Is your thyroid disorder out of control, despite taking medication? Well, blame your food for it! Some of the foods we eat daily can interfere with thyroid medicines and even negatively impact the functioning of the gland. To help you deal with this situation, we have listed out the foods to avoid for thyroid patients.
By reading about them, you can understand how a staple vegetable or grain that you eat daily, can adversely affect your health condition.
15 Foods To Avoid During Thyroid Disorders:
“One man’s food is another man’s poison” – this statement cannot be any truer than in the case of a thyroid patient. Find out how some of the foods deemed as “healthy” in other diets can be dangerous in your case.
1. Cruciferous Vegetables:
Cruciferous vegetables are those which contain high amounts of chemical compounds like sulfur and glucosinolates, which work as goitrogens. When eaten in large quantities, these chemicals interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid gland by reducing T4 absorption. (1) It can be particularly harmful to patients with an underactive thyroid or Hypothyroidism.
Here are the list of goitrogenic foods to be avoided by hypothyroidism patients:
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Brussel Sprouts
See Also: Hypothyroidism Friendly Diet
2. Soy and Soybean Foods:
There is a general theory that soy and soybean foods must be avoided by patients suffering from Hypothyroidism. Studies show that soy foods inhibit the absorption of thyroid hormones from medications and increase the need for higher dosages(2). The risk is especially high in patients with iodine deficiency, who are advised to cut down on soy foods or wait for 4 hours after medication before consuming them.
Here is a list of Soy-based foods to avoid with thyroid:
- Soya Beans
- Soy Milk
If you are on thyroid medication and have been eating millets as part of a healthy diet, it’s time you stop! Millets lead to more side effects than benefits to a thyroid patient. They act as goitrogens, even if there is no iodine deficiency in the person. A study shows that millets have three types of C-glycosylflavones which inhibit the functioning of the gland and absorption of thyroid hormones. (3)
4. Sugary Foods:
Excess sugar is bad for all of us but is particularly dangerous for thyroid patients. Hyperthyroidism slows down your body metabolism, which leads to the poor breakdown of sugars. These end up as unwanted calories in the body and causes other problems like diabetes, hypertension etc.
Here are some of the sugar-laden foods to stay away from with Hypothyroidism:
- Sugar Coated Candies
- Sugary drinks like Coffee, Tea, Sodas, canned juices
- Candied Fruits
5. Fast Foods:
Fast foods might suit your tastebuds, but not your health! Especially in people with an underactive thyroid gland, fast foods cause a lot of havoc in the body. They are high in sodium, sugars, unwanted calories which get accumulated as fat deposits, along with increasing the risk of hypertension and weight gain.
Examples of some of the ‘not allowed’ foods for hypothyroidism are as follows:
- Hot Dogs
- Packaged foods like chips, cookies
- Instant noodles, Ready-to-eat meals
See Also: Natural Ways To Treat Thyroid Problems
6. Fatty Foods:
Fatty foods are probably one of the worst foods for Hypothyroidism. The excess fat obtained from these foods disrupts the already hampered thyroid functionality. This slows down the body metabolism and leads to obesity, hypertension and cardiovascular problems.
Examples of fatty foods that thyroid patients should avoid:
- Fat meats like red meat
7. Iron Supplements:
If you have iron deficiency and taking iron supplements along with thyroid medication, then you must exercise caution! It is known that these pills interfere with hormonal drugs and slow down the absorption. The recommended way is to take iron supplements at least 3 to 4 hours before or after taking the thyroid medication.
Also, in people with Hypothyroidism, Iron pills are known to increase constipation and bowel problems. So, it’s important to check with a doctor on alternate formulations to prevent any such stomach-related disorders.
8. Calcium Supplements:
When calcium supplements are taken along with thyroid replacement drugs, the hormonal absorption goes low, and efficacy of the medication is decreased. So, maintain a gap of at least 4 hours before or after your thyroid medication to take any Calcium-based supplement or pills.
9. Antacids or Acid Reducing Products:
Patients who are taking thyroid medication must refrain from taking antacids within 4 hours. It is known that antacids containing calcium, aluminium, Calcium Carbonate etc. inhibit the absorption of hormones from the thyroid replacement drugs. (4) This minimizes the overall effect of the medication and also increases the need for a higher dosage.
Alcohol definitely tops the list of foods to avoid with thyroid problems. According to a study, alcohol acts as a toxin on the thyroid gland and hampers its functionality. (5) By suppressing the gland from performing its normal activities, alcohol leads to thyroid disorders like Hypothyroidism.
So, it is wise to stay away from alcohol when you have thyroid and if that’s not possible, drink in moderation!
11. Excess Iodine:
Many people often exceed the daily limit of iodine intake to cope up with deficiencies. This can lead to either an ‘underactive’ or an ‘overactive’ thyroid gland. Excess iodine is linked to both Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism, causing many issues related to physical and mental development. (6)
Here is a list of some iodine-rich foods to stay away from:
- Iodine Supplements (overdose)
- Iodized Salt
12. Gluten Foods:
Foods that contain gluten are known to disable the body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormones. Gluten is particularly bad for those who have auto-immune thyroid disorders. It not only inhibits the absorption of thyroid hormones but also damages the gland by provoking the body’s immune system to attack its own cells.
Here are some of the foods to avoid with a thyroid that contain gluten:
13. High Fiber Foods:
While dietary fibre is definitely good for the body, excess of it can cause side effects in thyroid patients. Eating more fibre than the body limitations may interfere with the functionality of the thyroid gland. Also, fibre-rich foods are usually high in other compounds like goitrogens, gluten etc. which are not recommended for thyroid patients.
So, it’s better to eat this list of high fibre foods in moderation:
- Brown Rice
14. Caffeine Foods:
In a recent observation made by health experts, it was known that people who took thyroid medication with caffeine beverages like coffee showed abnormal thyroid levels. This, they attribute to caffeine which can block the absorption of the thyroid hormone and reduce the efficacy of the medication.
So, it is advisable to maintain a gap of 30 minutes to 1 hour between the medication and a caffeine drink.
Examples of high caffeine foods to avoid during thyroid are:
- Green Tea
- Dark Chocolate
- Energy Drinks
See Also: Diet That Improves Thyroid Function
15. Nightshade Vegetables:
Although Nightshade Vegetables are healthy, they contain high amounts of lectins and alkaloids, which cause potential damage to the digestive system. In the long run, nightshade veggies can affect the gut barrier and lead to auto-immune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In people with pre-existing thyroid problems, these foods can further damage the gland and aggravate the condition.
Examples of Nightshade Vegetables are:
- Bell Peppers
- Cayenne Pepper
We hope this article helped you understand about the foods to avoid in the thyroid. By staying away from these foods and swapping them with healthy choices, you can bring the hormonal levels under control. With little care, it’s easy to overcome a thyroid disorder and lead a healthy life again!
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can Thyroid Be Cured Once the Patient Stops Eating Anti-Thyroid Foods?
Ans: No! Thyroid is dependent on a number of factors, out of which diet is just one. While diet may not directly contribute to the condition, it can certainly influence the efficacy of medication on the gland. So, avoiding certain foods can lead to faster results and better outcome with thyroid replacement drugs. This doesn’t guarantee a complete cure!
2. Is There is a Specific Diet for Hypothyroidism?
Ans: There is no particular diet plan specified for Hypothyroid patients. However, doctors recommend eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet that is perfectly balancing with all the essential nutrients. Also, staying away from the bad foods for thyroid can speed up the results of medication.
3. What are the Fruits to Avoid in Thyroid?
Ans: Certain fruits like peaches, strawberries, pears etc. act as goitrogens. When consumed in excess, they can block the absorption of the medication and damage the gland. This is why it is better to avoid them during thyroid problems or eat in moderation.