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Hyperthyroidism Diet: Foods to Avoid and Eat

Last updated on : 04 Jun, 2024

Read time : 15 min

Hyperthyroidism: an overview

Hyperthyroidism is a thyroid gland disorder which produces excess thyroid hormone. This disorder is sometimes referred to as an overactive thyroid. Graves’ disease, an autoimmune illness, is the most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism.

The thyroid gland at the front of the neck produces thyroid hormones known as T3 and T4. It has a shape resembling a butterfly. These hormones include:

  • Aid in the efficient use of energy
  • Aid in the regulation of body temperature aid in the appropriate functioning of the brain, heart, and other organs

Weight loss, anxiety, sweating, and frequent bowel movements are signs of an overactive thyroid. Difficulty sleeping and muscle weakness are also common symptoms.

Hyperthyroidism can happen at any age, including in children. The chances of women being diagnosed with hyperthyroidism are higher than men. Fifty per cent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. Hyperthyroidism occurs in individuals between the ages of 20 and 50.

Hyperthyroidism is most likely to occur in those who

  • Have a family history of thyroid disease.
  • Have other underlying health conditions, such as
  • Consume large amounts of food or medicine containing iodine.
  • Use nicotine products
  • were pregnant within the past six month

Read more: Hyperthyroidism symptoms, causes and preventions

Hyperthyroidism treatment includes antithyroid drugs and radioactive iodine. Surgical removal of the thyroid gland may be necessary in some cases.

Although there is no “natural cure” for hyperthyroidism. Adopting specific diet and lifestyle changes can support thyroid treatments. Remember that these changes should not replace prescribed medications for hyperthyroidism. Instead, they can complement the treatment and help in managing the symptoms.

There are two types of diet for thyroid patients. Diet for hypothyroid patients and hyperthyroid patients. Discover foods that can help manage hyperthyroidism symptoms in this article. Learn what to include or avoid in your diet plan.

Choose the Right Foods for Hyperthyroidism

There is no specific diet designed for hyperthyroidism. Eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins provides essential nutrients. It helps maintain a healthy body without consuming excessive calories.

Your healthcare provider may recommend specific vitamins and nutrients for your diet.  The best food for thyroid patients Include

  • High in protein, iron, and Vitamins B
  • Antioxidant-rich foods to help control appetite
  • Include cruciferous foods to reduce excess thyroid hormone
  • Consume foods to prevent weight loss and promote muscle development:
  • Protein source for Non-vegetarian – Lean meat

Here is a list of fruits that you can include in a hyperthyroidism diet:

Grapes, papaya, oranges, banana, strawberries, apples, kiwi, dates, watermelon, guava, pear, pomegranate. You can also include avocados, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches.

Vegetables that you can cover in the diet chart for thyroid patients are: 

Cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli. Carrot, pumpkin, squash, cucumber, mushroom, lettuce, kale, mustard, and onion. Fenugreek leaves, coriander leaves. 

Including these fruits in the diet chart for thyroid patients is essential. They help produce thyroid hormones, which are crucial for managing hyperthyroidism.

We often wonder which fruits and vegetables we can include in the diet chart for the thyroid patient. 

Diet chart for thyroid – Hyperthyroidism patient

Meal timingDiet 
Early Morning (6:00-7:00 am)Drink 1-2 glasses of water. 
Breakfast (7:00 – 8:00 am)Upma/ Idli/ Poha/ Sprout moong chila/ cauliflower paratha
Post Breakfast (10:00– 11:00 am)1 cup Fruits (mango, apple, pear, pomegranate) /Coconut water/ handful nuts (almonds, walnut, cashews) / Sprouts.
Lunch (12:30- 1:30 pm)Chapati, Rice/ veg pulao, Vegetable ( Lady’s finger/ bottle gourd/ bitter gourd/cauliflower/cabbage/Pumpkin/onion)  Dal ( Split moong dal/ split Masoor dal/ Toor Dal/ Chana Dal) Salad (Carrot/ Lettuce/ cucumber, Zucchini) Buttermilk. (Non- vegetarians can include Fish/ chicken/ shrimp curry)
Snacks (4:00 – 4: 30 pm) Green tea/ Sprouts/ Small bowl of mixed nuts (Cashew, almonds, flax seed, sunflower seed)
Evening (before dinner at 7:00 pm)Homemade soups- carrot soup, pumpkin soup, Lentil soup
Dinner (8:00-8:30 pm) Roti, Vegetable ( Lady’s finger/ bottle gourd/ bitter gourd/cauliflower/cabbage/Pumpkin/onion) and Dal ( Split moong dal/ split Masoor dal/ Toor Dal/ Chana Dal) For (Non- vegetarians – Fish/ chicken/shrimp)

Uncovering the Best Food for Hyperthyroidism

Iodine: Reduce the intake for an excellent thyroid

  • Thyroid hormone production requires mineral iodine.
  • Eating a low-iodine diet can reduce thyroid hormones.
  • Your healthcare provider may suggest a low-iodine diet. Excessive iodine intake can intensify hyperthyroid symptoms.
  • The thyroid uses iodine for hormone production. So reducing iodine consumption may be beneficial in managing the condition.

Next time you prepare a hyperthyroidism diet, include this

  • Non-iodized salt
  • Tea or caffeine (without milk or dairy- or soy-based creamers)
  • Egg whites
  • Unsalted nuts and nut butter
  • Bread made from scratch or bread made without salt, dairy, or eggs
  • Popcorn with non-iodized salt
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Maple syrup

Cruciferous vegetables

  • Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. These are beneficial for managing hyperthyroidism.
  • They are rich in nutrients and contain glucosinolates that support thyroid health.
  • Cruciferous vegetables produce a mild goitrogenic effect. It can interfere with the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland.
  • This interference is beneficial in cases of hyperthyroidism.
  • Incorporate raw cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale in salads. It has the goitrogenic effect.
  • Ensure enough iodine intake while incorporating cruciferous vegetables.
  • Cooking or steaming cruciferous vegetables can help reduce their goitrogenic activity. Thus, avoid overcooking it.

Incorporate Minerals into Your Diet

Iron 

  • People with hyperthyroidism often show high ferritin levels. It is a protein that stocks iron in the body.
  • Though there is an increase in iron levels. It causes an inflammatory response that stops iron utilisation in the body. Leading to anaemia.
  • Iron deficiency can aggravate the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. It leads to increased fatigue and weakness.
  • Including iron-rich foods like lean meats, legumes, and dark leafy greens in your diet. It helps in maintaining optimal iron levels.

Read more: Tips to increase hemoglobin

Selenium

  • Of all human organs, the thyroid contains the highest selenium concentration.
  • Selenium, a micronutrient, is vital in regulating thyroid hormone metabolism.
  • Because it aids in the synthesis and metabolism of thyroid hormones.
  • Our body cannot synthesise it.
  • Including selenium-rich foods in the diet for hyperthyroidism is beneficial. These foods include seafood, eggs, garlic, broccoli, seeds, and shiitake mushrooms. Flax seeds, chia seeds, oatmeal, and nuts are also high in selenium.
  • Selenium deficiency increases the risk of hyperthyroidism.
  • Bananas are a selenium-rich fruit with anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant protection. It benefits thyroid health by protecting cells against free radical damage.

Zinc

  • Zinc is vital for the way our body uses thyroid hormones.
  • Zinc is vital in supporting a healthy immune system and thyroid function.
  • Zinc deficiency can cause both hyper and hypothyroidism.
  • Zinc rich foods are chickpeas, cashews, mushrooms, Pumpkin seeds and lamb. 

Potassium

  • Hyperthyroid individuals with low levels of potassium experience muscular weakness.
  • Banana is also a rich source of potassium, thus helping to maintain thyroid health. 

Calcium-rich foods

  • Individuals with hyperthyroidism often experience decreased bone mineral density. Meaning their bones have lower levels of essential minerals like calcium.
  • When bone mineral density is low, it indicates weakened bone health. Thus it increases the risk of fractures and broken bones.
  • Consume calcium-rich food like milk, dairy products like paneer, and curd/yoghurt. Sesame, chia and flax seeds, walnuts, and peanuts are calcium-rich.

Read more: What is the best age for a calcium supplement?

Phosphorus: 

  • There is a link between Hyperthyroidism and decreased phosphorus levels in their blood. This condition results in increased renal excretion of phosphorus.
  • Low phosphorus levels can affect bone health and cause muscle weakness and fatigue.
  • Include Chicken, Organ meats, Seafood, dairy products, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Nuts, amaranth, soya beans and lentils are rich in phosphorus.

Unlock the power of Vitamins.

Vitamin D: 

  • Vitamin D supplementation supports health and immune function.
  • Vitamin D regulates bone health and calcium-phosphorus balance. Low vitamin D levels are associated with Graves disease.
  • Thus, hyperthyroid individuals may need Vitamin D supplementation for deficiency.
  • Replenish vitamin D levels by including mushrooms, milk, yoghurt, fish, cereals, and eggs.

Read more: Symptoms and causes of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin B12: 

  • People with hyperthyroidism may need more vitamin B12. Their bodies use it faster due to increased metabolism.
  • Improve your Vitamin B12 levels with meat, fish, milk, cheese, and eggs. Bananas, strawberries, spinach and kidney beans are rich in Vitamin B12.

Read more: Vitamins B complex deficiency- causes and symptoms

The Benefits of Eating Healthy Fats for Hyperthyroidism

Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are nutrients in fatty fish, such as wild salmon, trout, tuna, and sardines. Omega 3 fatty acid is abundant in flaxseeds and walnuts.
  • They are beneficial for our body, including our thyroid gland.
  • Research shows that omega-3s can help our thyroid work better. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which otherwise can harm its function.
  • So, eating foods rich in omega-3 can be good for our thyroid and health.

Olive oil 

  • Olive oil has particular substances called phenolic compounds.
  • They work as antioxidants, protecting our cells from damage.
  • Olive oil helps reduce the harmful effects of hyperthyroidism on the heart.

Other edible oils that can be a part of the thyroid diet are coconut, sesame, and sunflower. Coconut, sesame and sunflower oils have anti-inflammatory properties.  They are potent for reducing thyroid gland inflammation.

Add Spice to your thyroid diet.

Turmeric: 

  • Turmeric contains curcumin, having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress associated with hyperthyroidism.

Other spices:

  • Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of green chilies and black pepper support thyroid function.

The Ultimate List of Foods to Avoid in Hyperthyroidism

Eating a balanced diet is essential for people with hyperthyroidism, like everyone else. It means choosing food for the thyroid that gives your body the nutrients it needs.

It’s critical to remember that specific thyroid foods to avoid can aggravate your symptoms. 

Awareness of these foods can help you make informed dietary choices and improve your well-being. Patients with hyperthyroidism avoid food that is as follows.

Gluten

  • Thyroid foods to avoid that contain gluten are  maida (refined wheat flour), oats, wheat, and barley.
  • It can worsen thyroid hormone production in people with hyperthyroidism.
  • Gluten-free alternatives like rice, quinoa, and corn can be good options

Excess fibre 

  • Fibre is good for your health, but it is one of the thyroid foods to avoid if you have hyperthyroidism.
  • Excessive dietary fibre from vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes affects thyroid medication absorption. These thyroid foods to avoid can interfere with the absorption of thyroid medication.

Excess iodine

  • Iodine is a substance that makes the thyroid gland produce more thyroid hormones.
  • But if someone consumes too much iodine, it can worsen their hyperthyroidism symptoms.
  • Thyroid foods to avoid usually contain high-iodine. They include-
  1. Iodised salt
  2. Dairy products (butter, milk chocolate, cheese, ice cream, and yoghurt)
  3. Seafood (seaweed, fish, shellfish, sushi)
  4. Supplements containing iodine

Read more: Iodine Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Soy 

  • It is very tempting to try flavoured soy milk, thinking it’s tasty and healthy. If you have hyperthyroidism, it’s the best food to avoid for thyroid patients.
  • Soy milk, tofu, and soy sauce affect hyperthyroidism treatments like radioactive iodine therapy. 
  • Commercial soy milk is often sweetened with added sugar to enhance its taste. So, if you have hyperthyroidism, avoid soy-containing foods to help manage your condition.

Processed Food

  • In hyperthyroidism, limit processed or fried foods intake, as they can worsen symptoms.
  • Thyroid foods to avoid, such as biscuits, noodles, pasta, and pastries, cause thyroid gland inflammation. This inflammation can disrupt the normal functioning of the thyroid.

Caffeine 

  • Most of us love having morning coffee before starting our everyday work. Caffeine can make you feel more awake and energised, especially when stressed.
  • Caffeine causes rapid heartbeat, tremors, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping in people with hyperthyroidism.
  • Caffeine can also interfere with how your body absorbs the thyroid medication. That’s why cutting back on caffeine is ideal if you have hyperthyroidism.
  • Caffeine alternatives include natural herbal teas, flavoured water, or hot apple cider.

Read more: Does Coffee and Caffeine Cause Anxiety?

Alcohol 

  • People who consume alcohol are at a higher risk of having hyperthyroidism. Alcohol suppresses the production of thyroid hormones which can disturb the hormonal balance.
  • Alcohol has other toxic effects on the body that can make the situation even more critical.  

Read more: Tips to Overcome Alcohol Addiction

Conclusion

Genes and the environment cause hyperthyroidism, resulting in excessive production of thyroid hormones.

Hyperthyroidism may not always be preventable. However, it is treatable through various strategies, including changes in your diet.

The dietary requirements for managing hyperthyroidism differ from those of hypothyroidism. Ask your nutritionist to help you with short and long-term modifications to your diet. It balances your thyroid function. Thus, it protects your body from the effects of hyperthyroidism.

It’s a home run if you love homemade cooked food. Focusing on enjoying home-cooked foods while following a low-iodine diet is more manageable. Control your cravings for restaurants, processed foods, and pre-made sauces and marinades. They may contain added iodine.

Seek support from those already going through similar experiences. Remember that many dietary restrictions for hyperthyroidism are temporary. Adopting other dietary changes is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle that supports well-being.

Frequently Asked Question

Is rice ok for hyperthyroidism?

Yes, it is ok to consume rice for hyperthyroidism. But prefer brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice is low glycemic index food. Brown rice keeps hormone levels in the normal range, including thyroid hormone.

Can we drink milk in hyperthyroidism?

Yes, hyperthyroidism patients can generally consume milk as part of a balanced diet.  Milk is an excellent calcium source, vital for maintaining bone health. People with hyperthyroidism have high calcium in their blood. This leads to weak bones, like osteoporosis. To prevent osteoporosis in hyperthyroid patients should eat calcium-rich food.

Are almonds good for hyperthyroidism?

Almonds are a good source of calcium. Hyperthyroidism prevents calcium absorption, thus leading to brittle bones. Including calcium in the diet of hyperthyroid patients can improve calcium in bones.

What is the best water to drink for hyperthyroidism?

Drinking enough clean, safe, and filtered water is essential. Stay hydrated and support functions, including proper thyroid function.

What is the best breakfast for hyperthyroidism?

Whole grain cereal with low-fat milk, Vegetable omelette, Greek yoghurt with fruits and nuts and Oatmeal with seeds and fruits are the best breakfast options. Remembering thyroid foods to avoid and overuse of iodised salt is crucial.

Can you fully recover from hyperthyroidism?

Yes, it is possible to recover from hyperthyroidism. Many people restore normal thyroid function with appropriate treatment and management. The specific treatment approach depends on the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism. It may involve medications, radioactive iodine therapy, or in some cases, surgery.

What is the weakness of hyperthyroidism?

One of the weaknesses linked with hyperthyroidism is its impact on the body’s metabolism and energy levels. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can cause weak bones (osteoporosis) and heart problems.

Is ghee good for hyperthyroidism?

Ghee is a food that contains a good amount of iodine, which is vital for the thyroid hormone to work. Consuming an appropriate amount of ghee can help regulate thyroid function.

What is the best vegetable for hyperthyroidism?

Vegetables like kale, Broccoli, radishes, and cauliflower belong to the cruciferous family.  These foods have goitrogenic properties. They can reduce the production of thyroid hormones.  It eases hyperthyroid symptoms by affecting the iodine processing in the thyroid gland.

Are peanuts good for hyperthyroidism?

Peanuts are rich in protein, healthy fats. It is abundant in selenium and zinc, which are suitable for your thyroid. Peanuts also have goitrogens, which can affect your thyroid if you overeat. So, it’s vital to enjoy peanuts in moderation. Ask your doctor before incorporating peanuts into your diet chart for thyroid.

Is POHA suitable for hyperthyroidism?

Eating a bowl of poha is a nutritious choice for a meal. It contains fibre, vitamins, and healthy fats. Poha is low in cholesterol and calories. Poha, rich in fibre and selenium, is an excellent thyroid treatment food. Include it in different recipes as it improves thyroid function.

Is idli good for hyperthyroidism?

Fermented foods like idli have good bacteria called probiotics.  These probiotics help improve the health of our gut, which is affected by thyroid imbalance.  When our gut health is not good, it can cause inflammation in our organs. Hyperthyroidism happens when there is inflammation. So, eating foods with probiotics like idli can help manage hyperthyroidism.

Is Palak good for hyperthyroidism?

Calcium supports bone health and regulates body functions. Hyperthyroidism interferes with calcium absorption leading to weak bones. Leafy greens, like spinach, provide essential calcium. Enjoy them in salads, smoothies, or cooked dishes for benefits.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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