Randy Brittell, Contributor
A note from the author on how to eat to nourish your thyroid.
Diagnosing thyroid problems is not as simple as diagnosing diabetes with a
blood test. With thyroid issues, you need to go by symptoms that the patient is
suffering from, and most of the time it is your thyroid causing the symptoms.
A 2006 article in The Diet Channel, writes that 10% of men and 20% of women
suffer from some type of thyroid problem. I personally feel those numbers are
too low. As for men, they don’t complain much about their physical problems,
so they aren’t seeking medical advice for their possible thyroid problems. Most
doctors will blame what a woman suffers with, on other health conditions of
A book published by Thunder Bay Press, entitled, Alternative Healthcare, has this
to say about the thyroid and nutrition, saying,
“Nutritional deficiencies and a toxic overload are thought to be the main factors
involved in the onset of hypothyroidism.”
Some examples of these deficiencies are magnesium, zinc, vitamin A, selenium
The World Health Organization states that vitamin-A is one of the main causes of
malnutrition, which is not eating the foods or enough of them that contain this
vitamin. Magnesium, an important mineral, is also lacking in the American diet.
Zinc is needed to help vitamin-C not only ward off colds, but also help keep your
How the Thyroid Functions
Most of us with thyroid problems have a brief if not an extensive understanding of
how the butterfly-shaped gland works. But for the readers who may not have this
understanding, they would benefit to know how the thyroid works and also
understand how food can nourish the thyroid in a beneficial way or even have a
negative effect on it. The thyroid makes hormones that control the metabolism in
your body. These hormones are called T3 and T4, and both regulate the rate your
body uses energy and oxygen, which are the two components of a healthy
functioning metabolism. To produce these hormones, the body uses about 80%
of the iodine you get from the foods you consume. Examples of the food sources
with iodine are cranberries, potatoes, yogurt, navy beans, and strawberries, just
to name a few. If your diet is deficient in iodine, this could cause the gland to
become underactive, known as hypothyroidism.
Maybe you are eating the prior foods just stated and even other sources containing
iodine, but do you notice yourself suffering with weight gain, slower heart rate,
and an increased sensitivity to cold, including fatigue, weakness of the immune
system, and possibly even mental states such as anxiety and depression? If so,
it is possible you are eating the foods that are suppressing the function of the
thyroid or causing it to be underactive. This is why it is important to know the
functioning condition of your thyroid. (Full Thyroid Panel)
What to Avoid
Let’s say at this point you don’t know if you have a dysfunctional thyroid. There are
two types, one already stated, hypothyroidism (underactive), and the other is
hyperthyroidism (overactive). The later condition would have symptoms opposite of
hypothyroidism. When the thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism) the body’s
processes speed up and you may experience nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat,
excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems.
cruciferous vegetables like cabbage bok choy,
brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale,
collard, mustard, spinach and turnip greens,
you can further suppress thyroid hormone
function. These vegetables are referred to as
“goitrogenic” foods, which mean they impair
the function of the thyroid or suppress it. It has also been reported
that soybeans, peaches and pears can also further suppress an
underactive thyroid. Cooking these fruits and vegetables may help lessen their
impact on thyroid function, as cooking them can break down the chemical
compounds that make it harder for the thyroid to make the hormones that the
body needs. But, the opposite is true if you have an overactive thyroid. Two
servings a week of cruciferous vegetables can help to reduce the extra
hormones the thyroid is producing.
Soy contains large amounts of goitrogens, and those who suffer from a
hypothyroid condition should avoid any packaged food product that contains
soy in any form. If you are taking thyroid replacement medication, soy can
interfere with the absorption of the thyroid hormone.
Dairy foods are high in calcium, and can also interfere with the absorption
of thyroid hormones. Taking calcium or iron supplements within a few
hours of taking thyroid medication can hinder absorption.
Foods That Nourish Your Thyroid
The following are foods that can nourish your thyroid depending if you have a
hypothyroidism (underactive) or hyperthyroidism (overactive) condition.
1. All leafy greens
2. Beet tops
5. Sweet Bell peppers (all colors)
3. Black cohosh
4. Ginko Biloba
8. Primrose oil
It is also recommended to avoid all processed and refined foods, all
stimulants, including coffee and nicotine. Also avoid the chemicals,
antihistamines and chlorine. That would mean avoid drinking your faucet
or tap water. Bottled water is better. I recommend either Fiji or Essentia
bottled water. Also avoid Fluoride, excessive iodine, soft drinks, and
sulfa drugs. Also, replace your table salt with Himalayan salt (contains
all necessary minerals essential to human health). Last but not least,
a deficiency of essential fatty acids, like omega-3, can cause
imbalances in how your thyroid functions.
About the Author
Randall Brittell, is a writer and contributor to Thyroid Nation
and his own blogs. He suffers from a dysfunctional thyroid and
has for years until he was able to find the right doctor. He had
constipation, dry skin, emotional problems, acne, sensitivity to
both cold and hot, and a low basil temperature, just to name a
few thyroid problems. His blood work indicated he was fine.
like so many other sufferers. Born in Arizona, he grew up in
Southern California. Later, he moved to Mexico for 5 years,
where he met his wife and where his first son was born. After one year of
marriage, he moved to Idaho where his second son was born. The two boys
are now 22 and 18 years old. He has a certificate in Human Health – Diet and
Nutrition and Healthy Living, and a Diploma in Health Studies. Follow him at
his website, HealthNewsLibrary.com and at his blog,
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
Questions or anything to ask Randy about thyroid and nutrition? We want your thoughts in the comments section–Please!