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Hypothyroidism Diet: What to eat and not to eat in thyroid

When it comes to managing hypothyroidism, no single diet can work miracles, but the right foods can support your thyroid when combined with proper medical care. Eating a well-balanced diet can help alleviate symptoms and enhance your overall health. Buy “thyroid good foods” that benefit thyroid function and steering clear of those that may cause issues, you can help your thyroid operate more efficiently. In this blog, we'll look at what to eat and not to eat in thyroid, providing practical tips to support your thyroid health.

What Is Hypothyroidism?

Approximately 5% of Americans suffer from hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland, located at the base of your neck, doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. If you've been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you're likely familiar with its symptoms: fatigue, weight gain, forgetfulness, depression, dry skin and hair, muscle aches, and sensitivity to cold. Since the thyroid gland regulates metabolism, heartbeat, temperature, and other crucial functions, a deficiency in thyroid hormone can make you feel like your entire body is slowing down.

Fortunately, diagnosing hypothyroidism is straightforward with a simple blood test. Once diagnosed, treatment usually involves taking a daily pill of replacement thyroid hormone prescribed by your doctor and eating thyroid beneficial foods. This treatment helps restore your thyroid levels to normal, allowing you to manage the symptoms effectively and improve your overall well-being.

What foods are good for the thyroid gland?

Even if your thyroid isn't functioning properly, you can still enjoy many delicious and nutritious foods. Choosing the right foods can help support your thyroid health while keeping you satisfied. Here are some good foods for thyroid health that are also low in calories, making them ideal for losing weight. These options are tasty and help maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

1. Seafood & Seaweed

Seafood & Seaweed

Think of seafood as the best food for thyroid issues. Many types of fish are packed with iodine and other essential nutrients that help your body produce and use thyroid hormones effectively. Here are some top choices:

  • Cod, shrimp, tuna, seaweed, and other shellfish are excellent sources of iodine. While iodized table salt also provides this important mineral, those who avoid salt or have low thyroid function can greatly benefit from including these seafood options in their diet regularly.

  • Sardines and Tuna are rich sources of selenium, a mineral that helps activate thyroid hormone.

  • Oysters, lobsters, and Alaskan king crabs are high in zinc, which helps regulate and absorb thyroid hormones.

However, if you have Hashimoto's disease, the most common cause of hypothyroidism, consult your doctor before increasing your iodine intake, as too much can cause side effects. As far as adults are concerned, the recommended daily allowance for iodine is 150 mcg, commonly found in multivitamins. The Okinawans have a daily intake of 400 mcg due to their high intake of sea vegetables and fish.

2. Lean Meats

Lean Meats

Beef and chicken are rich sources of zinc, an essential nutrient crucial for optimal thyroid function. If you prefer plant-based options, beans such as kidney beans, baked beans, chickpeas, and fortified breakfast cereals also provide significant amounts of zinc. Including these foods to eat to improve thyroid function also helps you meet your body's requirements for this vital mineral, supporting overall health and well-being.

3. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and Seeds

If you're looking for foods to eat to improve thyroid function, incorporate Brazil nuts into your daily routine. These nuts are packed with selenium, offering a whopping 96 mcg in just one nut—a substantial amount that exceeds the recommended intake. Selenium is crucial for thyroid function, aiding in the production of thyroid hormones. Alongside Brazil nuts, other beneficial options include cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. You can easily adapt these into your diet by snacking on a handful of nuts, adding sunflower seed butter to oatmeal, or tossing cashews into salads for a delicious and thyroid-friendly boost.

4. Leafy Greens

Leafy Greens

If you are wondering what diet is best for hypothyroidism? Leafy green vegetables like spinach, chard, collard greens, and kale offer a triple boost to support thyroid health. They're rich in iron, magnesium, and vitamin A—essential nutrients crucial for thyroid function. Vitamin A aids in thyroid hormone production, while iron and magnesium help the body absorb these hormones effectively. Recent research suggests that adequate vitamin A intake may lower the risk of hypothyroidism, particularly in obese individuals who have undergone a gastrectomy.

In addition to being thyroid-good foods, leafy greens are rich in fiber, which promotes healthy digestion. This is particularly beneficial for those with hypothyroidism who may experience constipation. Incorporating fresh salads or servings of leafy greens into your diet can help alleviate digestive problems and support overall thyroid health.

5. Eggs


Egg whites are rich in protein, essential for boosting metabolism and supporting overall health. But don't overlook the yolks—they're packed with vitamins like iodine, selenium, and protein. One large egg contains around 6 grams of protein, half of it in the yolk, making it a nutritious choice for your diet.

6. Yogurt and Other Dairy

Yogurt and Other Dairy

Are you confused about what to eat and not to eat for your thyroid ?

Dairy foods like yogurt, milk, and cheese are excellent sources of iodine, essential for thyroid health. For instance, 3/4 cup of plain, fat-free Greek yogurt can fulfill about 60% of your daily iodine requirement. While milk is also rich in iodine, it additionally provides vitamin D, crucial for those with hypothyroidism. However, it's worth noting that cheese and yogurt generally do not contain vitamin D.

Thyroid food: What to avoid

The foods to avoid with thyroid are the ones that contain goitrogens, which are compounds that may interfere with thyroid function. Cooking these foods can reduce their impact, and many are beneficial when part of a balanced diet. However, avoiding goitrogenic foods might mean missing out on valuable sources of fiber and anti-inflammatory compounds found in plants. While the evidence of their role in hypothyroid diets is limited, consuming large quantities of these foods, particularly if iodine intake is inadequate, could potentially affect thyroid health:

  • Soy

  • Gluten

  • Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower

  • Beverages such as coffee, green tea, and alcohol

It's important to moderate intake and consider individual health needs when including these foods in your diet.

If you have celiac disease, you might be at a higher risk of developing other autoimmune conditions. Discussing this potential link with your healthcare provider, particularly concerning thyroid disease, is important. This conversation can help you understand and manage any additional health risks associated with celiac disease.

The best food to avoid for thyroid patients: Highly Processed, High-Calorie Foods

Processed foods packed with calories are often the culprit behind weight gain linked to an underactive thyroid. According to the American Thyroid Association, a modest weight loss of typically 10% or less of your total body weight can be anticipated after beginning treatment. To support your weight management goals, consider reducing your intake of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods like chips, candy, and french fries.


Finding the right diet for managing hypothyroidism isn't one-size-fits-all, but certain foods can offer support. It's crucial to prioritize what to eat and not to eat in thyroid and seek personalized advice from your doctor and a registered dietitian nutritionist. They can help tailor an eating plan that suits your unique thyroid condition and overall health needs. By working closely with these experts, you'll discover the best approach to nourish your body and support your well-being effectively. Reach out to Proactive Choice or call (858) 333-5196 for a free 10-minute consult with Dr.Collins to learn more about our hypothyroidism treatment.

Want to consult a holistic medical practitioner in Oregon? Please take a look at the links below.

Author: Dr. Collins

About The Author: Dr. Collins

Dr. Collins is a Pacific Northwest native and University of Oregon graduate in biology and comparative religions, practicing Naturopathic Medicine. Committed to harmonizing ancient traditions with modern science, he prioritizes holistic patient care in Oregon.


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