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 the 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.
1. 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 from hyperthyroidism. This 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 a high glycemic index. As we all know, foods with a high glycemic index are harmful to the blood sugar levels and hormones. It is the reason why one should replace refined flour with whole grain food items. It means, food items like white bread, snacks, cereals, and pasta 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.
2. 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 sweet 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. Replace sugary foods with healthy no added sugar snacks.
3. 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 the 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 from hyperthyroidism. However, you need to consult your health care provider if it’s alright to do so.
4. 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 the 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.
5. 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 the 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 to 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 a strict no-no when it comes to choosing the best foods for the people who are suffering from hyperthyroidism. Some of the vegetables that should be avoided include vegetables from the cabbage family, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels 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 goitrogens chemicals that restrict the body from using available storage of iodine in the body. Consult the health care provider before consuming fruits high on the glycemic index. These include peaches, pears, etc.
7. Nuts and fruits
Avoid various types of nuts like peanuts, cashews, pine nuts, pecan nuts, Brazilian nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, etc. Consume only after consultation with the health care provider. Reduce several types of fruits like dates, strawberries, mango, apples, apricots, pineapple, etc. from the diet. All these foods present in this list are 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 present 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 to 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. If you are still unsure, you can always consult the health care provider.
Here is a list of all the foods you should avoid if you have hyperthyroidism. These are common foods that cause a 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 to get to know about such allergies. You should also avoid such foods for the betterment from this disease. A proper test will reveal if you are allergic to foods like nuts, dairy products, peanut butter, seafood, shellfish, etc. This will help you decide if you should avoid them.
10. Red meat – avoid this food if you suffer from hyperthyroidism
Red meat should not be a part of the daily diet of the people with hyperthyroidism. It contains a huge quantity of saturated fats that are harmful to the hormonal system of the body. If a person is suffering from hyperthyroidism along with certain other diseases will not show quick recovery from hyperthyroidism. These include type II diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure levels. Hence, you need to reduce red meat from the diet. You can also replace it with lean meat sources like cold water fish like salmon, halibut, trout, tuna, etc. You also need to avoid meat recipes that require cooking methods that might increase their calorie count.
Other precautions you should take with hyperthyroidism
Besides 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. The list continues with caffeine, coffee, soft drinks, carbonated drinks, sodas and MSGs (monosodium glutamate). Apart from that, antibiotics, food additives, hard cheese types, aspartame, and artificial sweeteners, etc. should be strictly avoided. All the foods that are harmful to those suffering from hyperthyroidism have suitable and healthier replacement options. You can consume those foods during the recovery process of hyperthyroidism.
1. Reduce iodine intake
Iodine is an essential element required for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland stores the minerals which are required during synthesizing the thyroid hormones. The food that you consume daily has iodine compounds in them. The salt that you use in your food is a rich source of iodine for your body. Potatoes, dairy products like milk, cheese, cranberries, organic yogurt, sea vegetables are all rich sources of iodine in your diet. The daily recommended intake iodine for people over the age of fourteen years is one hundred and fifty micrograms daily. For pregnant women, the intake should be two hundred and ninety micrograms daily. Reducing the consumption of iodized salt and also iodine rich foods is a good preventive measure against hyperthyroidism.
2. Avoid excess hormone medication
Excess thyroid hormone medication can also lead to hyperthyroidism in many individuals. There are many individuals who suffer from hypothyroidism, a condition in which thyroid glands produce less thyroid hormone. They have to take thyroid hormone medication to maintain the balance of thyroid hormone. The hyperthyroidism which occurs due to the medication being too high is known as factitious or doctor induced hyperthyroidism. Many people also take this medicine for losing weight. For such individuals, it is essential to reduce the dose of thyroid hormone medication and this will help prevent hyperthyroidism.
3. Prevent Grave’s disease
One of the major causes of hyperthyroidism in individuals is Grave’s disease. This is an autoimmune disorder which leads to an overactive thyroid gland. An abnormal immune system response causes an individual’s thyroid gland to produce excessive thyroid hormone. Double vision, goiter, menstrual irregularities are all symptoms of the disease. Whenever an individual experiences any such physical problems, he/she should consult a doctor and seek treatment. This will help in preventing hyperthyroidism, which is generally an off shoot of Grave’s disease.
4. Treat thyroid inflammation timely
There are times when your thyroid gland gets inflamed due to some virus infection or due to some unknown reason. This inflamed gland may produce extra thyroid hormone which may leak and get into the bloodstream. This is usually a temporary condition and clears up within six months. However, hyperthyroidism may occur before the individual can even make a recovery. In order to prevent hyperthyroidism, individuals should seek medical attention whenever they encounter an inflamed thyroid gland.
5. Treat toxic nodular goiter in time
In elderly people, often the presence of a toxic nodular goiter may lead to hyperthyroidism. This happens when one or two tumors in the thyroid gland produce excess hormone. This excess production leads to hyperthyroidism in the individual. To prevent this, an individual should consult the doctor at the earliest when they find any irritation in their thyroid which may be caused due to the tumors present there.
6. Operate the tumor on time
Tumors in the testes of men or in the ovaries of women may lead to hyperthyroidism in many individuals. Tumors in testes and ovaries often go unnoticed unless they have become big or are causing health problems in some way or the other. The best way to avoid hyperthyroidism resulting from this kind of tumor is to consult a doctor and remove the tumors at the earliest. This will help you get rid of the unwanted tumor and also help in preventing thyroid problems arising from it.
7. Treat silent thyroiditis in time
Silent thyroiditis is another cause for hyperthyroidism. In this disease there is a swelling of the thyroid gland. People suffering from this thyroid problem alternates between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. However, after some time, the individuals are more prone to get affected with hyperthyroidism. Weight loss, irregular menstrual cycle, muscle cramps are the various symptoms of this disease. People suffering from these symptoms should immediately consult a doctor and beta blockers can be prescribed to reduce this condition. Treating silent thyroiditis on time is a good preventive measure to curb the ill effects of hyperthyroidism.
8. Stop smoking
Cigarettes contain various toxins. Thiocyanate in cigarette is one of the most harmful toxins for your thyroid gland and can cause hyperthyroidism. Cigarette smokers are also more prone to getting affected with Grave’s disease (which also leads to hyperthyroidism) and treatment prescribed will also have less effect than on any other individual without this habit. It is, therefore, essential for individuals to curb this habit not only for the overall betterment of their health but also for avoiding diseases like hyperthyroidism. Passive smoking is also considered harmful for the thyroid glands. Individuals should consult their doctors for techniques to stop their smoking habit. There are many de-addiction centers which help individuals get rid of this habit by suggesting steps and measures like chewing gums, or doing yoga to help them focus their attention on something other than smoking.
9. Treat celiac disease on time
Individuals suffering from celiac disease experience a problem in which their intestines react in an abnormal manner to gluten, a protein compound found in wheat, rye, oats and other grains. Individuals should get themselves treated as early as possible to prevent getting affected by hyperthyroidism. Celiac disease can have an effect on the thyroid glands and hence cause hyperthyroidism.