Diet plays a major role in hypothyroidism. Read here which foods have a positive effect on the thyroid gland and which vitamins and trace elements play a special role.
Hypothyroidism: Diet is particularly important
Diet plays a particularly important role in patients with hypothyroidism. Among other things, patients must be sufficiently supplied with iodine. The trace element iodine is a kind of “fuel” for the thyroid gland to produce the vital hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) in combination with protein. Both are significantly involved in ensuring that our body functions properly: the thyroid hormones regulate the metabolism of sugar, fat and connective tissue. They also control our cardiovascular system, affect digestion – and even our mood. Patients with hypothyroidism should ensure an adequate intake of iodine in their food. Sometimes the attending doctor also advises using dietary supplements. If the thyroid gland is only slightly underactive, treatment is usually first given with an iodide preparation.
Nutrition for hypothyroidism: Important iodine suppliers
The recommendations of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) for adequate iodine intake depend on age and increase from 40 to 80 µg/day in infants to 200 µg/day in adolescents and adults. Salt used for cooking often contains iodine. Top suppliers are sea fish, e.g. pollock (around 170 μg iodine per 100 g fish) and place, but also haddock, cod, and seafood. Grains such as rye and milk products (50 μg per 0.3 l milk) are also ideal food suppliers of iodine. Also, good sources are a serving of lamb’s lettuce (62 μg), carrots (23 μg), or broccoli (22 μg).
Vitamins, zinc, and selenium important for hypothyroidism nutrition
The intake of zinc and selenium is almost as important for the function of the thyroid gland as iodine. If there is a deficiency, the organ cannot produce enough hormones. Selenium is mainly found in sesame, barley, sunflower seeds, meat, and fish. The DGE recommends a daily intake of 60-70 µg. Supplements cover the daily requirement of 30 to 70 µg. Legumes, milk, and whole grain products, on the other hand, are considered zinc-rich foods.
Vitamins B12, A, E, and D in particular can have a positive effect on the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as sensitivity to light and tiredness. Meat, poultry, eggs, and fish provide a lot of vitamin B12. This also applies to milk and milk products. Carrots and green vegetables are particularly high in vitamin A. Avocados, black currants and peppers are valuable sources of vitamin E. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is contained in foods such as eggs, herring, avocados, or beef liver.
Be careful with soy products: Excessive consumption can also reduce the activity of thyroid hormones.
Hypothyroid Diet: These foods can cause goiter
If the body receives too little iodine, a so-called goiter can form – a visible enlargement of the thyroid gland. There is a small bump in the front of the neck. Some foods can promote the development of a goiter. These so-called goitrogenic foods (that is, they cause an enlargement of the thyroid gland) impair the metabolism and thyroid hormone production. Cabbage, radishes, mustard, horseradish and bitter almonds are therefore prohibited foods in hypothyroidism and should not be consumed in large quantities. In summary, if you have an underactive thyroid, nutrition is the key to a healthy way of dealing with the disease.