Hypothyroidism is a disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce enough thyroid hormones, causing the metabolism to slow down. The most common type of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or autoimmune thyroiditis, where the thyroid gland becomes inflamed as a result of a malfunctioning immune system.
SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include: weakness, fatigue, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, dry hair, hair loss, brittle hair and fingernails, pale, dry and rough skin, irregular periods, intolerance to the cold, constipation, high cholesterol, muscle cramps and muscular pain, memory loss, depression, irritability and decreased libido.
A SPECIAL DIET FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM
It’s important to have a healthy lifestyle which includes a nutritious diet and regular physical activity, as well as stress-management techniques and thyroid hormone medications prescribed by a qualified doctor. Since there is no food or plan that can cure or prevent the disease, the weight gain effects can be compensated by consuming low calorie, nutrient-dense foods with a high vitamin and mineral content, in order to boost immune response and prevent other diseases.
A healthy diet is ideal for hypothyroidism. Your diet should include foods such as fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates, for example whole grains, pasta, potatoes, corn and legumes, as well as proteins and healthy fats in moderation.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the brain and for maintaining a healthy thyroid. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the inflammation that causes an underactive thyroid. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include flax, salmon and oil fish oils, such as tuna, cod and mackerel, and also nuts, although in smaller quantities.
If you are being prescribed anticoagulant medications, talk to your doctor before increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, because it could cause excessive bleeding.
B complex vitamins help the thyroid gland to produce energy, particularly B12, which is recommended for anemia and low thyroid function. Foods high in B12 include mussels, organ meats, meat, eggs, milk, fortified cereals, seaweed and brewer’s yeast. Vitamin B9 is another important B vitamin for thyroid function and it can be found in legumes, avocado, oranges, cabbage, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, wheat germ, and in milk in small amounts.
FOODS THAT MAY BE DETRIMENTAL
The goitrogens are substances which interfere with thyroid function, because they are similar to human hormones like estrogen and the body reacts to them in a similar way. Various foods contain these substances, and are worth avoiding if you have hypothyroidism. Cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens, and include cabbage, brocolli, Brussels sprouts, and soya and its derivatives may negatively affect the thyroid.