Hypothyroidism diet: Foods for underactive thyroid

Hypothyroidism diet Foods for underactive thyroidCorrect diet for your thyroid can offer many benefits like reducing the risk of hypothyroidism, which can lead to numerous health complications. But what foods should you be consuming for your thyroid? Well, we are about to tell you, but first it’s important to understand just how important the thyroid truly is.

Our thyroid is often overlooked unless a doctor raises concerns about it. Although you may not think about it much, it plays a major role in producing hormones and regulating our metabolism. When this process is thrown off, it can cause hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).


The good news is, hypothyroidism is manageable and one way to do so is through diet.

Hypothyroidism and diet

Just as our body requires nutrients for it to function properly, so does the thyroid. This is why diet is so important for proper management of hypothyroidism.

There are certain types of food that are best for hypothyroidism. They are iodine-rich and selenium-rich foods. Before we outline foods for hypothyroidism, let’s discuss the importance of iodine and selenium in your diet.

Iodine is required for the normal functioning of the thyroid, so when the thyroid is under-performing, boosting iodine can help it. Iodine-rich foods may aid in symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and assist your metabolism. Selenium is also highly beneficial for your thyroid as it aids in the production of hormones making your thyroid not have to work as hard.

Now that we understand the role of iodine and selenium in addressing hypothyroidism, let’s outline foods that you should eat if you have hypothyroidism.

Table: Hypothyroidism diet meal plan

Food typeEffect on thyroidFoods
Meal plan – Foods to eat
Selenium-rich foodsHelps to convert T4 to T3Brazil nuts, tuna, tomatoes, onions, meat, chicken, salmon, whole unrefined grains, dairy products, garlic
Iodine-rich foodsA major component of thyroid hormone balance, helps in keeping up with your body’s metabolism.Sea vegetables, yogurt, cow’s milk, eggs, iodized salts, seaweeds and seafood, salt water fish, sushi, nori rolls, celtic sea salt
Tyrosine-rich foodsEssential for proper thyroid function. Good sources of protein, vitamin B12 and seleniumWheat, peanuts, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, beef, fish, dairy products, eggs, bananas, avocados, poultry, almonds, salmon
Non-cruciferous veggies and fruitContain high amounts of antioxidants that help protect your body against damage from free radicals. Also, contain electrolytes like potassium and sodium, which contribute to the movement of fluid in body tissues.Vegetables – Squash, tomato, bell peppers, green beans, peas, cucumber, asparagus, eggplant, carrots, and celery

Fruits – Mangoes, citrus fruits, blueberries, dark-skinned grapes, pomegranates, guavas, cherries, apricots, apples, pineapples, and kiwis”

NiacinContributes to normal thyroid functionBrown rice, chicken, lamb, pomegranates, tuna, turkey
Meal plan – Foods to avoid
Goitrogenic foodsPrevent body’s ability to absorb iodine and interfere with the function of the thyroid gland.Bamboo shoots, canola oil, horseradish, bok choy, foods with gluten, garden cress, tempeh, babassu, sweet potato
Cruciferous foodsContain goitrogens, which can inhibit the body’s uptake of iodine.Cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, broccoflower and similar green leaf vegetables.
OthersCertain foods must be avoided in order to prevent recurrence of hypothyroidism symptoms.Cassava, linseed, kohlrabi, kale, turnips, mustard greens, mustard, millet, cauliflower, rutabagas, peaches, coffee, spinach

Hypothyroidism diet meal plan chart. Download diet plan chart (JPG)

Iodine-rich foods for hypothyroidism

  • Iodized salt
  • Seaweeds and seafood
  • Salt water fish
  • Sushi
  • Nori rolls
  • Celtic sea salt

Selenium-rich foods for hypothyroidism

  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Whole unrefined grains
  • Brazil nuts
  • Dairy products
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Eating foods to help hypothyroidism can benefit your overall good health as well. Eating them daily can help boost the health of your thyroid and make living with hypothyroidism manageable and easier to live with.

On the other hand, there are foods you should avoid as they can worsen symptoms and the condition itself.

Foods to avoid in a hypothyroidism diet

Many of the foods to avoid with hypothyroidism are common foods that should generally be avoided or limited as they do not contribute to good health. These items are:

Soy: Soy can interfere with hormones, especially in women.

Cruciferous vegetables: Generally food items like broccoli and cabbage are recommended for healthy eating, but not if you have hypothyroidism. This type of food can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones.

Gluten: Although commonly avoided by those with Celiac disease, gluten should also be avoided if you have hypothyroidism.

Fatty food: Fatty foods may interrupt the absorption of thyroid medications.

Sugary foods: With an already slower metabolism adding sugary foods will lead to greater weight gain.

Processed foods: Hypothyroidism can result in higher blood pressure, so the added salts from processed foods will only worsen this.

Too much fiber: Fiber is good to keep us regular, but not in the case of those with hypothyroidism.

Coffee: You may have to cut back on your morning coffee. Caffeine can limit the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medications.

Alcohol: Alcohol can disrupt the production of thyroid hormones and reduce the body’s ability to utilize these hormones.

What is hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)?

Hypothyroidism is a disruption in the normal processes carried out by the thyroid. Production of hormones reduces, which can lead to weight gain, constipation, changes in skin – becoming too dry – fatigue, and even depression.

Hypothyroidism can occur due to stress, if the thyroid is removed through surgery, or simply if it stops functioning normally.

Hypothyroidism symptoms


If you’ve already been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, then you are now aware of the best foods for your condition. If you have concerns about your thyroid, but haven’t gotten it checked out yet, this is a list of the symptoms you may be experiencing:

  • Thinning hair
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Memory fog
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Pain, stiffness, or swelling of joints
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • Sensitivity to cold

These symptoms, although part of hypothyroidism, are also quite common among other illnesses. Speak to your doctor and get your thyroid checked to know for sure.

Living with hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is something you can live with. Along with medications, a hypothyroidism diet can greatly improve your everyday life and assist your thyroid. Enjoying these foods to help hypothyroidism is a great way to boost iodine and selenium – both essential for a healthy thyroid. Lastly, ensuring you’re not consuming the foods to avoid for hypothyroidism can help you feel better in the long run and make your thyroid hormone replacement that much more effective.



Related Reading:

Thyroid disease linked to low selenium diet: Study

Hyperthyroidism increases risk of breast cancer