Diet for under active thyroid
My friend has been diagnosed with an under active thyroid. She has put on a lot of weight and is lethargic and has a very low mood. She finds it difficult to motivate herself.
What diet would you recommend to get back her joie de vivre?
Answer: An underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism) results in your thyroid not producing enough hormones.
The effects are likely to include tiredness, lack of energy and depression - the same symptoms you describe your friend is experiencing.
Other symptoms might also include heightened sensitivity to cold weather, dry skin and aching muscles.
A doctor should be consulted but a typical treatment is likely to include hormone replacement supplements (levothyroxine).
If your friend is pregnant or breastfeeding the hormone levels should be checked regularly (usually by blood tests) to ensure the correct levels of thyroid hormones.
When you get your blood results back don't assume that all is well if the nurse says your hormone range is normal. Everyone has their own optimum range so discuss this with your doctor to establish what is best for you.
A lack of iodine in the diet can contribute to thyroid problems so include foods such as sea vegetables. Where I live near Newquay there is an abundance of sea beet to be foraged - it's similar to spinach and at its best in the spring. Kelp is another sea vegetable rich in iodine but should only be consumed in moderation.
Natural probiotic yoghurt, milk, cheese, eggs,fish especially oily fish, cranberries, strawberries are all good sources of iodine and are naturally healthy foods.
To manage weight gain and constipation eat high fibre foods such as whole grains and wholewheat bread.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day which helps balance your metabolism and suppresses appetite.
Foods to beware of:
Soy in its various forms as it can interfere with hormonal uptake.
Avoid drinking coffee within an hour of taking thyroid medication; calcium fortified orange juice should not be consumed within 3 hours of taking medication.
Avoid snacking during the day unless it is a piece of fresh fruit.
Exercise is an important part of the daily routine as it helps to lift mood and generates a sense of wellbeing. Try to go for a brisk walk of at least 40 minutes 3 times a week or engage in a similar form of aerobic exercise such as running, cycling or swimming.