A hyperthyroid diet supplies ample nutrients and reduce some symptoms that interfere with proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
According to university of Maryland Medical Center a hyperthyroid diet should consist of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, protein rich foods, healthy fats and foods containing goitrogens.
1 :: Naturally occurring goitrogens
Goitrogens are the compounds present in certain vegetables (cruciferous vegetables), certain legumes and some medications and are considered as anti-thyroid substance.
Following foods are known to possesses goitrogens
- Roots of cassava.
- Brussel sprouts.
- Water cress.
- Bok choy.
- Sweet potato.
2 :: Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 plays a major role in the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are the lipid compounds that help to control inflammation in the body.
Any deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with hormonal imbalance and inflammation. Severe hormonal imbalance and inflammation can trigger symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
It is beneficial to enrich your diet with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid
- Fatty fishes (salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies).
- Cod liver oil.
3 :: Turmeric
Curcumin; the bioactive agent in turmeric, is responsible for suppressing symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Curcumin regulates enzymes linked with inflammation, cytokines and tumor necrosis factor (factors associated with increased inflammation).
In hyperthyroidism (in particular Graves’ disease) there is an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduction in the regulatory T cells (which maintains healthy immune system).
Numerous studies have shown that turmeric can help to reduce inflammatory cytokines and increase regulatory T-cells.
4 :: Berries
Different types of berries have different phytonutrients and the pnenolic compounds. All berries possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Numerous studies have shown that all berries can potentially modulate inflammatory cytokines involved in development of autoimmune diseases such as Graves’ disease.
Remember, all berries are high in oxalates (can lead to kidney stones), so be cautious about eating too many of them. You can choose from
5 :: Kale
Rich in antioxidants, goitrogens and calcium, kale is considered a power food for patients with hyperthyroidism. It is also known for its antiproliferative and cardioprotective effects.
Cooking can inhibit its goitrogenic property, so feel free to eat a few servings of raw kale every day. Hyperthyroidism is linked with a high incidence of osteoporosis and kale exhibits excellent absorbability of its calcium content.
6 :: Organ meats
One major problem with hyperthyroid patients is that patient tends to loose a large amount of weight (due to accelerated metabolism). Eating nutrient rich organ meat can check sudden weight loss; fatigue and can improve blood sugar and mood.
In addition, meats of heart, kidney and liver in particular are rich in coenzyme Q 10 (an antioxidant), which is generally low in people with hyperthyroidism.
7 :: Soy products
The major bioactive substance present in soy is an isoflavone genistein, which possesses anti-thyroid effects.
- It has estrogenic (interferes with body’s ability to use thyroid hormones) and goitrogenic properties.
- It inhibits activity of thyroid peroxidase (enzyme required for synthesis of thyroid hormones)
- Controls secretion of thyroid hormones
8 :: Bugleweed
According to a study conducted by the department of pharmacology and toxicology at university of Munster in Germany, bugleweed can reduce heart rate, palpitations and excessive perspiration in patients with mild hyperthyroidism. University of Maryland medical center recommends consuming 1-2g/day of bugleweed for proper thyroid functioning.
Note: Don’t use bugleweed if you are pregnant or nursing or taking anti-diabetic medications
9 :: Lemon balm
Lemon balm or calming herb can help ameliorate stress, anxiety and tremors associated with hyperthyroidism.
Also, lemon balm tea can bring mildly elevated thyroid hormones back to normal values by blocking hormone receptors and can regulate overall functioning of thyroid gland.
You can choose from lemon balm tea, capsules or tincture for treating hyperthyroidism. A dosage of 400 to 500mg for three times in a day may be effective to improve your thyroid health, as suggested by university of Maryland medical center.
10 :: Motherwort
Although Motherwort may not directly act on thyroid gland; it can ameliorate some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism like heart palpitations, anxiety, stress, insomnia and accelerated heart rate.
According to University of Maryland Medical Center, consuming 2 g of motherwort in 1 cup of boiling water can be beneficial for optimal thyroid functioning.
Gromwell: Purple gromwell by keeping the autoantibodies under check, can prevent occurrence of Graves’ disease.
11 :: Passionflower
Passionflower can alleviate many symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism such as anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, hand tremors, confusion and irritability.
You can utilize passionflower tea mixed with lemon balm to relive symptoms associated with overactive thyroid.
12 :: Valerian root
Famous for its muscle relaxant and sleep-aiding properties, valerian root can increase the level of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) – inhibitory neurotransmitter.
13 :: Hawthorn
Hawthorn has been used for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases from quite a long time. It possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Also, it can cure accelerated heart rate and other cardiovascular symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism.
14 :: Green tea
At high doses, green tea consumption can decrease level of both thyroid hormones and increase TSH levels.
Catechins, the flavonoids present in green tea can decrease activity of thyroid peroxidase and 5’-deiodinase I enzymes (Food and chemical toxicology 2010)
15 :: Millets
Studies have shown that millet diets containing C-glycosylflavones as a chief bioactive chemical can produce effects that resemble anti-thyroid medications such as methimazole.
Millets produces anti-thyroid effects by inhibiting action of thyroid peroxidase
16 :: Eggs
Eggs are the main source of proteins, riboflavin, vitamin b12, good fats and selenium. As a result, eggs are considered as a chief nutrient source for patients with hyperthyroidism.
However, avoid egg yolk and foods containing egg yolks as it contains highest amount of arachidonic acid (70mg/yolk) – known to cause inflammation in people with autoimmune diseases.
17 :: Dairy
Untreated hyperthyroidism can remove calcium from your blood and excretes it through urine. This is generally compensated by removal of calcium from your bones which if not checked, can lead to osteoporosis.
You can have a plain yogurt everyday to fulfill your protein and calcium requirement. Include a moderate amount of cheese in your diet if you are loosing weight.
Drinking too much milk is not recommended as milk contains considerable amount of iodine. Also a lot of people with Graves’ disease have lactose intolerance. Most of the people with lactose intolerance do well with soy milk, almond milk, yogurt and cheese
18 :: Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are another nutrient dense food beneficial for hyperthyroid patients. Nuts are excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids.
Nuts are packed with proteins, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and selenium. Clinical studies suggest that nuts are capable of reducing oxidative stress and inflammation
Seeds are excellent source of proteins, amino acid tryptophan and glutamate. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin in the body. Low level of serotonin is associated with depression and other mood disorders.
Glutamate helps in synthesis of GABA, which is an anti-stress neurotransmitter that helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
Lectins and phytic acid present in the nuts and seeds can exacerbate existing autoimmune disease such as grave’s disease. However, cooking, fermenting and soaking beans, nuts and seeds can reduce the amount of lectins in these foods and make them easy to digest.
19 :: Vitamin D
Our bones are in continual state of turnover, as new bone replaces old bone at regular interval. But, hyperthyroidism if left untreated can increase bone turnover so that bone breakdown outpaces deposition of new bone.
It does so impairing vitamin D metabolism. Vitamin D is an integral component required for the absorption of calcium. So it’s advisable to enrich your diet with foods rich in vitamin D such as:
- Vitamin D fortified milk
- Fortified juice
- Beef liver
- Fatty fish like salmon
20 :: Zinc
Zinc is yet another mineral to be added to a hyperthyroid diet, as the disease depletes zinc.
Good sources of zinc are
- Whole grains
21 :: Niacin
Niacin or vitamin B3 can disrupt thyroid hormones as they interfere with the synthesis of thyroid hormones. You can up your niacin requirement by consuming foods like eggs, yeast, meat, milk and fish or by taking niacin supplements (preferably 1,200-1,500mg/day)
22 :: Vitamin E
Although iodine is required in synthesis of thyroid hormones, excess amounts of iodine can be dangerous and can lead to overproduction of thyroid hormones.
According to study published in journal of endocrinology 2011, vitamin E supplementation can reduce iodine-induced thyroid toxicity and overproduction of thyroid hormones.
- Green leafy vegetables
- Wheat germ oil
- Kiwi fruit
23 :: Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry or Amla is the powerhouse of vitamin C and can control overproduction of T3 and T4 hormones.
One of the causes of hyperthyroidism is oxidative stress or accumulation of a lot of free radicals. Vitamin C rich foods like gooseberry can effectively combat free radicals and reverse symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
You can combine two to three mashed goose berries without seeds with a teaspoon of honey. Consume this mixture for two times in a day for the desired benefits.
Not an amla fan? You can opt from many of vitamin C rich foods like:
- Kiwi, Guava, Citrus fruits, Lemon and Broccoli.
24 :: Other B complex vitamins
Hyperthyroidism diet should consist of food that provide optimum nutrients required to cope with stress and food that provide nutrients that this disease depletes.
Of these, all B-complex vitamins are very important as due to accelerated metabolism our body depletes a large amount of these vitamins.
B-complex vitamins are essential to build strong immune system and it also stabilizes digestive system, which often goes off-track owing to increased metabolism in hyperthyroidism
25 :: Cinnamon
Hyperthyroidism can also be caused by thyroiditis (inflammation of thyroid gland). Cinnamon extracts can combat inflammation by inducing the expression of tristetrapolin mRNA levels in areas of pro-inflammatory cytokine, according to a report in journal of diabetes science and technology in 2010.
26 :: Skullcap
In addition to lemon balm, Medical technologist Elaine Moore suggests using skullcap tea or tincture for ameliorating symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Skull cap, a member of mint family has been used to combat hyperthyroidism symptoms like stress, anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations and tremors.
27 :: Oats
Oats may benefit hyperthyroidism patients as it can cure the weakness and fatigue caused due to excess secretion of thyroid hormones.
These excess hormones can boost metabolic process and stimulates sympathetic nervous system, which can in turn, increase stress levels and leads to fatigue in the body.
Oats makes an excellent nerve tonic that is beneficial in nervous debility. 1-2 servings per day of oats can help you fight off with some of debilitating symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
28 :: Apple cider vinegar
Needless to say, apple cider vinegar has been used from ages for its antioxidant properties. It has shown to regulate acid-base balance and prevents weight loss, which is commonly seen in hyperthyroidism
29 :: Ginger
Loaded with potassium, magnesium and zinc, ginger is a perfect addition to the hyperthyroid diet. Because of its anti-inflammatory property it is an important ingredient required for improving thyroid functioning.
Please Note: Once again, this doesn’t mean that simply supplementing your diet with above mentioned food items will cure your condition. However, following these home remedies might help to manage the symptoms better.