A healthy, nutritious, and well-balanced diet is essential for maintaining good health. This article helps you with specific foods to avoid when diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism. If diagnosed with this condition, one needs to eat a variety of healthy food in proportion. A healthy and nutritious diet plan for Hyperthyroidism includes fruit, vegetables, beans, dried fruits, fish, poultry and lean meat. It also involves avoiding junk and unhealthy foods, including deep-fried and refined food products and likewise.
Healthy eating habits build better health and well-being. It enhances optimal growth and development. Moreover, it inhibits the risk of chronic health disorders like cardiac diseases, diabetes, and other thyroid diseases.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when your thyroid gland abnormally secretes excessive thyroid hormones. It can enhance your body’s overall metabolic activities. It promotes abnormal burning of calories leading to weight loss.
Medication and diet are equally important to balance your thyroid levels.
Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Thyroid hormone stimulates metabolic activities or metabolism which is a collective term for all the body functions at the cellular level. It speeds up your body’s metabolism such that the body functions are overactive. Here are a few significant symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
- Weight Loss: You may experience drastic weight loss if you have hyperthyroidism because your body burns more calories even at rest due to the overactive thyroid hormone.
- Increase in Appetite: A study states that an increase in appetite results from thyroid hormones that act on your brain’s appetite centre. The abnormal levels of thyroid hormones speed up your metabolism. As a result, it enhances your appetite and stimulates food intake.
- Increased Heart Rate: An abnormal heart rate is one of the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism. A study states that excess thyroid hormones cause a rapid heart rate. It may be beyond 90 beats per minute at rest.
- Indigestion: When thyroid hormone levels are abnormally high, it enhances intestinal movements. As a result, it stimulates the secretion of fluids along the intestinal walls. Thus, it results in diarrhoea and indigestion.
However, in hypothyroidism, there is a slowdown in metabolism. The study states that these delay emptying food contents from the abdomen to the intestine. As a result, it causes the relapse of food content back to the food pipe resulting in acid reflux or heartburn., bloating, flatulence and likewise.
Diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism
Diagnosis is done on the basis of signs and symptoms and physical examination. They come with a series of investigations which includes.
- Physical examination includes observing your symptoms and sign and medical history to assess any history of other diseases, ongoing or past medications etc.
- Blood Investigations check the thyroid hormone levels. High and low levels indicate Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively.
- The radioiodine Uptake Test is when your thyroid levels are abnormal. It helps to assess the cause of Hyperthyroidism. Abnormal absorption of radioiodine indicates excess synthesis of thyroid hormones.
- A Thyroid Scan produces well-defined pictures of your thyroid gland on a computer. It provides the extent of inflammation, size, and structure of the thyroid. In addition, this test shows how iodine collects in your thyroid.
- Thyroid Ultrasound uses high-intensity sound waves to create pictures of the thyroid. It also helps to diagnose any thyroid nodules rarely detected in other investigations.
Hyperthyroidism and its Associated Complications
Hyperthyroidism, if left untreated, increases the thyroid hormone levels. It can increase the risk of heart problems, anxiety, fragile bones, and more.
Let us look at some complications of Hyperthyroidism.
- Heart problems are a fatal complication of hyperthyroidism. Abnormal thyroid hormone levels cause the heart to beat faster, increasing blood pressure. A rapid and irregular heart rate and rhythm initiate cardiac arrest, stroke, and heart failure.
- Osteoporosis is a disorder where your bones turn fragile. Excess amounts of thyroid hormones in the body depletes calcium from your bones. The deficiency of calcium in bones makes them prone to fracture. Therefore, untreated hyperthyroidism leads to osteoporosis.
- Eye Disorders: Protruded or swollen eyes, blurred or double vision are symptoms of escalated stages of hyperthyroidism. In extreme stages, it may result in loss of vision.
- Body Imbalance: A study states that a person with high levels of circulating thyroid hormone develops vertigo. It is a disorder when there is a variation of in-ear pressure. It results in an imbalance in the body. It also causes dizziness and lightheadedness.
Food and Hyperthyroidism
Diet may affect the synthesis of thyroid hormones and their function. Foods do not cure hyperthyroidism but can effectively manage its symptoms. In Hyperthyroidism, you should be mindful of specific food categories like goitrogenic foods which we will discuss in detail below. These stimulate the synthesis of thyroid hormones and aggravate thyroid symptoms. Foods that interfere with thyroid medication must also be avoided.
Foods to Avoid if you have Hyperthyroidism
Foods rich in iodine and caffeine and cruciferous vegetables may worsen the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Some foods like those that contain caffeine prevent the absorption of thyroid medicine. Iodine and iodine-rich foods stimulate the synthesis of thyroid hormones which is harmful and need to be avoided.
Below are foods you need to stay away from if you have hyperthyroidism:
Iodine instigates the thyroid gland to secrete a higher amount of thyroid hormones which aggravates the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Therefore, it is best if you avoid iodine-rich foods. like iodised salt, seaweed, certain kinds of seafood, kelp and shellfish.
Caffeine contains stimulant properties. Therefore, it can enhance metabolism and intensify hyperthyroidism symptoms like heart palpitation, diarrhoea, rapid tremors, anxiety etc. Moreover, it can prevent the absorption of thyroid medication. Black tea, coffee, sodas, and energy drinks are a few caffeine-rich drinks that need to be removed from your diet.
Refined flour does not contain nutrients and is hard to digest. In addition, they are hypoglycemic foods that disrupt blood glucose and hormone levels. Therefore, replace refined flour bread, snacks, and cereals with whole grains. It includes brown rice, barley, quinoa, etc.
Red meat is an inflammatory food. It indicates it may initiate inflammation in organs. Therefore, in a case of hyperthyroidism, it leads to thyroid inflammation. It is advisable to avoid any food which may trigger the same. Red meat induces inflammation if eaten regularly for a longer duration.
Red meat has high cholesterol and unhealthy fat, and excess consumption results in fat deposits along the blood vessels. As a result, they disrupt the blood flow and lead to blood pressure. Therefore, this is a major cause of multiple cardiac disorders that are symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and kale are cruciferous vegetables. They are high in dietary fibre but contain goitrogens that may interact with thyroid hormone synthesis. As a result, they prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing iodine, which further triggers the symptoms and interferes with thyroid function.
Soy and its products contain isoflavones. It is a compound that prevents the absorption of thyroid medication. Therefore, it may be ideal to avoid soy products until you recover from thyroid diseases.
Weight loss is a symptom of Hyperthyroidism. High fibre promotes weight loss. Thus, it is not advisable for hyperthyroidism. They make you full and satiated. It prevents you from eating. They also interfere with thyroid medication as the fibre contents bind with the drug components and, as a result, prevents drug absorption.
Alcohol has multiple cons in various body functions. First, it adversely affects hyperthyroidism. Studies shows it suppresses thyroid-stimulating hormones. The thyroid-stimulating hormones are associated with regulating thyroid hormones in your body. Additionally, alcohol imparts a toxic effect on the thyroid gland thus blocking your body to utilise the thyroid hormones effectively.
What Can You Eat Instead?
When you have hyperthyroidism, it is best to eat a proportionally nutritious and healthy diet. You can consult your nutritionist for an appropriate and accurate diet. However, it should be in combination with your prescribed medications as well as a good amount of physical activity. Read through to find specific food categories that ease hyperthyroidism symptoms.
Certain Leafy Greens
Excess synthesis of thyroid hormone results in depletion of calcium from the bones. As a result, it makes your bone fragile and prone to fracture. Leafy greens such as spinach, cilantro and parsley are rich in calcium and can help people with hyperthyroidism.
Omega3 Fatty Acids
Hyperthyroidism affects liver function and causes the accumulation of toxins in the blood. Research states that omega-3 fatty acids improve liver function. Almonds and cashews have high omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, salmon and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also high in vitamin D, which helps to absorb calcium and helps to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
Moreover, the healthy fats in fish help maintain your body weight, which is essential in hyperthyroidism, where weight loss is a symptom.
Fermented foods contain probiotics or good bacteria. They help improve your gut health which gets impacted by thyroid imbalance. Moreover, a study states imbalance in gut health is associated with inflammation of organs. Hyperthyroidism is a result of inflammation. Kimchi, kefir, idli and yoghurt contain probiotics.
Most fresh fruits contain antioxidants, compounds that prevent radical cell injury. As a result, they prevent the risks of thyroid diseases. Therefore, a small quantity or one portion of various fruits is ideal. One portion of fruit means roughly half a cup or 120g. Nutritionists recommend fruits like apples, avocados, and berries.
Hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disease. It means the defence cells of your body attack your body cells, mistaking them for foreign bodies. In thyroid disease, the immune system reacts adversely to inflammation. Study says that Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces the signs of inflammation in thyroid diseases. Olive oil is rich in omega free fatty acids. They increase good cholesterol levels in your body and prevent cardiac disorders.
Nuts and Dried Fruits
Selenium is an essential mineral found in dried fruits. A study shows beneficial effects on hyperthyroidism. In addition, it enhances the regulation of thyroid hormone synthesis. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, they soothe the symptoms of inflammatory conditions in thyroid disorders.
Dietary Tips for Hyperthyroidism
There’s no specific diet for hyperthyroidism. However, your food certainly matters. It can limit hyperthyroidism symptoms along with strict adherence to medications. In addition, certain foods and their nutrients help balance thyroid function.
The recommended diet for hyperthyroidism is a high calorie, nutrient-dense diet. It includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and low-fat dairy.
- Eat low Iodine foods. The interaction between iodine and hyperthyroidism is discussed above. Non-iodized salt, eggs, fresh fruits, vegetables and unsalted butter are low in iodine. Avoid processed, canned food and instant food. The preservatives in them have a high content of salt and iodine which can worsen your hyperthyroid symptoms.
- Avoid cruciferous vegetables that contain goitrogens. They inhibit the absorption of iodine from synthesising thyroid hormones. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, bamboo shoots, cabbage, spinach and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables.
- Eating iron-rich foods is essential to keep your thyroid levels normal. Iron is a vital element for all primary body functions. It is essential to deliver oxygen to the cells, including the thyroid. Thus, deficiency of iron results in a condition called anaemia. A study states that chronic anaemia leads to Hyperthyroidism. Dried beans, sprouts, green leafy vegetables, nuts and poultry are rich sources of iron.
- Eat calcium and vitamin D rich foods. Hyperthyroidism results in weak bones. Diet rich in calcium helps to strengthen your bones. Moreover, vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium by bone cells. Figs, low-fat dairy products, eggs, poultry and seafood are sources of calcium and vitamin D.
- Eat small and frequent meals. If you have hyperthyroidism, you tend to burn calories faster. Small portions of food but at frequent intervals will help to prevent weight loss.
- Load up on antioxidants! Antioxidants are compounds that prevent oxidative stress in body cells. Oxidative stress induces radical cell injury resulting in thyroid disease. Fruits like apples, bananas, mango, grapes, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants. They may prevent or improve the symptoms of thyroid diseases.
- Take your prescribed medication at the correct time and do not stop taking it without proper medical advice. A study states that levothyroxine or thyroid medication is ideally eaten half an hour before breakfast. As a result, it helps in better absorption of the medicine.
One cannot cure hyperthyroidism but can easily manage it and its symptoms.. A well-balanced diet along with medications and lifestyle modifications helps to keep your hormone levels under control. A proper diet can balance thyroid hormone levels and regulate the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
A home-cooked low-iodine diet is ideal. Seek guidance from a health support team. They can guide you on dietary changes and lifestyle modifications for thyroid diseases. Additionally, they can plan a nutritious, balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle regime.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Is banana good for thyroid patients?
A: Yes, bananas are beneficial for thyroid health. Bananas contain selenium which has anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, the antioxidant in bananas secures your cells from free radical damage.
Q: Is it better to take levothyroxine in the morning or at night?
A: It is better to eat levothyroxine in the morning. Ideally, it is eaten half an hour before breakfast as it helps better absorb the medicine. Check with your medical practitioner once as well in case they have an alternative suggestion.
Q: Does thyroid affect blood pressure?
A: Yes, the thyroid affects blood pressure. Abnormal levels of thyroid hormone cause the heart to beat faster. As a result, it increases blood pressure.
Q: Can thyroid affect eyes?
A: Protruded or swollen eyes, blurred or double vision are symptoms of abnormal levels of hyperthyroidism. In extreme stages, it may result in loss of vision.
Q: Can thyroid cause dizziness and balance problems?
A: Yes, thyroid disease causes shortness of breath and dizziness. As a result, it affects the body’s balance. One may notice it in both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Q: Can thyroid cause ear issues?
A: A high level of thyroid hormones leads to the development of vertigo. It is a disorder when there is a variation of in-ear pressure. In addition, it results in an imbalance in the body.
Q: Can thyroid cause acid reflux?
A: Yes, the thyroid can cause acid reflux. Low thyroid levels delay emptying food contents from the abdomen to the intestine. It causes the relapse of food content back to the food pipe resulting in acid reflux
Q: How does a person with hypothyroidism feel?
A: A person with hypothyroidism has a slowdown in body functions. They may feel weak and tired. Weight gain, joint pains, reduced heart rate are other symptoms experienced.