7 Foods to Avoid if You Have Hypothyroidism

If you have hypothyroidism, it's very important you learn to control your diet. There are some foods that can interfere with the normal secretion of thyroid hormones.
7 Foods to Avoid if You Have Hypothyroidism
Elisa Morales Lupayante

Reviewed and approved by the pedagogue in physical education and nutritionist Elisa Morales Lupayante.

Last update: 16 August, 2022

One of the key ways to control the symptoms of hypothyroidism is to improve your diet. Although you should also follow other medical recommendations, your diet plays a very important role when it comes to regulating your thyroid functions and, thus, there are certain foods to avoid.

In this condition, the hormonal processes that are key for the metabolism aren’t regulated the way they should be. For this reason, those that suffer tend to gain weight, even if they’re following a healthy lifestyle. But, what foods should you avoid?

Generally, professionals should design the nutrition plans for the individuals with this problem. However. in general, there are some foods that you should avoid in order to avoid health complications. Let’s take a look at what they are!

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism, also known as having an underactive thyroid, is a thyroid gland illness that’s characterized by low-hormone secretion. When involved in the metabolism’s functions, cardiovascular health, and other important processes, these trigger negative reactions due to the body’s hormonal imbalance.

This problem is most common among women in their 60s, due to hormonal changes. However, in general, anyone can have this condition, including teenagers.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

A person measuring their weight thinking about the foods to avoid.
Progressive weight gain without apparent cause is an indication of a possible hypothyroid state.

In the initial stage of hypothyroidism, doctors struggle to detect it. But, as it progresses, the following additional symptoms may develop:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Hair loss/weakening
  • Muscular pain and stiffness
  • Inflammation of the limbs
  • Reduction in heart rate
  • Increase in cholesterol in the blood

Additionally, it may also cause concentration difficulties, irritability, and mood disorders (like depression). In addition to irregular menstruation.

Foods to avoid if you have hypothyroidism

The foods that specialists patients with hypothyroidism against are “goitrogens”. After consuming these are foods, they can interfere with the normal thyroid hormone production.

1. Grains containing gluten

Consuming grains with a high gluten content can make it more difficult for the body to absorb medications that replace thyroid hormones.

The immune system sees gluten as an antigen that it must attack. For this reason, in order to prevent thyroid issues and promote good function, it’s a good idea to exclude these types of foods from your diet:

  • Products with a wheat base
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Kamut

In a study published in the journal Elsevier, the relationship between celiac disease and primary hyperthyroidism, whose symptoms were initially considered a consequence of non-compliance with the gluten-free diet, was observed.

2. Foods to avoid: broccoli

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, contain a substance known as “goitrogen”, which causes problems with iodine absorption. Iodine is an essential nutrient for the production of thyroid hormones. As such, it helps the body to absorb the thyroid hormones correctly.

Cooking vegetables casues goitrogens lose their properties. Therefore, if you’re going to eat these vegetables, it’s best to steam them instead.

3. Soy

Soy and all of its derivatives contain isoflavones, a phytoestrogen that alters the function of the thyroid gland, especially in patients with an iodine deficiency. Some foods to avoid are:

  • Soy milk
  • Cheese made from soy
  • Soy sauce
  • Soy-based proteins

4. Foods to avoid: sugar

Patients with hypothyroidism have a constant problem with their levels of glucose and when not careful, they can develop insulin resistance. However, it’s important to remember that the metabolic function is altered, and this can cause obesity and diabetes.

  • Patients should exclude all types of sugar from their diets
  • Experts recommend against sugar substitutes, not even organic sweeteners as these can cause blood sugar levels to increase

5. Vegetable oils

Some oil on a table.
Sunflower oil has many health benefits. In fact, it can serve as a natural supplement for the control of hypothyroidism.

A great variety of vegetable oils can also put you at risk of metabolic problems. Specifically, t heir consumption blocks the thyroid’s hormonal functions and reduces cell activity.

To avoid this, even if you haven’t got a medical diagnosis of a thyroid issue, dietitians recommend you use the following oils:

  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower seed oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil

6. Foods to avoid: rich in iodine

According to the experts at Medical News Todayit’s a good idea to avoid consuming an excessive amount of iodine-rich foods, as they can worsen both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

For example, foods rich in iodine are cheese, milk, ice cream, eggs, seaweed, salt-water fish, and of course, iodized table salt.

7. Processed meats

Due to the fact that they’re rich in nitrites, nitrates, and other substances, red meats are one of the enemies of thyroid health. When you include them in your diet with excessive frequency and without moderation, they can cause hypothyroidism and even generate complications in your metabolism and cardiovascular health.

Do you suffer from hypothyroidism? Listen to your doctor

So, do you have a thyroid problem? Overall, you should remember that, besides limiting the consumption of these foods, you should improve your lifestyle in general. To summarize, f ollow your doctor’s instructions, adopt a balanced diet (according to your needs), avoid a sedentary lifestyle, as well as consuming alcohol and tobacco.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.