Foods To Eat And Avoid When You Have An Underactive Thyroid Gland

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If you've been diagnosed with hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland), chances are good that your doctor prescribed replacement hormones for you to take on a daily basis. These hormone supplements should go a long way towards restoring your health and relieving your thyroid hormone deficiency symptoms. However, there are other things you can do in addition to taking your medication, to help keep your body healthy in spite of your thyroid disorder. One of these things is watching what you eat. Here's a look at two foods to eat regularly and two to avoid during thyroid treatment.

Foods to Avoid

Tofu and Other Soy Products

Soy products contain phytoestrogens, which can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. An excess of estrogen can interfere with the way your body utilizes thyroid hormone, thus making your prescription thyroxine supplements less effective than they should be. Since there are no studies to indicate how much soy is safe for sufferers of hypothyroidism, it's best to just steer clear of soy-based foods all together.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and turnips. Some of the compounds in these vegetables, when processed in your body, yield a compound called goitin that may interfere with your thyroid gland's ability to make hormones. The dose of synthetic hormones that your doctor has prescribed is based, in part, on the amount of thyroid hormone your thyroid is still making. If you reduce that amount by eating a lot of cruciferous veggies, your dose may no longer be effective.

Foods to Eat Often


Your thyroid gland needs plenty of iodine to function, and upping your intake of iodine might help it make just a little more thyroid hormone, thus easing your symptoms. Cranberries are high in iodine, so including them in your regular diet is a very healthy idea. These berries are a bit tart, so consider baking them into muffins or blending them into smoothies to make them more enjoyable. If you prefer to enjoy your cranberries in the form of juice, make sure you're buying 100% cranberry juice, not a blend that's mostly apple juice with a hint of cranberry tossed in.


Finally, you have a reason to enjoy those mashed potatoes with dinner. Potatoes are another great source of iodine. Make sure you leave the skins on to get as much of it as possible. Purchase organic potatoes only, as conventional ones may contain pesticides that may interfere with your metabolism and overall health.

Your doctor can give you additional advice on adopting a thyroid-friendly diet.