Foods To Eat And Avoid For Underactive Thyroid Patients

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Over View On Thyroid

Thyroid hormones are essential for every part of our body. Foods for underactive thyroid play a vital role in triggering the thyroid in a +ve or -ve way.

Underactive thyroid is also known as hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones called T3 and T4.

When the thyroid makes a high level of T3 and T4 or both hormones, then this condition is called overactive thyroid also known as Hyperthyroidism.

These T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) hormones play a role in the body such as:

  • Heat production
  • Basal and cellular metabolism
  • Oxygen use
  • Growth and development of the skeletal nervous system

Also, the thyroid hormone regulates our basal metabolic rate, balances energy, regulates mood, body heat, and much more.

There are many ways to treat natural and medical ways (where doctors recommend daily pills to patients to control thyroid hormone)

However, it only suppresses the condition, therefore, In natural ways, diet plays a very important role for prevent the situation worse.

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How common is it?

Hypothyroidism is so common that almost 5 out of 100 people suffer from it, also common in India, and affects 1 in 10 adults.

The majority of the patients are females as they higher chance of getting autoimmune diseases and hypo is also a type of autoimmune disorder.

However, there are other people who are more likely to develop it including:

  • Pregnant lady
  • Old age people
  • If you have certain health problems such as – type I and II diabetes, autoimmune disease, lupus, chronic autoimmune inflammation, celiac disease, etc
  • Received radioactive therapy for cancer
  • Had a thyroid problem before

Symptoms of underactive thyroid

An underactive thyroid can cause a number of symptoms such as:

  • Poor ability to tolerate cold
  • Tired feeling
  • Constipation
  • slow heart rate
  • depression
  • weight gain

Food To Eat

Diet is the best natural way to treat it, which will not only help your body for a long time but also decrease your dependence on medications.

Here are certain foods for underactive thyroid patients, which you should add to your diet:


It plays an important mineral in ideal thyroid function

Even, Iodine deficiency is very common, which affects around one-third of the world’s population, but is less common in developed countries.

But intake of more iodine can lead to hyperthyroidism, and less can lead to hypothyroidism, so consume a limited amount of iodine.

NOTE: Make sure to avoid iodized free-flowing salt, because it is refined salt with synthetically added.

Instead of high iodine salt and food, switch to rock salt which naturally contains iodine.

Food that is good in iodine are:

  • Cheese
  • Whole egg
  • Seafood like tuna, lobster, crabs, seaweeds, sushi, algae, carrageen, and shellfish, but consumed in limited amounts.
  • Raw milk

You can also take supplements, but first consult the doctor, because it may disturb the body’s other hormones, and have some side effects.


It is a micronutrient and there are many studies showing that selenium is best for the thyroid gland.

Selenium contains selenoproteins, which contribute to the antioxidant defense in the thyroid, by removing free radicals generated during the production of thyroid hormones (2) (3).

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a disease in which your body’s immune system attacks the thyroid, leading to decrease thyroid production.

Which often reduces the body’s selenium supply, and consuming this micronutrient has shown to help balance T4 levels in some people.

Selenium contains foods such as:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds are also rich in Zinc
  • Seafood like fish, tuna,
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Meats followed by muscle meats (4) (5)

You can also take supplements but first talk to your doctor, about how much selenium may be right for you since every person is different.

Also, it may cause to see side effects in the body and may be toxic in large amounts.

Additional selenium also has some supplements such as:

  • It acts as a powerful antioxidants
  • may reduce the chance of certain cancers
  • Prevent metal decline
  • Boost immunity
  • Reduce asthma symptoms
  • Protect against heart diseases

Vitamin B

Taking certain vitamins whether in the form of food or supplements can have an effect on the thyroid gland.

Low thyroid hormone can affect your body’s vitamin B-12 levels.

The research found that vitamin-B12 deficiency and vitamin-D deficiency were associated with autoimmune hypothyroidism (6)

According to the NBM, there is a high about 40% prevalence of B12 deficiency in hypothyroid patients (7)

Taking vitamin B-12 supplements may help you repair the damage, and help in tiredness caused by hypothyroidism.

A good amount of vitamin B in the body can help in many ways such as:

  • Prevent infection (8)
  • Increase RBC and prevent anemia
  • Support bone health and prevent osteoporosis
  • Promote eye health
  • Good stomach health
  • Proper nerve function
  • Improve mood and decreased the symptoms of depression

Check Out – Healthy Food With Meditation That Relieves Stress, And Depression.


A study on probiotics showed beneficial effects on hypothyroidism patients by significantly reducing TSH, levothyroxine dose, and fatigue and increasing T3.

The study found that altered gastrointestinal motility commonly seen with hypothyroidism can cause bacterial overgrowth, and leads to GI symptoms (9).

Probiotics really help balance all the healthy bacteria in your gut which definitely is a good item to add to your regular diet.

Food that has a lot of probiotics are:

  • Greek yogurt and regular yogurt
  • Idli
  • Kefir
  • Indian cheese (paneer)
  • Kombucha
  • Cabbage

Many studies found that healthy gut microbiota is not only beneficial for the immune system but also for proper thyroid function (10).

Check Out – Food To Eat And Avoid For Overactive Thyroid Patients

Other foods that are recommended for thyroid patients such as:

  • Green vegetables
  • Fruits, a study showed that people who are on a vegan diet (fruits and vegetables) are at lower risk of hypothyroidism (11).
  • Asparagus
  • Calcium-rich foods
  • Whole grains
  • Milk
  • Zinc, but in a limited amount
  • Nuts and seeds

Hypothyroidism and Weight gain Connection

Hypothyroidism is allied with decreased thermogenesis, and metabolic rate (12),

And if metabolism works slowly, you won’t burn more calories, leading to weight gain.

Thyroid hormone controls our metabolism, the faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn easily.

The link between obesity and the risk of autoimmune thyroid dysfunction is the main cause of hypothyroidism in adults (13).

Hypothyroidism with overweight can put you in several health risks such as:

  • Increase blood pressure and bad cholesterol level
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Heart disease
  • osteoporosis
  • Also, hypothyroidism makes weight loss hard (14)

According to the btf-thyroid org overweight and hypothyroidism in people are due to extra salt and water.

However, regular exercises like running, brisk walking, and yoga, are best for reducing excessive weight, which automatically speeds up your metabolic rate (15).

Check Out – Foods That Speed Up Your Metabolism (Research-Based)

Food To Avoid

There are many foods that make your hypothyroidism symptoms worse, so make sure to avoid or reduce consuming them.

Sugar diet

Sugar and processed, junk foods can lead to increase inflammation in the body. Inflammation can slow down the conversion of T4 or T3 hormones.

This can make your symptoms worse, sugar can also boost energy levels but in the short term, eliminating it from your diet may help regulate your energy levels.

In a sugar-free diet, you have to focus on whole food such as:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits, which contain natural sugar and other nutrients
  • Nuts
  • Base your meals around meat, fish, and eggs
  • No juices, diet coco
  • No desserts, coffee, tea, no sweeteners.

Additionally, reducing sugar in the diet may help in stress levels and skin, also less chance of adopting diabetes.

Raw Cruciferous Vegetables

NOTE: Hypothyroidism people should avoid raw eating, make sure cooked very well,

Rustveld,” says that well-cooked cruciferous vegetables suppress or destroy their goitrogenic properties.

Cruciferous vegetables contain other important nutrients, but they may interfere with the production of thyroid hormone if a person has an iodine deficiency.

So it is mandatory to limit your intake of these foods such as:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Cauliflower

Because research tells that these vegetables may block the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine, which is important for normal thyroid “MEDsimplified” say.


Goitrogenic food may interact negatively with the normal function of the thyroid gland.

In fact, Goitre means (which is an enlarged thyroid gland that may occur with hypothyroidism)

There are many common foods that are rich in goitrogenic such as:

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Peanuts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Soy foods like tofu, milk, tempeh
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Pine nuts
  • Millet

NOTE: Hypothyroidism people should avoid goitrogens food, if it is not possible then eat well cooked, and avoid eating raw.

Talk to your doctor about what to eat and what not to eat.


The research observed that a gluten-free diet can reverse the abnormality of subclinical hypothyroidism.

However, they did not find a relation b/w the time of exposure to gluten in celiac disease patients and the risk of autoimmune diseases (16).

NOTE: Research results found that the gluten-free diet can also bring clinical benefits to women with an autoimmune thyroid disorder (17).

If a person has been diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten can irritate the small intestine, and hinder the observation of thyroid hormones.

NOTE: Take the medicines several hours before or after eating high-fiber foods, to prevent them.

Other Foods

Onion, because it contains 2 different goitrogens, which also interact with the underactive thyroid, and cooked well may reduce its properties.

Soya products – soy milk, tofu, bean, edamame, etc.


You can take any supplements, first consult the doctor, because it may disturb the body’s other hormones, and have some side effects.

A pregnant lady should also do a TSH test, which confirms that they have a thyroid or not.

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