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Learn About the Perfect Diet for Underactive Thyroid

Are you experiencing fatigue, irritability, weight gain/loss, and hair loss? You are suffering from iodine deficiency, my friend. Also known as hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid is a condition when the butterfly-shaped gland does not produce enough T3 and T4 hormones.

 Looking for the right hypothyroidism diet? Do you think there is anything like the perfect diet for underactive thyroid? First things first, reduce the intake of processed food, highly refined stuff, and sugary intake.

Well, in order to dig deeper into the right diet for hypothyroisim, you have got to understand what an underactive thyroid means for your body's functioning.

Is it normal to have an underactive thyroid?
Well, as its name suggests, an underactive thyroid means that the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is not performing to its optimal best. What does this mean for the rest of the body?

You may be surprised to know that the thyroid gland controls a majority of the body's functions. How?

Well, it produces hormones that spread out to different receptors in the body that control the functions of 


  • metabolism
  • heart 
  • mood
  • temperature
  • sleep
  • digestion


Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is a condition in which thyroid gland does not produce an adequate amount of hormone or the immune system starts attacking the gland. As a result, the pituitary gland responds by producing more Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) so that more hormone is produced out of the thyroid gland. 

TSH causes the thyroid gland to produce triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These two hormones play a role in the body's metabolism and are required for the normal growth of the brain.

Hypothyroidism Diet: What To Eat for an Underactive Thyroid

Taking a proper diet for underactive thyroid is an important step in the treatment for hypothyroidism, which is the enlargement and malfunctioning of the thyroid gland that secretes hormones to regulate metabolism. 

Individuals suffering from low thyroid levels require a strict diet for an underactive thyroid, which would include hormonal supplements.

The thyroid gland is a silent workhorse in your body, which when goes haywire can trigger all sorts of health problems, including
  • sensitivity to cold
  • allergies
  • unexplained weight gain
  • heart-related problems
  • sluggishness
  • depression
  • Feeling unusually chill when everybody else is sweating in the sweltering heat
  • constipation
  • menstrual problems
  • irregular periods
  • feeling dull/lethargic
Some of the unique functions of  thyroid hormone include:
  • controls metabolism, that is, how your body uses food for energy
  • helps in  brain development in children
  • regulates  menstrual cycles in women
  • keeps your body warm
  • helps in weight management
  • helps keep hair and skin healthy

It runs in families and if you have a family history of hypothyroidism, you may be at a risk too.


To check if you have a thyroid problem, you need a blood test for T3, T4, TSH levels.
Generally, someone suffering from hypothyroidism is prescribed hypothyroid medication. It must be taken meticulously early in the morning. You should not consume anything within half an hour of taking the pill.

Hypothryoidism Diet

A diet for underactive thyroid must be rich in iodine, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and cereals, which would help the thyroid function better. A balanced diet with these ingredients acts as a check on the unexpected weight gain and helps in weight loss, and patients suffering from hypothyroidism would need these for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. However, you would do well to regulate your fiber intake, as fiber may affect the absorption of synthetic hormone. 


Should you take Fiber or Not with an Underactive Thyroid
So what does this mean? Well, it does not mean you should stop the intake of fiber; rather, your focus should be on changing the time you take fiber. If you take thyroxine medication in the morning, make sure you take it early enough so that the body has enough time to absorb it before you can go for a fiber-rich diet. 
A protein-rich diet is essential to controlling weight, maintaining hormonal secretion, and managing thyroid level in the body. A perfect diet for underactive thyroid would comprise green leafy vegetables, whole grains, milk, lean meat, egg white, and other fatty acid-rich foods.
  • A balanced diet for underactive thyroid must also include an adequate percentage of vitamins to maintain good hormonal levels. Vitamins can be taken as natural thyroid supplements or through vitamin-rich foods, such as egg yolk, spinach, figs, oranges, papaya, banana, watermelon, and carrots.

What not to eat for hypothyroidism diet

  • There is conflicting evidence that cruciferous vegetables, including kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower , may interfere with the synthesis of thyroid hormone. The idea is not to cut down on their intake if you are on a diet of greens. But you will do well to limit the intake of cruciferous vegetables for hypothyroidism. 
  • Thiocyanates are sulfur-containing compounds that obstruct the absorption of iodine by the thyroid gland. The reason is that these compounds compete with iodine to enter the gland. These also weaken the activity of thyroid peroxidase enzyme essential for inserting iodine into thyroid hormone.  Sweet potato, cassava or tapioca, corn, bamboo shoots, and flax are some of the foods that contain thiocyanates.
  • Processed, sugar foods
  • Alcohol and hypothyroidism do not go well together.

IMPORTANCE OF IODINE

With low thyroid hormonal levels being primarily the result of iodine deficiency, it is essential to make iodine an essential part of your diet. Though iodine deficiency results in hypothyroidism, iodine overdose is also detrimental to health. Thus only adequate quantity of iodine should be taken for a healthy lifestyle. The best way to ensure adequate intake of iodine is to use iodized salt in your daily diet. You can also complement your diet with cod fish and fish oil.


However, avoid overdose of iodine, iron, sugar, and milk in your diet. Do not make junk food and fast food part of your diet, as any other strict dietary regimen would recommend; same is the case with a perfect diet for underactive thyroid. 

Always remember to eat quality food for a healthy thyroid gland as well as for every other organ in the body.  

Wishing you health and happiness always :)

For detailed thyroid explanation: http://articles.mercola.com/thyroid.aspx

Image credit
1. http://www.quick-weight-loss-principles.com/images/Sub-optimal-thyroid-symptoms.jpg
2. http://polination.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/underactive-thyroid-cook-these-foods.jpg
3. http://docakilah.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/thyroid.jpg

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