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.
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, 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.
August McLaughlin is a health and sexuality writer, podcast host and author of “Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment” (Amberjack Publishing, 2018). Her articles appear in DAME Magazine, Cosmopolitan.com, the Huffington Post and more, and she loves connecting with readers through her blog and social media. augustmclaughlin.com