What should your diet include if you have hyperthyroidism? The thyroid gland is only about 5 cm long, but a malfunction triggers a wide range of symptoms. Why? Simply because this small butterfly-shaped gland releases hormones that directly affect almost all bodily functions.
Therefore, when you suffer from any kind of change, you need to improve your diet to regulate your activity and avoid complications. What is hyperthyroidism? Which foods should you eat and which ones should you avoid? We will answer these questions in detail.
What is hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid gland is a small gland located in the neck. It secretes various hormones, some of which are essential for the body. Its good function is fundamental to our health, as these hormones affect almost every cell in the body. In particular, the features include the following:
- Energy regulation
- Protein synthesis
- Enzymatic activity
- Regulation of body temperature
Hyperthyroidism is a disorder in which the gland does not produce thyroid hormones normally. In this case, and for various reasons, the problem is increased secretion of T3 and T4 hormones. Several diseases have been described, such as Graves’ disease, nodular goiter or toxic thyroid adenomas.
When hyperthyroidism appears, all bodily functions tend to accelerate. As a result, the following symptoms may appear:
- Sudden weight loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased sweating
If you suffer from a thyroid disease, such as hyperthyroidism, you should see your doctor or endocrinologist to guide the treatment that is best for each situation.
Diet and hyperthyroidism
As experts from the British Thyroid Foundation point out, there is no dietary protocol for thyroid disease. However, it is important to maintain a good diet, as it helps to control the symptoms and improve the quality of life.
Various nutrients play an important role in the function of the gland and the normal secretion of hormones. The most important are iodine and selenium, although other food contents such as cruciferous vegetables or soy are also studied.
Taking them into account is important as it means better health. Do not forget that hyperthyroidism is a disease that, once diagnosed, will last a lifetime.
According to medical specialist Oscar Vidal, there are two aspects we need to consider:
- Follow a diet with few foods that help produce thyroid hormone, such as iodine.
- Add more antioxidant-rich foods that allow healthy cells to be regenerated. An example might be selenium.
How to control the amount of iodine if you have hyperthyroidism?
In a diet for hyperthyroidism , you need to monitor iodine levels since it participates in the production of hormones in the thyroid gland. Rational consumption is necessary because it is very difficult to eliminate it.
The main sources of iodine in food are as follows:
- Iodized salt
- Fish, seafood or algae
- Dairy products
- Egg yolk
- Some cereals and cereals
Foods from the cruciferous family (such as broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts) can also inhibit iodine absorption in the thyroid gland.
What should your diet include if you have hyperthyroidism: Selenium
Selenium is one of the nutrients that has the closest relationship to the thyroid gland. A review of scientific literature establishes the specific role of this trace element in its function. It is deposited in many body tissues, especially in the thyroid gland, where it is found in the form of selenoproteins.
This type of protein has a very important antioxidant effect, and therefore selenium contributes with a protective activity in the thyroid gland and to the improvement of health in general.
Some specialists discuss selenium supplementation in connection with Graves’ disease. However, this nutrient can also be obtained through the diet. We find it in foods such as salmon, whole grains or eggs. However, there is no doubt that the biggest source is Brazil nuts.
What should your diet include if you have hyperthyroidism: Vitamin D.
As we have already mentioned, thyroid hormones have effects on a large number of cells and bodily functions. Among these are the bones, which can be weakened if hyperthyroidism is not treated properly.
In addition, as the British Thyroid Foundation points out, low levels of vitamin D are observed in people with this disease, although more research is needed to find out what the cause and its possible consequences are.
What is clear is that it does not hurt to pay special attention to vitamin D, and to strengthen positive habits for musculoskeletal health. Some recommendations are as follows:
- Exercise regularly and perform activities that strengthen your muscles.
- Sunbathe for ten minutes a day. It is wise to take advantage of the hours when the sun is weak to avoid unwanted effects.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus for optimal skeletal health. You can find these in dairy products, cold water fish, almonds, chickpeas, vegetables and seeds.
A good diet for hyperthyroidism is essential for successful treatment
A malfunction in thyroid hormones causes hyperthyroidism. Although the main treatment is pharmacological or surgical, a special diet for hyperthyroidism cannot be overlooked.
Following a balanced and healthy diet as well as paying attention to foods with iodine and selenium is crucial as an accessory to pharmacological treatment and to ensure a better quality of life.