The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck that produces hormones that regulate metabolism. Thyroid disorders are common, especially in women, and can cause symptoms like fatigue, weight gain or loss, sensitivity to temperature, and more. Eating the right foods and taking supplements can help maintain thyroid health. In this article, we will discuss 8 of the best foods to support a healthy thyroid.
What Are The Common Thyroid Health Issues?
Some of the most common thyroid health issues include:
- Hypothyroidism – Underactive thyroid gland leading to symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold, and more. This is most commonly caused by Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder.
- Hyperthyroidism – Overactive thyroid leads to symptoms like sudden weight loss, rapid heartbeat, sweating, anxiety, and more. This is often caused by Graves’ disease, another autoimmune disorder.
- Goiter – Enlargement of the thyroid gland. Can be caused by iodine deficiency, thyroid nodules, or thyroid cancer.
- Thyroid nodules – Lumps on the thyroid. Usually noncancerous but can occasionally be cancerous.
- Thyroid cancer – Cancer of the thyroid gland. Most common in women and people exposed to radiation.
- Thyroiditis – Inflammation of the thyroid. Most often caused by autoimmune disorders.
8 Best Foods For Thyroid Health: How To Use Them?
Fish and shellfish like salmon, sardines, shrimp, and oysters are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, iodine, and selenium, all of which support thyroid function. Aim for 2-3 servings per week.
✅ Nuts And Seeds
Especially brazil nuts, which are exceptionally high in selenium. Just 1-2 Brazil nuts per day provide enough selenium. Chia and pumpkin seeds are also good sources.
Contain iodine, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and protein. Ideally, choose pasture-raised eggs. Eat up to 2 eggs daily.
✅ Leafy greens
Broccoli, spinach, kale, swiss chard, and other leafy greens provide antioxidants like vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, calcium, and fiber to support overall health and thyroid function. Eat 1-2 cups daily.
Provides protein, calcium, probiotics, and iodine. Choose unsweetened, low-fat yogurt. Enjoy up to 1 cup daily.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that reduce inflammation and support thyroid health. Have 1/2 – 1 cup daily.
Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are great plant-based proteins. They also provide iron, zinc, and fiber. Aim for 1/2 cup 2-3 times per week.
A good source of healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins C, E, K, and B vitamins to regulate thyroid hormones. Enjoy up to 1/2 an avocado daily.
Supporting thyroid health through diet can make a big difference in managing many common thyroid disorders. Foods that provide key nutrients like iodine, selenium, zinc, omega-3s, and antioxidants give the thyroid what it needs to produce adequate hormones.
Aim to include a variety of these thyroid-supporting foods daily as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Work with your healthcare provider to determine if you need additional supplements as well. Taking steps to optimize your dietary intake can help maintain optimal thyroid function.
A: Thyroid disorders are often caused by autoimmune diseases like Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Genetics, iodine deficiency, radiation exposure, pregnancy, and certain medications can also affect thyroid function.
A: Symptoms vary depending on the type of disorder, but may include fatigue, unexplained weight changes, feeling cold or hot, hair loss, dry skin, mood changes, muscle weakness, constipation, irregular periods, and more.
A: Only if you have an iodine deficiency confirmed by your doctor. Too much iodine can actually aggravate thyroid conditions for some people. Most people get sufficient iodine from food sources like seafood, eggs, dairy, and iodized salt.
A: Avoid very large amounts of cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower, and broccoli if you have hypothyroidism. For most people, normal intake is fine, but excess may interfere with thyroid function. Also minimize soy, gluten, sugary, and processed foods.
A: If you have a thyroid condition, your doctor may recommend checking TSH, T4, T3, and thyroid antibodies every 6-12 months once your levels have stabilized. Annual screening is also a good idea for those at risk of thyroid disease.