Eat these foods for thyroid health to keep your body functioning at its peak.
Foods for Thyroid Health: Which to Go for and Which to Avoid
Foods that have a high amount of antioxidants are great for your thyroid health. Berries are bursting with antioxidants and sweet tangy goodness.
Back in 2010, researchers found that out of 3,000 foods, wild berries contained some of the highest amounts of antioxidants. These included blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, and goji berries.
2. Beef and Chicken
Another friend to your thyroid is the nutrient zinc. Not enough zinc in your body can cause your thyroid to become sluggish and underactive, a condition also known as hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism can cause sluggishness, weight gain, and heightened sensitivity to cold temperature. Another side effect of zinc deficiency is alopecia, an autoimmune condition where your hair falls out in huge clumps.
Most people in the United States actually already get enough zinc, by way of eating a lot of meat. A 3-ounce beef patty has about 3 milligrams of zinc, while a 3-ounce serving of dark meat from a chicken has about 2.4 milligrams.
Iodine is considered the thyroid gland’s best friend, as it is the nutrient that is most associated with thyroid health. Fish is an excellent source of this nutrient, as iodine is found mostly in seawater and soil.
Canned tuna is a great option, as a serving consisting of 3 ounces contains about 11% of your daily iodine requirement.
If you’re feeling fancy, bake 3 ounces of cod in the oven. It has a whopping 66% percent of the daily recommended iodine intake.
Shellfish such as shrimp and lobster pack a double-punch of iodine and zinc, making them a great thyroid food. 3 ounces of shrimp has around 20% of your daily recommended intake of iodine, while lobster and crab have 3.4 and 6.5 milligrams of zinc, respectively.
Take again from the bounty of the sea to keep your thyroid happy and healthy. Seaweed comes from the iodine-rich sea, so it’s a perfect thyroid food.
Seaweed is known to be very high in iodine content, so that means you shouldn’t only be subsisting on seaweed salads and sushi. Stick to one seaweed salad a week to reap its thyroid benefits, and stay away from seaweed supplements and teas.
Surprisingly, most of the iodine in an average American diet comes from a common table fare: dairy products. This is because dairy-producing livestock such as goats and cows are fed iodine supplements, and are milked with iodine-based cleaners.
Milk is a great source of iodine, but you better drink up more. Researchers say the American public has been drinking less milk since 1970.
Just a 1-cup serving of low-fat milk is already a third of your daily recommended iodine intake. To make it even more effective, get milk that says it’s been fortified with vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is commonly associated with thyroid disease, as people with underactive thyroid glands were found to be more deficient with vitamin D.
Pro-tip: Can’t seem to squeeze in a glass of milk into your daily routine? Opt for some cheese–we recommend cheddar–instead.
Not everybody can gulp down dairy products daily, like those who have severe lactose intolerance. Yogurt is a great alternative for dairy products like milk, as it is easier to digest, and have probiotic cultures that contribute to your gut flora.
Greek yogurt is a perfect choice to source your iodine intake. It makes up to about 50% of your daily recommended amount!
Probiotic Cultures: Live yeasts and bacteria that are helpful for your digestive system. They are usually present in fermented foods such as pickles, yogurt, kimchi, and cheeses such as gouda, cheddar, mozzarella, and cottage cheese.
Gut Flora: A flourishing community of non-harmful bacteria that live in your digestive tract. They benefit your body by processing dietary fiber into short-chain fatty acids, as well as synthesizing vitamins B and K.
8. Brazil Nuts
Another important nutrient that contributes to thyroid health and regulation is selenium. If you’re wondering where on earth you can find selenium, look no further than Brazil–the home of Brazil nuts.
Brazil nuts are known as the only nut on earth that contains the highest amounts of selenium. A single nut can pack 96 micrograms of selenium, which is double the daily recommended selenium intake, which is 55 micrograms.
Selenium can hold off any long-term thyroid damage, but be careful not to go overboard. An excess of selenium can cause bad breath, hair loss, discoloration in your nails, and even go as far as heart failure!
Remember to just stay under the maximum selenium limit of 400 micrograms a day and you’re good. A good rule of thumb is a small handful of Brazil nuts a week.
If you want a double whammy of selenium and iodine in just one food, go for an egg. One large chicken egg has 20% of selenium and 16% of the iodine requirement for one day. Don’t ditch the yolk–that’s where most of the selenium and iodine is located.
1. Processed Foods
While you may think that increasing your iodine intake simply means partaking in saltier, pre-packaged foods, think again. 75% of an average person’s daily sodium intake comes from processed foods, but not all of that salt is iodized.
In fact, manufacturers aren’t required to use iodized salt, nor are they required to indicate such on their labels. Taking in too much salty, processed food only sets you up for high blood pressure and heart disease, which runs counterproductive to keeping your thyroid health in check.
2. Fast Food
Fast foods are related to processed foods in that not all the salt used in them is iodized. Even if it is, it wouldn’t do you any favors as deep-fried, drive-thru fare will only set you up for long-term diseases.
3. Gluten (For Those Suffering From Celiac Disease)
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by a severe intolerance to gluten. Gluten products include bread, pasta, and anything that contains rye, wheat, and barley.
People who have celiac disease have been shown to have a higher likelihood of having thyroid problems. Sticking to a gluten-free diet controls symptoms of celiac disease, as well as protects the thyroid.
But, if you don’t have celiac disease, you don’t really need to avoid gluten like the plague. Thanks to certain processes in baking, widely consumed, commercial bread can even contain iodine!
Industrial baking facilities have an ingredient called “dough conditioner,” which contains iodine. Many cleaning agents used on processors and equipment the bread pass on are also iodine-based.
For more foods to eat for thyroid health, watch this video from VENTUNO YOGA:
Fad diets are coming in droves, but it helps to take a long, hard look at what keeps your body running, and a healthy thyroid is an oft-ignored factor. Some foods in this list may even be a no-go in some diets–maybe even in the diet that you’re doing now!
Before we take up our diet pitchforks, remember that eating in moderate, healthy amounts is always a good rule of thumb. Check with your doctor if your thyroid gland is in good health, and make the right adjustments as you go along.
Got any favorite recipes that promote thyroid health? Share them with us in the comments section below!