Foods to Eat for Hypothyroidism

by Allison Bush Editor


Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts are all high in selenium, which is necessary to convert the thyroid hormone T4 to T3. Don't overdo it, though, because these nuts are high in fat and a little selenium will go a long way.

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Fruits like prunes, dates, and cranberries are great sources of iodine, which is essential to the production of the two thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. A half a cup of cranberries contains 400 mcg of iodine and you can buy them fresh or frozen and add them to smoothies.

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Herbs like ginger, tumeric, cinnamon, and cilantro are good, warming herbs that will help rev up your metabolism, which is important for people with low thyroid function.

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Meat and fish

Protein from meat and fish serves as an important building block for hormones. When choosing meat, try to eat organic, free range white meat like chicken and turkey, and for fish, try to eat wild caught. Be sure to stay away from processed and smoked meats and fish that are traditionally high in mercury.

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Probiotics are important in keeping your gut bacteria at healthy levels. Normal levels of bacteria, or flora, in the gut protect against invaders, undigested food, toxins, and parasites. When the good and bad bacteria in the gut get out of whack, you may experience fluctuations in your thyroid activity and your immune system. Good sources of probiotics include sauerkraut, kefir, and komucha tea.

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A main nutrient in seaweed is iodine. Some cases of hypothyroidism may come about due to iodine deficiency, so it’s important to ask your doctor to evaluate if you are getting enough iodine in your diet. Most western countries get enough intake from table salt, but a full evaluation of your diet is a smart choice.

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Complex carbs

Complex carbs like whole grain bread or brown rice is a great staple to add to your diet for your overall health, but it is also helpful in managing thyroid problems. Complex carbs aid digestion and can help improve and balance thyroid hormone levels.

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Certain vegetables like squash or peas may help boost thyroid function by providing essential nutrients such as iodine or zinc.

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Healthy fats

Healthy fats found in plant oils and certain seeds can help promote and protect thyroid gland function. Olive oil and sunflower seeds are good options to add to your diet.

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Vitamin D

Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with the severity of hypothyroidism. To ease symptoms of hypothyroidism, increase your intake of vitamin D, through supplements after speaking with your doctor or through natural sources like milk or fatty fish like salmon.

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Increased selenium intake has shown promising results in the synthesis of thyroid hormones, according to recent studies. Good source of selenium are brazil nuts and various fish like tuna, yellowfin, or halibut.

Allison Bush
Meet Our Writer
Allison Bush

Allison Bush is a former HealthCentral editor who covered a wide range of health topics.