Have Thyroid Disease? Here Are Foods You May Want to Eat in Moderation

Thyroid disease can be a tricky condition to manage. But did you know that certain foods and nutrients can actually hinder thyroid function and interfere with its normal functioning?  And some may also affect the absorption of your thyroid medication. Following is a list of certain foods that are not-so-friendly to your thyroid and should be used in moderation.

Soy-based foods (tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk etc.):  Soy foods contain goitrogens, compounds that interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland.  For people with thyroid problems, a high intake of goitrogens can worsen thyroid function and potentially lead to an enlargement of the thyroid gland known as a goiter.  Soy may also interfere with your ability to absorb thyroid medication.

Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc.):  Cruciferous vegetables may interfere with the production of thyroid hormone if you have an iodine deficiency. So if you do, it’s a good idea to limit your intake because research suggests digesting these vegetables may block the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function.

Gluten: Those people who are also suffering from hypothyroidism may want to consider minimizing their intake of gluten, a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Research has noted that hypothyroidism and celiac disease are often present together. And if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten can irritate the small intestine and may hamper absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication.

Calcium/Iron supplements: Calcium and Iron supplements can interfere with thyroid hormone replacement medication if taken at the same time. It is important to take any products containing calcium or iron at least four hours before or after taking thyroid medication.

Fiber:  The Daily Guidelines for Americans currently recommends that adults up to age 50 should take in 25 to 38 grams of fiber a day.  However, amounts that go above that level affect your digestive system and can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement drugs.

Coffee:  Caffeine has been found to block the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement, so it’s best to avoid taking your medication with coffee and to wait at least 30 minutes after taking your medication before having that cup of coffee.

If your regular diet doesn’t supply adequate nutrients, you may want to consider a personalized nutritional supplement form to ensure you are meeting your daily needs.  But, prior to taking any nutritional supplement or completely changing your diet, it’s important to speak with a doctor or nutritionist to ensure you are meeting all your dietary needs and to learn about any potential side effects that could occur from the medications you may be taking.


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