Science-backed dietary Suggestions to balance thyroid function

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According to modern research, every one in 8 women suffers from hypothyroidism. Erratic thyroid function is responsible for 60% weight gain in women. The thyroid hormone is the master regular of all bodily processes, right from regulating the rate of heartbeat to determining how many calories you burn as you sit here reading this article. Therefore, any disturbance in its function has ramifications on every cell and organ of the body, leading to lethargy, weight gain, insomnia, muscle weakness, and even an irregular menstrual cycle.

Can hyperthyroidism/hypothyroidism be reversed/cured with proper diet?

Fortunately, it’s possible to manage symptoms of thyroid imbalance with the help of diet. The key essentials of a thyroid reversal diet include micronutrients like iodine, selenium, zinc and iron, as well vitamins A, B-spectrum and D. All these vital nutrients assist in proper functioning of the thyroid hormone by facilitating the effective production of active thyroid hormones. Further, excluding inflammatory foods and cultivating some simple, dietary practices that we’ll discuss later can help prevent further damage to the thyroid gland.

How to design your own diet plan for restoring thyroid function?

First and foremost, you need to include detox juices in your morning routine. Fresh vegetable juices work best. They cleanse the system from deep within, help you hydrate just after you spent upto 8 hours in a waterless state, and flush out thiocyanates, i.e. the toxins that prevent regular functioning of the thyroid.

Which vegetables should you not juice/eat raw for your thyroid-balancing diet:

Cruciferous vegetables that are considered goiterogenic like kale, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberry, collard greens, cabbage and peaches

Here are a few suggestions for your morning drink:

  1. Fresh vegetable juices: celery/cucumber/ash gourd/ bottle guard
  2. Apple cider vinegar (2 tsp) in 1 cup of warm water
  3. Just 2 glasses of lukewarm water
  4. Kombucha tea
  5. Water boiled in coriander, fennel and carom seeds; strain and sip slowly

Two hours after having your morning detox juice, you can proceed to have your breakfast. From the time between your detox juice and first meal of the day, try to include a time gap of 2 hours. This gives your morning drink enough time to work its miracle through the body and cleanse out your system, leading to effective removal of toxins before the next load of body drops in.

Breakfast: For breakfast, we recommend having a bowl of seasonal fruits. Why? Because whole foods that are natural are beneficial for a person with thyroid imbalance, who is already faced with a compromised metabolism. You can have water-rich fruits like melon/cantaloupe, or those that boost metabolism like apples. Alternatively, you can opt for fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha or choose a dairy-based probiotic such as curd/yogurt. These contain live cultures that are great for the gut when taken first thing in the morning.

Consider the following suggestions for your breakfast:

  1. Apple-pomegranate salad
  2. Papaya-banana smoothie
  3. Cottage cheese pancakes
  4. Kombucha tea
  5. A bowl of yogurt + 1 tbsp jaggery ( Best probiotic)
  6. Watermelon-mango-banana smoothie
  7. Finger millet (ragi) soup with carrots & green peas
  8. Overnight oatbran with sunflower seeds

Lunch: Lunch is the best time for your body to assimilate vitamin-B-rich foods that are also good for the thyroid, such as whole grains- semi-brown/unpolished rice, oat bran, buckwheat, pasta and horse gram, and beans. The concept of going gluten-free for treating hypothyroidism is actually debatable. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, then eliminating gluten is a must. Otherwise, you can take whatever whole grain you like, as long you consume it in moderation. In addition, focus on taking eggs and/or fatty fish for your lunch.  These contain iodine, selenium and omega-3s that boost thyroid function.

Let’s take a look at some of the lunch recommendations:

  1. Baked salmon/sea bass/haddock/cod
  2. Asian seaweed salad with roasted sweet potatoes, bell peppers and sesame seeds
  3. Black bean tacos
  4. Multi-grain sandwiches with cottage cheese filling
  5. Hardboiled egg salad with parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes & coriander
  6. Bone broth with seasonal vegetables
  7. Veggie wraps with hummus, zucchini and sweet potatoes

Evening snack recommendations: Between 4:00-6:00 pm, you can eat something light and easily digestible. Top recommendations are nuts and seeds. However, consider refraining from having peanuts as they are goiterogenic. Having diced coconut is recommended as it has been found to promote thyroid function. Plus, it’s loaded with good fats that reduce cholesterol. You can also eat foods rich in zinc, like sunflower seeds and hemp seeds, selenium-rich nuts like Brazilian nuts, macademia and walnuts. Vitamin-A-rich foods are equally beneficial, so you could consider having carrots and sweet potatoes. We have some ideas below:

  1. Pumpkin seed bars
  2. Salted nuts, e.g: Brazilian nuts, walnuts, macadamia
  3. Freshly cut slices of coconut
  4. Sunflower seeds lightly oven-roasted
  5. Sweet potato fries
  6. Carrot sticks with chickpea hummus
  7. Granola-yogurt parfait

Dinner: When it comes to dinner, a variety of options are available to choose from. Seafood like lobster, crab, oysters, and tuna, shrimp are all rich in zinc and selenium. They induce satiety as well and help in weight management. You can also choose to eat your favorite cauliflower rice, even though it is goitrogenic because steaming/cooking it on flame deactivates the thiocyanate toxins that cause it to be goitrogenic. Dairy products like cottage cheese (rich in selenium) and milk (rich in vitamin D) are also recommended.

Take a look at the suggestions below:

  1. Shrimp garlic pasta/fried rice
  2. Cottage cheese lasagne
  3. Fall pumpkin soup
  4. Winter vegetable soup featuring carrot, sweet potato, peas & cilantro
  5. Coconut milk curry
  6. Horsegram curry
  7. Turmeric milk

Thyroid-reversal diet: Do’s & Don’t’s

Do:

  • Practice intermittent fasting (16:8, 14:10, 12:12)
  • Have warm water immediately upon waking up
  • Eat cruciferous veggies steamed/cooked
  • Include whole foods rich in iron, zinc, selenium & iodine
  • Have two detox drinks daily- one in the morning and one post-lunch, preferably at 4 pm
  • Garnish your meals with coriander

Don’t:

  • Eat too much soy-based foods like tofu, tempeh, miso, soy milk, edamame
  • Have broccoli/kale/cauliflower/strawberry raw/juiced
  • Eat sugar/refined carbs
A 5-meal sample diet chart for balancing thyroid dysfunction

Final takeaways:

The main purpose of this article is to act as a guiding light for any dietary changes you would want to design in order to synergize with your existing thyroid medication. As long as you follow a well-rounded diet rich in whole foods that contain iron, zinc, selenium, and iodine, as suggested in this article, you will experience positive changes in sleep quality, weight management, digestion, blood cholesterol, and overall energy levels.

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