Natural Food for Your Thyroid

Natural foods provide nutrients beneficial to thyroid health.

Natural foods provide nutrients beneficial to thyroid health.

A healthy, happy thyroid makes for a healthy, happy life. The gland in your neck produces hormones essential for positive body temperature control, moods, digestion, energy and weight control. If your thyroid is under-active, you have hypothyroidism. With hyperthyroidism, your gland is over-active. A balanced diet based on whole foods can help ensure thyroid health, whether you already have a thyroid condition or wish to avoid one. For specified guidance, consult a registered dietitian.

Whole Grains

The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends whole grains as thyroid-friendly foods, unless you have an allergy to them. They supply valuable amounts of B-vitamins and iron, which play an important role in thyroid health. As rich fiber sources, whole grains also reduce hypothyroidism symptoms, such as constipation and increased hunger. For best results, replace refined foods, such as white bread, pretzels and instant rice, with whole-grain equivalents. Nutritious options include 100-percent whole-grain breads, air-popped popcorn, quinoa and brown rice.

Cold-Water Fish

Cold-water fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, sardines and halibut, are top sources of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. A vitamin D deficiency can cause thyroid disease, says Cheryl Harris, a registered dietitian and writer for "Today's Dietitian," and people with hypothyroidism tend to lack the nutrient. Omega-3 fats can help reduce inflammation and boost immune function, guarding you from illnesses associated with thyroid conditions.

Fruits and Vegetables

While fruits and vegetables are important for most people, they provide exceptional perks if you're prone to thyroid problems. The antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables can help minimize hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism symptoms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The high water and fiber content can improve digestive health and reduce excessive hunger caused by an under-active thyroid. Particularly antioxidant-rich varieties include berries, tomatoes, red grapes, citrus fruits and mangoes. For ample fiber, choose beans, lentils, artichokes, peas and raspberries.

Low-Fat Dairy Products

Low-fat dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, are high in vitamins D and B-12. Vitamin B-12 is another nutrient crucial to thyroid health, says Harris. Healthy bacteria called probiotics are found in yogurt with live active cultures and in kefir, a yogurt-like beverage, and can help you maintain digestive and immune health. Limit or avoid high-fat foods, such as whole-fat milk and cheese, which contain inflammatory fats. If you don't tolerate or consume dairy products, choose fortified soy products for similar benefits.

 

About the Author

August McLaughlin is a health and sexuality writer with more than 10 years of experience as a nutritionist. Her work is featured in the Huffington Post, DAME Magazine, The Good Men Project and more. She specializes in eating disorders and loves connecting with readers and writers via her blog and social media.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images