Thyroid disease can be very tricky to handle because what you consume daily can meddle with your thyroid health. This is because some nutrients found in certain foods impact the function of your thyroid gland which hinders the body’s ability to absorb the replacement hormones you take as your thyroid treatment.
Hypothyroidism is not preventable, but it is curable. You should always consult with your doctor regularly if your condition has ever gotten worse after eating particular foods so that he/she helps you find a suitable diet.
You can manage hypothyroidism by making certain changes to your diet.
Below are some foods you should either completely avoid or limit your consumption.
- Eggs and dairy: Egg whites have enzymes that protect the yolk during embryo development. These enzymes break up protein chains that render the smaller chains ineffective. Lysozyme (an antimicrobial agent) passes through the digestive system and will carry other proteins and bacteria to the gut barrier, leading to leaky gut Syndrome.
Dairy products contain protease inhibitors that contribute to leaky gut, and it is insulin-genic causing spikes in blood insulin levels. Moreover, dairy products contain A1 casein which can cause leaky gut syndrome and increase inflammation in the thyroid gland and ultimately affect its function
- Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, Kamut, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, and millet. Gluten contains high levels of lectins, saponins, and protease inhibitors.
Gluten intakes by a patient with gluten sensitivity will cause the gluten to go through the stomach, into the small intestine, and force the body to produce a chemical called zonulin, which opens up the intestinal walls, allowing particles and liquids to flow. When this happens, over time the body becomes chronically inflamed, leaving one susceptible to developing an autoimmune disorder, such as thyroid disease and other serious conditions.
Also, gluten closely resembles many tissues in our body, therefore gluten that gets into the bloodstream due to the leaky gut will trigger the body to produce antibodies to attack the gluten, but also attack our tissues.
- Nightshades, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes: Nightshades vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes contain high levels of lectins. Lectins are not broken down during the digestive process because our bodies’ natural digestive enzymes are unable to digest the lectin proteins, and they contain protease inhibitors.
Lectins cause a leaky gut by first tricking the gut lining enterocytes (a cell of the intestinal lining) into treating it like a simple sugar, allowing it to pass from the inner-gut to the outer-gut that activates the immune response causing the immune system to attack not only the lectin but the enterocytes; creating holes in the gut lining.
Nightshades, in particular, the tomatoes have particular lectin, agglutinin, which stimulates the production of antibodies, that can get into the bloodstream quickly contributing to a leaky gut.
Nightshades contain saponins, particularly glycoalkaloids which can feed bad bacterias in the gut and destroy the red blood cell membranes when entering the bloodstream. Nuts and seeds, in particular, contain phytic acid and amylase inhibitors which prevent the breakdown of seeds and cause inflammation, stress out the gut and activate the immune system.
Additionally, grains and legumes are high in saponins, which can create holes in the surface membrane of the gut and cause inflammation. Protease inhibitors neutralize enzymes in an attempt to avoid digestion, so the body’s response is to secrete more digestive enzymes throwing off the balance of enzymes and potentially leading to the destruction of the enterocytes creating a pathway for leaky gut and provoke an immune response.
- Sugars and sweeteners: Natural sweeteners like agave are pure fructose, which can tease the body into thinking because it’s sweet, that it needs to release insulin to digest the glucose before realizing there is no glucose to digest.
Therefore, in the event of sugars are desired, it is best to gain them from natural sugar sources such as honey, maple syrup, or molasses as they all maintain glucose-fructose levels that the body can easily digest. It’s important to consider that in case of any sort of overgrowth, bacterial or yeast, sugars should be avoided entirely, even fruit-based and starchy vegetables that are further battles to fight them off.
- Alcohol: Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s patients are often developing an intolerance to alcohol. Alcohol causes direct cellular toxicity on thyroid cells, thereby causing thyroid suppression and reducing thyroid volume. Moreover, continuously high alcohol intake can inhibit thyroid hormones T3 and T4 and may reduce the activity of type II 5’-deiodinase, which results in reduced levels of Free T3 with ongoing symptoms.
It has also been found that alcohol creates tiny holes in the epithelial cells which can allow some endotoxins into the body. Alcohol feeds on negative bacteria and can allow them to get into the bloodstream through the holes and create an autoimmune response even in very small amounts.
However, cooking, soaking, fermentation, or boiling goitrogen, cyanide and thiocyanate rich foods cause them to be less harmful.
Researchers from the University of Maryland reported that cooking these foods slightly decreases the effects these foods would have on patients with thyroidism.
So, try cooked cabbage or a baked strawberry pie or jam instead of raw fresh salad.
Cooking does not destroy isoflavones found in Soy. Try to avoid soy foods such as soy oil, soy milk, soybean, etc. as much as possible.
Avoiding these foods can minimize your risk. Remember, every time you eat, you are either feeding or fighting against your thyroid gland. As a result, it will be wise to avoid foods that increase hypothyroid problems.
KarSoon, Tan & Ting, Poh. (2018). Thyroid Diseases and Diet Control. Journal of Nutritional Disorders & Therapy. 08. 10.4172/2161-0509.1000224.