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Foods to avoid for people with hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the body secretes excessive amount of thyroid hormone. This problem is also called as overactive thyroid and it is a major cause of various problems like increased rate of metabolism, heart palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, changes in menstrual cycle, goiter, weight loss, weight gain, troubled appetite, and many more. There are three major forms of hyperthyroidism, namely, graves disease, secondary hyperthyroidism and toxic nodular goiter. When a person is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, he/she is probably prescribed with various iodine supplements, thyroid depressive medications, thyroid hormone replacement therapy and surgery in severe cases. In all cases of hyperthyroidism, the patients need to be very careful about the kind of food that they are consuming. The health care provider and dietitian mostly provide them a well balanced diet plan to speed up the recovery. However, check the following list of foods you should avoid if you have hyperthyroid.

Refined flour
Refined flour and all the food products that are made using refined flour should definitely be avoided by the person who is suffering with hyperthyroidism. Refined flour is difficult to digest and it has extremely low nutritional value. Food products that are made using refined flour are heavy on the digestive system with high glycemic index. As we all know, foods with high glycemic index are harmful for the blood sugar levels and hormones. It is the reason why one should replace the refined flour with whole grain food items. It means, food items like white bread, snacks, cereals and pastas that are made using refined flour need to be replaced by products like wheat bread, whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, barley and other whole grain products. However, do not forget to consult your dietitian before making any major dietary changes in your daily diet.Refined sugar

Similar to refined flour, refined sugar and the products made using it should be cut down. Along with refined sugar, you also need to cut back on the types of sugar like cane sugar, dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, maple syrup and other types of added sugars. Sugar adds up to the calorie count and glycemic index of the food and slows down the pace of the recovery from overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. Another disadvantage of having sweets and sugary foods is that it satiates the hunger faster and leaves no room for other healthy food items like vegetables and fruits that are actually beneficial. It is the reason why one should stay away from various sweets like jams, jellies, candy, pastries, cakes, frozen yogurts, carbonated soft drinks, canned fruit juices, cookies, and all the other foods that contain added sugar and any of its types.

Dairy products

According to various experts, milk is a major cause of concern when it comes to thyroid problems like hyperthyroidism. It is the reason why milk and dairy products are one of the important foods you should avoid if you have hyperthyroidism. Milk and other dairy products most of the times contain traces of various growth hormones and penicillin that put added pressure on the human hormonal system. Another ingredient which is naturally present in milk is a type of protein called as casein. Since human body can also produce a significant amount of casein, the added casein from milk and dairy products make it hard on the digestion system. All in all, experts suggest that one should stay away from milk and other dairy products like cheese, yogurt and buttermilk while suffering with hyperthyroidism. However, you need to consult your health care provider if it’s alright to do so.

Salty food

The connection between salt and thyroid hormones is well known. Foods that are rich in salt are harmful as far as the recovery from hyperthyroidism is concerned. All the fast foods and junk food contain loads of salt and they are also high on glycemic index. As a result, you need to refrain from them, as much as possible. Seafood like shellfish and sea vegetables like kelp are also rich with salt and iodine, that you also need to stay away from. Having said that, salt is a crucial item in one’s daily diet, it plays an important role in building the health and well being of a person. It is the reason why you need to consult with your health care provider as well as the dietitian before you exclude it totally from your diet. Having said that, you need to avoid fast foods like burgers, pizzas, chips, cookies, etc., since they are high on sugar, carbohydrates and fats.

Hydrogenated vegetable oils

Hydrogenated vegetable oils are one of the crucial food items that you need to avoid if you have hyperthyroidism. Hydrogenation of vegetable oils increase their physical characteristics and makes them heavier to digest. Hydrogenated vegetable oils are mainly used for increasing color, texture and flavor of various food products. They also improve shelf life of various foods and hence have a commonplace in many canned and commercially prepared foods. Such oils are loaded with trans fats and are pretty harmful for the hormone and cholesterol levels of the body. As a result of all this, you need to steer clear of the food products like cookies, crackers, onion rings, potato chips, margarine, shortening, pie crusts, doughnuts and other packaged food products that might contain hydrogenated vegetable oils.


Vegetables are normally considered as one of the healthiest food sources. However, there are a few vegetables that are strict no-no when it comes to choosing the best foods for the people who are suffering with hyperthyroidism. Some of the vegetables that should be avoided, include vegetables from the cabbage family, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels’s sprouts, turnips, mustard greens, kale, etc. Apart from the aforementioned vegetables, soybeans, cassava root, millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc. should also be avoided from the diet. All these vegetables contain goitrogenous chemicals that restrict body from using available storage of iodine in the body. Also consult the health care provider before consuming fruits like peaches, pears and other fruits that are high on glycemic index.

Nuts and fruits

Various types of nuts like peanuts, cashews, pine nuts, pecan nuts, Brazilian nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, etc. also need to be avoided upon consultation with the health care provider. All these types of nuts and several types of fruits like dates, strawberries, mango, apples, apricots, pineapple, etc. should be reduced from the diet of the patients suffering from hyperthyroidism. All these aforementioned foods are called as hyperthyroidal foods as they increase the secretion of thyroid hormones. Cutting back on these nuts and fruits will definitely stop overproduction of this hormone to a certain extent.


Similar to various fruits, there are a few chemicals that boost the production of thyroid hormone. As a result these chemicals are included in the things to avoid for the people with hyperthyroidism. These chemicals include fluoride which is mostly found in the toothpaste and chlorine which is found in the tap water. According to the scientists, fluoride and chlorine are chemically related with iodine and block the iodine reactors in the body. This can be one of the root causes for may patients who develop hyperthyroidism. The most basic thing to do about avoiding the usage of products that may contain fluoride and chlorine, you can always consult the health care provider.


All the foods you should avoid if you have hyperthyroidism, are mentioned here and are the common foods that cause problem with the recovery process of this disease. Apart from all these foods, there are various other foods that various individual patients are allergic to. Such allergens may boost hyperthyroidism and also slow down the recovery process of this disease. As a result, you need to get a proper allergen test carried out to get to know about such allergies and foods that you should avoid for the betterment from this disease. A proper test will reveal whether the person is allergic to foods like nuts, dairy products, peanut butter, seafood, shellfish, etc. and so that they can be avoided.

Red meat

Red meat should also be restricted from the daily diet of the people with hyperthyroidism. Red meat is loaded with saturated fats that are harmful for hormonal system of the body. If a person is suffering with hyperthyroidism along with certain other diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure levels, then he/she will not show quick recovery from hyperthyroidism. Hence, you need to reduce red meat from the diet and replace it with lean meat sources like clod water fish like salmon, halibut, trout, tuna, etc. You also need to avoid meat recipes that are prepared using cooking methods that might increase their calorie count.

Other products

Beside all the foods mentioned in the above list there are a few more foods that you should stay away from, when it comes to hyperthyroidism. These products include alcohol, tobacco and products made using it, caffeine, coffee, soft drinks, carbonated drinks, sodas, MSGs (mono sodium glutamate), antibiotics, food additives, hard cheese types, aspartame and other such types of artificial sweeteners, etc. should be strictly avoided. All the foods that are mentioned above have suitable and healthier replacement options that can be used during the recovery process of hyperthyroidism.

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