid conditions might not be achievable. For instance, you might need to take medication for the rest of your life to keep your thyroid functioning normally. 

Your thyroid levels may be tracked, monitored, and analysed using HealthifyPRO 2.0 from the comfort of your home. You also gain access to a completely personalised food plan from a certified dietitian, healthy at-home recipes, and workout schedules from an experienced fitness professional.

The Supporting Sources

1. Data by the US Department of Agriculture on raw blueberries |FDC ID: 1100610| 

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1100610/nutrients

2. Chiovato L, Magri F, Carlé A. Hypothyroidism in Context: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going. Adv Ther. 2019 Sep;36(Suppl 2):47-58. doi: 10.1007/s12325-019-01080-8. Epub 2019 Sep 4. PMID: 31485975; PMCID: PMC6822815.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6822815/

3. De Leo S, Lee SY, Braverman LE. Hyperthyroidism. Lancet. 2016 Aug 27;388(10047):906-918. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00278-6. Epub 2016 Mar 30. PMID: 27038492; PMCID: PMC5014602.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5014602/

4. Chaker L, Bianco AC, Jonklaas J, Peeters RP. Hypothyroidism. Lancet. 2017 Sep 23;390(10101):1550-1562. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30703-1. Epub 2017 Mar 20. PMID: 28336049; PMCID: PMC6619426.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6619426/

5. Parikh M, Maddaford TG, Austria JA, Aliani M, Netticadan T, Pierce GN. Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients. 2019 May 25;11(5):1171. doi: 10.3390/nu11051171. PMID: 31130604; PMCID: PMC6567199.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567199/

6. B. Dave. Oomah, Giuseppe. Mazza, and Edward O. Kenaschuk | Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 1992 40 (8), 1346-1348. DOI: 10.1021/jf00020a010

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jf00020a010

7. Chung HR. Iodine and thyroid function. Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Mar;19(1):8-12. doi: 10.6065/apem.2014.19.1.8. Epub 2014 Mar 31. PMID: 24926457; PMCID: PMC4049553.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4049553/

8. Goyal A, Sharma V, Upadhyay N, Gill S, Sihag M. Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Sep;51(9):1633-53. Doi: 10.1007/s13197-013-1247-9. Epub 2014 Jan 10. PMID: 25190822; PMCID: PMC4152533.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152533/

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!


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