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The thyroid hormone maintains the metabolism of the body. It also regulates the heart and the digestive function, muscle control, brain development and bone maintenance. It is a gland located below the Adam’s apple in the front of the neck. The over or under secretion of the hormone results in Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism respectively. In order to prevent that, requisite balanced intake of iodine is necessary in the diet.
Hypothyroidism, or under-active thyroid, affects 1 to 2% of the world’s population and is ten times more likely to affect women than men.
Foods for Hypothyroidism (Low Thyroid):
- Iodine-rich foods like iodized salt, dairy products, fish, seaweeds and eggs. Iodine supplements, as far as possible, should be avoided as there is a possibility that it might be taken in excess.
- Selenium-rich foods like Brazilian nuts, tuna, sardines, eggs, legumes and spinach.
- Zinc-rich food like chicken or beef, mushrooms, oysters and other shellfish.
- Rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds and flaxseeds.
- Foods rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin C like tomatoes, lemon, kiwi, gooseberries, cherries, bell pepper, etc.
Foods to be Avoided For Hypothyroidism (Low Thyroid):
- Anything with gluten in it should be avoided. It is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
- Goitrogenous foods like tofu, cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, peaches, strawberries, millet, pine nuts, peanuts etc should also be avoided.
- Highly processed foods like cakes, burgers, cookies, hot dogs etc.
- Tea, coffee, alcohol and such beverages.
- Red meat.
- Excess butter, whole milk or heavy cream.
Foods for Hyperthyroidism (High Thyroid):
- Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, kale and broccoli. At least one serving of these is recommended per day.
- Protein-rich foods like chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, beans, lentils and nuts.
- Dairy products like yogurt, milk, cream, butter and cheese. At least 3 servings of dairy products are recommended per day. For those who are allergic to lactose, soy milk, bread, fortified orange juice can be used as a substitute.
- Foods rich with Omega-3 fatty acids like fish, flaxseeds, nuts and olive oil.
- Anti-inflammatory herbs like basil, rosemary and oregano.
- Ginger. Time-tested and grandma recommended. Also a useful remedy for cough and cold.
Foods to be Avoided in Hyperthyroidism (High Thyroid):
- Caffeine and alcohol
- Foods containing hydrogenated vegetable oil like wafers and crisps, donuts and other packaged products.
- White flour, breakfast cereal and sugary foods.
- Foods high in iodine like eggs, iodized salt, fish, seaweed, kelp and processed foods.
- Artificial flavourings or dyes which come in candies and ready-to-eat food packets.
- Red meat like pork and mutton
- Chocolate, sugarcane – foods with concentrated sugar content.