What Is The Best Diet For Hashimotos Thyroiditis
The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in metabolism, body temperature, and hormone regulation. People with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have a chronically inflamed thyroid gland that slows the production of thyroid hormones. In extreme cases, the thyroid gland stops producing hormones altogether.
This article explores Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and the best diet to ease symptoms.
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How Was The Study Done
34 young women between the ages of 20 and 45 years with a recent diagnosis of Hashimotos disease but previously untreated for this condition were selected. The following criteria were required:
1. Thyroid peroxidase antibody levels had to be greater than 100.
2. A thyroid ultrasound had to show changes in thyroid tissue.
3. TSH levels had to be between .4 and 4.5.
4. Free T4 between 10 and 21.
5. Free T3 between 2.6 and 6.5.
6. Incidentally found positive anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies without clinical symptoms of celiac disease.
They excluded women who had the following:
1. Symptomatic celiac disease.
2. Positive antibodies against the thyrotrophin receptor .
3. Diabetes or other endocrine disorder.
4. Impaired liver and kidney function.
5. Any acute and chronic inflammatory condition.
6. Pregnancy or lactation.
7. Women receiving any form of chronic treatment.
Group A consumed a gluten-free diet for 6 months and Group B did not have any dietary restrictions. They followed-up with all participants every two months to be sure they were in compliance with the gluten-free diet. Those who followed the gluten-free diet had to actually provide the packaging for all the gluten-free products they ate.
Perspectives For Nutritional Management Of Thyroiditis Of Hashimoto
Diet therapy for Hashimotos thyroiditis is focused on optimal nutrition and immune system modulation through an anti-inflammatory diet . Since nutritional deficits are common in TH patients, according to observational and controlled investigations, nutritional management is considered essential for management of TH patients. There is evidence in the literature for selenium, potassium, iodine, copper, magnesium, zinc, iron, and vitamin A, C, D, and B deficiency in TH patients . Additionally, it has been suggested that adequate protein consumption, dietary fiber, and unsaturated fatty acids, particularly those of the omega-3 family, play a beneficial role .
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What Is The Best Hashimotos Diet
With all of these choices, which is the best diet plan for Hashimotos patients? Theres no one right diet for everyone , so the answer truly depends on your bodys unique needs. Evidence shows that each one of these diets can reduce thyroid symptoms and improve thyroid function, but choosing the best thyroid diet for you will likely require some experimentation.
The easiest way to start is with the simplest anti-inflammatory diet option.
A Paleo diet is gluten-free, dairy-free, legume free, and low-carb, and is likely to remove artificial ingredients that may aggravate an autoimmune illness like Hashimotos.
If you see little to no improvement after three weeks on the Paleo diet, consider trying either the autoimmune Paleo diet or the low FODMAP diet .
The autoimmune protocol Paleo diet isnt always the best diet for autoimmunity. I recommend trying the AIP diet only if you didnt notice improvement on a less-restrictive diet.
In addition to starting an anti-inflammatory diet, like the ones above, you can add on the low iodine diet or a low-goitrogen diet for further benefit.
Lifestyle Changes For Hashimoto Thyroiditis
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Sleep is a time of restoration and repair. Poor sleep stresses the body, leading to inflammation and uncomfortable symptoms. The way to get good sleep is to start a routine of actions before and after you fall asleep. These actions are known as sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene involves preparing for a good rest, resting, and waking up. For example, before you fall asleep, ensure the temperature is comfortable in your bedroom, turn off electronics an hour before you want to go to sleep and brush your teeth simultaneously each night. While sleeping, make sure the room is dark. Upon waking, start a morning routine.
Add supplements to balance nutrient levels in the body. An autoimmune specialist can create a vitamin protocol to meet your nutritional needs. They can also use advanced therapies, such as IV infusions, to help you get the highest amount.
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The Root Cause Paleo Diet
To dive a little further, I have found a Paleo-style diet to be the most effective for the majority of people with Hashimotos. In fact, 81 percent of my 2015 survey respondents reported that a Paleo-style diet made them feel better!
The historical theory behind the health benefits of a Paleo diet is that the digestive systems of humans have not had sufficient time to adapt to todays farming practices, or to the ingredients and chemicals in modern processed foods. The theory blames the rise in chronic diseases, obesity, and allergies, on the agricultural revolution, which added grains and processed foods as well as toxins into our diet.
It is estimated that contemporary Western populations get as much as 70 percent of their daily energy intake from foods that were never or rarely consumed by our hunter-gatherer Paleolithic ancestors. These non-Paleo foods include grains, refined sugars, dairy, and highly processed fats.
After eliminating grains and processed foods, a Paleo diet replaces these with nutrient-dense foods: nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruit, and eggs. Meat and fish are also allowed.
I have put my own twist on the Paleo diet, with what I call the Root Cause Paleo Diet. It specifically eliminates the foods that tend to cause the most problems for those with Hashimotos , while adding in the nutrients that help the body heal.
The Root Cause Paleo Diet eliminates:
- Smoothies with added pea protein, like Rootcology Pea Protein Powder
Hashimotos Thyroiditis Diet Treatment
Thyroid hormone replacement medicine is usually prescribed for those with abnormal hormone levels. Medication alone does not always offer relief. The reason is that the drug does not reduce inflammation, which significantly contributes to your negative symptoms.
Therefore, reducing inflammation is a priority in treatment.
What you eat and drink can trigger inflammatory responses. Processed foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, dairy, and red meat, promote inflammation. Avoid chemically altered foods with added ingredients or preservatives. Multiple research studies show the long-term damaging effects of consuming processed foods, like a higher risk for heart disease.
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Grass Fed And Pasture Raised Animal Products
Protein is going to be an important part of your new healing diet. Keep in mind that although animal products can be a great addition to your diet, not all meats are created equal. The best option is grass-fed and pasture raised. Conventionally raised animal products are pumped full of antibiotics, steroids, and hormones. As you can imagine, this can cause imbalances in your body which is the last thing you want when trying to heal your body. If you are unable to purchase grass-fed and pasture raised 100% of the time, second best is organic. The most important thing is to completely avoid factory-farmed animal products.
Soybean And Soy Products
Soybean and its products contain isoflavones. Isoflavones interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. In this disease, as it is, the functioning is affected. On top of it, soybean or their products affect the glands functioning and the secretion of the hormones. So, these products are strictly not allowed, be it soy chunks, soy milk, soybean oil, etc.
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Hashimotos Thyroiditis Diet: Best & Worst Food List
Hashimotos thyroiditis also called Hashimotos disease is one of the most common thyroid disorders in the world and can greatly affect quality of life, even if its treated with medication. Hashimotos thyroiditis is when the thyroid gland is chronically inflamed and slows or stops the production of essential hormones, which can lead to:
In addition to standard medication, research shows that diet and lifestyle changes may drastically improve symptoms.
Nutritional Elements Generating Intoxication
Some trace elements such as Se, Zn, and Fe participate in thyroid gland function, and their deficiency is critical for thyroid hormone homeostasis . Others such as lead, cadmium, chromium, manganese, and fluoride are toxic for many organs and tissues, including the thyroid gland, and may provoke or support hypothyroidism when their levels in the circulation are in excess .
Table 2 summarizes the common harmful effects of toxic trace elements on thyroid hormones synthesis and regulation.
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Key Nutrients For Hashimoto’s Disease
Certain nutrient supplements can help reduce thyroid antibodies and inflammation in people with Hashimoto’s disease. Beneficial nutrients include
Research suggests that taking 200mg of selenium each day can reduce anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies in people with Hashimoto’s disease. You can get selenium from supplements or foods like halibut, Brazil nuts, sardines, lobster, sunflower seeds, liver, grass-fed beef, and eggs.
This powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound help protect the thyroid gland.
This mineral is essential to healthy thyroid function and, when taken alongside selenium, can ease symptoms of hypothyroidism.
B Complex vitamins
People suffering from hypothyroidism tend to have low levels of vitamin B12. Taking vitamin B12 supplements can boost your levels of B complex vitamins.
There is a higher risk of anemia among people with Hashimoto’s disease. Iron supplements can help correct the deficiency and lower the risk of anemia.
People with Hashimoto’s disease have significantly lower levels of vitamin D. Moreover, a study has shown a link between low vitamin D levels and the severity of Hashimoto’s disease. The best food sources for this nutrient include salmon, cod liver oil, sardines, mushrooms, fortified milk, and swordfish.
What About Vegan And Vegetarian Diets
Vegan, or plant-based, diets have become more popular in recent years, as more of us are becoming aware of the problems with factory farming and animal mistreatment, the negative effects of large-scale farming on the environment, and the proven health benefits of adding more whole fruits and vegetables to ones diet.
Those following a strict vegan diet will eliminate any foods that come from animals, including meat, eggs, dairy, and even honey. Vegetarians, on the other hand, eliminate meat, but will often still consume dairy and other products that are derived from animals.
Reported health benefits of a vegan diet include weight loss, improved kidney function, possible protection against cancer, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Its important to note, however, that the data surrounding the health benefits of vegan diets is inconclusive, and many of the benefits will be dependent on whether a person is eating a whole foods diet versus one that is full of processed foods.
While vegan and vegetarian diets have been reported to be extremely helpful with autoimmune disease and other chronic conditions, I have not been able to find reports of people recovering from Hashimotos by following a vegan diet. Even devout vegans who are nutritionally conscious, still struggle with low body temperatures, hypothyroidism, and Hashimotos.
Some of the reasons that such diets may be problematic in Hashimotos are that they can:
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Research On Aip And Hashimotos
Newer research has highlighted the impact an AIP diet can have on those with Hashimotos. In a 2019 study, 17 women between the ages of 20 and 45 with a prior diagnosis of Hashimotos, participated in a 10-week online health coaching program, focused on the implementation of an AIP diet. They each filled out a questionnaire that was used to measure the participants health-related quality of life and clinical symptom burden, in addition to undergoing thyroid function tests and white blood cell counts, before and after the 10-week program.
The study revealed some exciting results, including astatistically significant improvement in HRQL, particularly in the areas of physical role functioning, emotional role functioning, vitality, and general health. Clinical symptoms decreased from an average of 92 symptoms, to an average of 29 at the end of the program. Symptoms that saw significant improvement included joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, poor sleep quality, low energy, abnormal body weight, poor mood, and poor cognitive function, among many others. Inflammation was noted to significantly decrease by 29 percent, and weight and body mass index saw statistically significant decreases, with an average of six pounds lost, and a one point drop on the BMI scale.
Best Foods To Eat For Hashimotos Disease
For those with Hashimotos disease, a nutrient-dense diet may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and improve your overall health. Try to focus your diet on the following foods
- Fruits. Berries, pears, apples, peaches, citrus fruit, pineapple, bananas, etc.
- Non-starchy vegetables. Zucchini, artichokes, tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, peppers, broccoli, arugula, mushrooms, etc.
- Starchy vegetables. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, acorn, and butternut squash, etc.
- Healthy fats. Avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, unsweetened coconut flakes, full-fat yogurt, etc.
- Animal protein. Salmon, eggs, cod, turkey, shrimp, etc.
- Gluten-free grains. Brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, brown rice pasta, etc.
- Seeds, nuts, and nut butters. Cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, natural peanut butter, almond butter, etc.
- Beans and lentils. Chickpeas, black beans, lentils, etc.
- Dairy and non-dairy substitutes . Coconut milk, coconut yogurt, almond milk, cashew milk, full-fat unsweetened yogurt, goat cheese, etc.
- Spices, herbs, and condiments. Turmeric, basil, rosemary, paprika, saffron, black pepper, salsa, tahini, honey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, etc.
- Beverages. Water, unsweetened tea, sparkling water, etc.
Its important to note that some people with Hashimotos disease avoid a few of the foods listed above, such as grains and dairy. Experiment with different foods and find out which ones work best for you.
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What To Eat For Hashimotos
Before we get started, its important to note that overall dietary pattern matters more than whats on a single plate. The internet is full of fearmongers that would have you believe that putting a teaspoon of sugar in your tea is what caused your thyroid disease which is patently false.
We know that how you eat as a whole can be absolutely transformative for your health but when it comes to what to eat for Hashimotos, health is determined more by what you put on your plate than what you leave off. While the internet focuses on what to leave off, I prefer to focus on what to eat more of in order to provide your body with the building blocks it needs to heal and optimize function.
What Is Hashimotos Thyroiditis
Hashimotos thyroiditis also known as lymphocytic thyroiditis is when your bodys immune system attacks your thyroid gland. This autoimmune response may damage your thyroid gland, and if left unchecked, may lead to low levels of thyroid hormone.
Hashimotos thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism and is one of the most common autoimmune diseases .
Thyroid hormone is important for many health functions, including metabolism, energy, and mood. An underactive thyroid gland may cause symptoms of Hashimotos disease and hypothyroidism, including :
While hypothyroidism can cause this wide variety of symptoms , its important to work with your doctor to determine whether or not you are truly hypothyroid as these symptoms are often present in many other conditions.
However, if you have three or more of the above symptoms, theres a chance you may have hypothyroidism especially if you checked the boxes for fatigue and dry skin. A study of a hypothyroid questionnaire found that the most common symptoms to correlate with hypothyroidism were tiredness, , dry skin , shortness of breath , and hair loss .
As a final disclaimer, symptoms alone cant determine whether you have hypothyroidism and/or Hashimotos thyroiditis, so be sure to talk to your doctor about a blood test.
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Food Intolerance And Hashimotos
Lactose intolerance is common in Hashimotos disease, occurring in perhaps three-quarters of those with HD. You may find that going dairy free helps to reduce symptoms of gas, bloating or diarrhea. As well, lactose intolerance can influence bioavailability of the thyroid medication. Lactose-free dairy is widely available but dairy free is delicious, nutritious and easy on the planet! Find your favourite plant-based milk and experiment making creamy sauces out of plants. You wont miss the dairy!
Constipation, gut dysbiosis and gut barrier dysfunction is also commonplace in HD. These two underlying issues can make you feel like you are reacting to lots of foods. Before you eliminate, investigate! Food elimination can cause further issues such as weakened gut microbiome, nutrient deficiencies and even food intolerance.
Balancing Blood Sugar By Limiting The Intake Of Carbohydrates
You might be surprised to learn that, while protein, fat, and micronutrients are all required by the human body, carbohydrates are not a required nutrient. While fat is required for normal cell function, we can actually survive on little to no carbohydrates in our diets.
Not only are carbs not required, theyre also the greatest contributor to blood sugar imbalances which some 50 percent of those with Hashimotos may have! These imbalances can contribute to anxiety, weight gain, hair loss, irritability, weakened adrenals, fatigue, and increased thyroid antibodies. Limiting ones carbohydrate intake and consuming plenty of good fats and proteins instead, can help balance blood sugar.
I recommend staying away from processed carbohydrates, as those will cause the greatest blood sugar swings. Stick to natural carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes and berries, but not too many at first. For best results, you may want to limit yourself to one to two servings of carbohydrates a day if youre still in the early stages of your healing journey and are struggling with blood sugar swings.
For some of my clients, even too much fruit can throw them off. You will be able to improve your tolerance to carbohydrates as you heal.
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