Feeding Your Thyroid

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From the Heart

This image is from Cafe Press. Go to this site to see their Thyroid Cancer Awareness Jewelry!

Last October I had a nodule on the right side of my thyroid removed. Since those stupid things grow on your thyroid, I also had to have the right side of my thyroid removed. Now, I’ve never had thyroid issues before. It’s always been balanced and healthy. For this reason, I kind of failed to get my thyroid function checked after the surgery. I sort of forgot about it due to the holidays hitting and my two oldest daughters moving out and all the hustle and bustle of life. It wasn’t until I was getting blood tests for a pre-op for cataract surgery that I asked the Dr. to check my thyroid levels while I was in there. Well, they came back deficient and I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. I have to tell you how happy I was about it because I seriously thought I was going to feel terrible for no reason for the rest of my life.

I thought I was just getting old and tired. If you knew me you’d know this was really weird because I’m usually pretty energetic. I like to stay up late doing things. I also gained 14 pounds in 12 weeks. I haven’t had that happen since I had a child growing inside me. I felt doomed. Not for any reason, I just felt it. It wasn’t until I started doing some research on hypothyroidism that it all started to make sense.

I have four close girlfriends who have no thyroid left due to cancer. I have several family members who take medication everyday for their thyroid and there millions of other women who have to take medication for it every day. This is a huge problem, and very common in women.

I’ve been on medication for several months now and will take it everyday for the rest of my life. However, I still don’t feel like I’m 100%. As I started thinking about this I thought maybe I could feel better through diet and exercise. I decided to do a little research and fact finding regarding the diet part. Boy, was I surprised to find out about what I should and should not be eating! I was told not to eat calcium or iron within four hours of taking my medication. OK, but what does that look like. Let’s say you sit down at breakfast and have a nice bowl of strawberries. Healthy, right? Guess what?  Strawberries are very high in calcium. Fantastic if your pregnant but you should avoid them within four hours of taking your thyroid medications. What? I was really confused but then it all started making sense.

I found this excerpt from the Mayo Clinic website:

Avoid taking your thyroid hormone at the same time as:

Walnuts
Soybean flour
Cottonseed meal
Iron supplements or multivitamins containing iron
Calcium supplements
Antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium
Some ulcer medications, such as sucralfate (Carafate)
Some cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as those containing cholestyramine (Questran) and colestipol (Colestid)
To avoid potential interactions, eat these foods or use these products several hours before or after you take your thyroid medication.

I feel like those guidelines are easy enough to follow, right. But now what about all of the foods that contain these things? What about soy milk in my coffee? There are ways to eat the foods you love without causing interactions.

One day I was looking through some on-line info and I found a list of foods to avoid and to eat for improved thyroid function. I’m not a Dr. (duh) and I’m NOT telling you what to eat or what not to eat. You should ALWYAS check this stuff out with your DR before you start any diet or exercise  program. I just thought if you had a choice of what to eat it might be nice to know what choices would be best for you. I also read that many of the foods are very high in nutritional value and should not be completely avoided due to their overall health benefits. Also, remember that avoiding them in the four hour medication mark may be really beneficial too. That way you don’t have to COMPLETELY cut these foods out. Personally, I thought you might like to have a list. I really like having it and I was really happy knowing I can eat foods that promote happy healthy thyroid function!

PS Do not stop your medications, this list is not a replacement for your medications.

Here is the link to more details regarding this list from Lowthyroiddiet.com

CATEGORY FOODS TO AVOID 
VEGETABLES
African Cassava (used in tapioca)
Asparagus
Bamboo Shoots
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage (including Kimchi and Sauerkraut)
Cauliflower
Corn
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leafy Greens (Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Spinach)
Radishes
Rutabaga
Sweet Potatoes
Turnips
Wasabi
Watercress
Although these vegetables are goitrogenic, they contain important fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, and they are too nutritious to completely avoid.
Try to eat them in moderation only.
Eat them cooked if possible – the cooking process deactivates most of the goitrogenic compounds.

NUTS
Almonds
Cashews
Flax Seed
Hemp Seed
Peanuts
Pine Nuts
Pumpkin Seed
Walnuts
Roasting and cooking reduces the thyroid inhibiting compounds.

GRAINS
Barley
Bulgur
Durham
Farina
Graham Flour
Kamut
Kasha
Matzo Meal
Rye
Semolina
Spelt
Wheat
Oats are fine as long as they are labelled gluten-free. They are often cross contaminated with other gluten containing grains.

FRUIT
Grapes
Grape juice
Nectarines
Peaches
Pears
Strawberries
Wine

BEANS
Garbanzo Beans
All Soy Products
Edamame
Tofu
Tempeh
Miso
Soy Milk
Soy Bean Oil
Soy Flour
Soy contains isoflavones, it’s effects are goitrogenic and unfortunately it blocks iodine absorption.
People with thyroid issues should seriously reduce or eliminate the amount of soy in their diet, as it’s a major endocrine disruptor.

JUNK FOOD
Processed Foods
Deep Fried Foods
Foods Containing Sugar
This group of “so called food” causes inflammation in the body and inhibits the thyroid hormone conversion of T4 to T3.

JUICE
Sodas
Reconstituted Juices
Citrus Flavored Sodas
Sodas and reconstituted juices are often manufactured using fluoridated water – fluoride is a goitrogen.
avoid Mountain Dew, Fresca, Gatorade and other citrus-flavored sodas and soft drinks – they contain bromine, a goitrogenic toxin.
Bromine and fluoride are two important culprits responsible for such a rapid increase in thyroid disease world wide.

TEA
Black Tea
Green Tea

SEAFOOD
Farm Raised Salmon
Shark
Swordfish
Tilefish
King Mackerel
Shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel should never be eaten as the concentration of mercury is too high, poisoning your thyroid gland. Limit your intake of tuna to once a week – unfortunately there is no such thing as “a safe amount of mercury”.

DAIRY
Milk
Cheese
Cream
Milk Powder
Butter
Kefir

CATEGORY FOODS TO EAT 
VEGETABLES
Alfalfa
Artichokes
Avocado
Beets
Bell Peppers
Carrots
Celery
Cucumber
Leeks
Mushrooms
Okra
Peppers
Potatoes
Sea Vegetables
Squash
Pumpkin
Tomatoes
Zucchini
Avocado and potatoes are great source of tyrosine – hypothyroidism has been linked to low levels of this amino acid.
Artichokes double up as a powerful liver detoxifier.
Sea vegetables are rich in iodine too – you can try kelp, kombu, wakame, arame and dulse.

BEANS
Azuki Beans
Black Beans
Lima Beans
Mung Beans
Navy Beans
Pinto Beans
Red Kidney Beans
Split Peas
Beans are a rich in Iodine. They are also a good source of fiber, which is helpful as many people with hypothyroidism also suffer from constipation.

HERBS
Black Pepper
Chilies
Garlic
Ginger
Cinnamon
Tumeric
Peppermint
Cilantro
Parsley
Rosemary
Some of these herbs are brilliant for warming you up and raising your metabolism – try black pepper, chilies, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and tumeric.
Cilantro will help detox metals out of your system, especially mercury, a proven toxin for the thyroid gland.

FRUITS
Apples
Apricots
Bananas
Blueberries
Blackberries
Cherries
Cranberries
Dates
Grapefruit
Kiwi
Papaya
Pineapple
Prunes
Raspberries
Cranberries are a great source of iodine. A half a cup contains 400mcg of iodine. I recommend buying fresh or frozen cranberries and adding them to smoothies. Supermarket cranberry juice usually either contains a lot of sugar or unhealthy sweeteners.
Prunes and dates are useful but only in small quantities.

GRAINS
Amaranth
Quinoa
Buckwheat
Brown Rice
Wild Rice
Although buckwheat is technically a fruit, buckwheat products are very nutritious.
You can find all these products in various flours, pastas, cereals and crackers.
OILS
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Raw Butter
Coconut oil has a naturally stimulating effect on the thyroid gland.

NUTS
Brazil Nuts
Macadamia Nuts
Hazelnuts
Coconut Meat
Brazil nuts are very high in selenium, which is needed to convert the thyroid hormone T4 to T3. Be sure to only eat 1 or 2 though, any more is too much! Only a little selenium is necessary for the thyroid to function properly.

FISH
Sardines
Red salmon
Sadly the global fish supply is poisoned with PCBS and mercury, substances that poison your thyroid and the rest of your body, so it is recommended to cut down your seafood consumption. Limit your fish dishes to a maximum of one serving a week.
Try taking an Omega-3 supplement – deficiencies of this fatty acid have been linked to lower thyroid hormone levels.

ANIMAL PRODUCTS
Chicken
Turkey
Beef
Lamb
Eggs
Without adequate protein the thyroid can’t function properly, even if you are taking suitable thyroid medication.
Be sure you get organic free range eggs.

So next time you hit the grocery store and can’t decide which veggies to get for dinner, you now have a cheat sheet of which ones will be a bigger benefit for your sweet little thyroid. That little butterfly works really hard for you, more than most know. Treat it well.

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Just a girl, on a journey. Thankful for love, thankful for friends and family, and thankful for forgiveness. Full of passion, conviction and hope.

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