Everything You Need to Know About Hashimoto’s Diet

Updated on March 18th, 2020
hashimoto's diet

Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism(1) in the US alone and affects nearly 5% of the total population. Hashimoto’s disease is a form of autoimmune disorder, wherein the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, thereby damaging it and rendering the gland underactive, and reducing the production of thyroid.

With the disruption of thyroid production, the following can be affected:

  • Body’s metabolism
  • Temperature regulation capacity
  • Blood pressure
  • Muscle strength
  • Heart function and cholesterol levels
  • Central nervous system
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Weight

Following a Hashimoto’s thyroiditis diet can help control the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease, which includes:

  • Goitre formation
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Depression

These symptoms may not show up at once but will get more pronounced with time. In this article, we will discuss Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism diet, which can help in controlling the condition.

Benefits

While the condition may seem intimidating, Hashimoto’s diet paired with the right dosage of levothyroxine can keep it under control. Levothyroxine, a prescription drug that mimics the body’s naturally produced thyroxine, forms the primary defence against hypothyroidism.

The dosage and timing of levothyroxine vary for different individuals on the basis of their condition and its severity. Avoid eating any food item within 1-2 hours of having this medicine as it may interfere with the absorption of the medicine.

Along with the medication, you must follow the Hashimoto’s disease diet that contains iodine, selenium, and zinc, which aid the functioning of the thyroid. Let’s have a closer look at these nutrients:

Important Nutrients in Hashimoto Diet

1. Iodine

Iodine benefits
Image:ShutterStock

The lack of iodine(2) could lead to goitre formation. Goitre refers to the abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. Normally, this mineral is found abundantly in food items like salt and bread. However, excessive intake of iodine could also affect your thyroid adversely. Hence, it is crucial to maintain optimum balance.

2. Selenium

The thyroid gland contains the largest concentration of selenium in the body. Studies have discovered that selenium supplementation can be an effective way to treat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis(3). Another study discovered that selenium consumption can decrease the number of antibodies that attack the thyroid.

[ Read: Foods High in Selenium ]

3. Zinc

Zinc is a vital mineral required for the synthesis of the thyroid hormone. A study conducted in 2009 pointed out that zinc supplementation helps in boosting the thyroid hormone levels in the body.

Hashimoto’s Diet

Some of the best diets for Hashimoto’s disease are mentioned below:

1. Paleo

The Paleo diet aims at following a diet that is similar to that of our early ancestors. Hence, the primary focus of the diet lies on whole and unprocessed foods. In this diet, one needs to avoid dairy, potatoes, grains, lentils and beans, refined oils, and refined sugar. Grass-fed and cage-free meats are preferred. Nuts (except peanuts), vegetables, seafood, seeds, and healthy fats are preferred.

On the other hand, the autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet attempts to cut down any inflammation-causing foods that may cause damage to the gut. Hence, it excludes nightshade vegetables like eggplants and tomatoes along with nuts, seeds, and eggs.

[ Read: Benefits of the Paleo Diet ]

2. Gluten-free

Gluten-free
Image:ShutterStock

Since Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder, one can follow the Hashimoto diet’s gluten-free version(4) to keep a check on the food allergies caused by gluten. Typically, this diet is ideal for those suffering from other conditions like Celiac disease.

In a survey(5), it came to light that nearly 76% of participants are sensitive to gluten. Out of the respondents, 88% of those who followed a gluten-free diet registered an improvement in conditions like constipation, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, reflux, gas, etc. Gluten is usually found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It is a common compound found in bread, pasta, baked goods, soups, cereals, and beer.

In a gluten-free diet, one needs to switch to fresh vegetables, whole fruits, lean meats, beans and legumes, eggs, seafood, and nuts. However, it is important to include selenium-rich grains.

[ Read: Treat Thyroid Naturally ]

3. Ketogenic Diet

While the keto diet may be considered the best diet to lose weight for Hashimoto’s disease, one needs to understand that the ketogenic diet and Hashimoto’s diet are different. The keto diet can impact the liver’s ability to synthesize T3 out of T4. Further, the keto diet can cause inflammation in the long run. Thus, one needs to adapt the ketogenic diet to make it thyroid-friendly.

Here are a few modifications that you can make to the regular ketogenic diet:

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  • Maintain an alkaline pH to counter inflammation
  • Manage stress effectively
  • Consume adrenal adaptogens
  • Cut out inflammatory foods
  • Reduce environmental toxins present in foods

Hashimoto Diet: Meal Plan

Here’s a balanced meal plan for Hashimoto’s diet:

Best Foods for Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism Diet

Include the following food items in your diet:

  • Seafood, seaweed, and sea vegetables: supplies iodine, selenium, vitamin D, etc.
  • Animal protein like beef, chicken, etc.: supplies selenium, zinc, iron, and tyrosine
  • Green leafy vegetables: supplies fibre, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B9
  • Fatty fish: supplies omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, iodine, and selenium.
  • Avocado: supplies Vitamin B, K, Iron, Zinc, and folate
  • Fruits and Vegetables: supply fibres, vitamins, minerals, iron, and phosphorus.
  • Bone Broth Soup

Focus primarily on fresh fruits and vegetables, high-fibre carbohydrates, probiotics, lean proteins, collagen, and healthy fats.

Worst Foods for The Diet

Avoid the following foods in your diet:

  • Gluten: present in wheat, barley, and rye.
  • Goitrogens: present in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. (although, they can be consumed in moderation and must be cooked)
  • Canola oil
  • Soy and soy products
  • Foods rich in Omega-6 fatty acids

Different individuals have different nutritional requirements. Based on your macros and food intake, you may customize your Hashimoto’s diet plan accordingly. It is recommended to visit your physician if you are pregnant or lactating for a personalized Hashimoto’s pregnancy diet that is best suited for your condition.

[ Read: Foods for Thyroid ]


FAQs

1. Are eggs good for Hashimoto’s?

Eggs are packed with iodine and selenium while being a good source of lean proteins. Hence, they are considered suitable for Hashimoto’s diet.

2. What foods are good for Hashimoto’s?

Consume foods with the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin D: cod liver oil, salmon, fortified milk, mushrooms, etc.
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, liver, oysters, etc.
  • Iodine: seafood, table salt, dairy products, prunes, etc.
  • Zinc: Shellfish, legumes, chicken, beef, etc.

3. What triggers Hashimoto’s?

Since Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease, it can be caused due to the following:

  • Genetic constitution
  • Hormones
  • Excessive iodine intake
  • Exposure to radiation
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