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Are there best foods that help with an underactive thyroid?

1 answer | Last updated: Jul 07, 2014
A fellow caregiver asked...

I have an underactive thyroid. Are there any foods that can help the thyroid work better?


Caring.com User - Beth Reardon
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Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As...
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A fellow caregiver answered...

Diet plays a significant role in proper thyroid function. To perform optimally our thyroid, just like the rest of our body depends upon the availability of certain raw materials or See also:
Mediterranean Diet

See all 197 questions about Diet and Nutrition
building blocks. The production of thyroid hormone for example requires tyrosine, an amino acid found in protein foods, omega 3 fats from cold water fish, and iodine, a mineral found in iodized salt, fish and sea vegetables like seaweed. The conversion of thyroid hormone to its active form then requires other nutrients including selenium, zinc, chromium, iron, B vitamins, vitamins A and D. It is also important to recognize those foods that may impair thyroid function. These foods contain substances called goitrogens, which when consumed in large amounts may interfere with the utilization of iodine by the thyroid gland. Fortunately cooking inactivates these goitrogens so they tend not to be problematic when consumed as part of a normal healthy diet. I have put together a chart below which provides a nice summary of my recommendations.

Iodine Food Source: Iodized salt (not sea salt) sea vegetables (Wakame, dulse, nori, arame, kombu) and seaweed

Omega 3 fatty acids Food Source: Cold water sockeye salmon, canned salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod

Selenium Food Source: Brazil nuts, brewers yeast, wheat germ, whole grains, wheat germ, whole grains, sunflower seeds, tuna, mushrooms, oatmeal

Iron Food Source: Animal protein, green leaf vegetables

Zinc Food Source: Beef, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin, yogurt, green peas, boiled spinach,fish whole grains, sunflower seeds

Chromium Food Source: Onion, tomatoes, brewer's yeast, oysters, liver, whole grains, wheat germ, bran cereals, eggs, spinach and potatoes

B vitamins Food Source: Whole grains, lentils, tempeh, chile peppers, beans, nutritional yeast, liver, turkey and tuna

Vitamin A Food Source: Yellow and orange vegetables, milk, eggs, or vitamin supplement: preferably in the form of beta carotene and mixed carotenoids

Vitamin D3 Food Source: 1000 "“ 2000 IU/day as a supplement

Foods that may interfere with thyroid function when eaten in large amounts/raw Food Source: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Millet, Mustard greens, Peanuts, Pine nuts, Radishes, Rutabaga,Soy

Good luck!