The thyroid is the most common endocrine worldwide disease. In India, the cases of thyroid diseases are increasing at a high rate. It has been estimated that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid.
Thyroid diseases are different from other diseases in terms of their ease of diagnosis and accessibility to medical treatment. Our thyroid gland is butterfly-shaped, just above our collarbone. It is one of our endocrine glands, which makes and releases hormones in our body. Thyroid hormones control the rate of many activities in our body. This process also includes the rate of how fast we burn calories and how fast our heart beats. All of these activities are part of our body’s metabolism.
Research shows that approximately 1 in 8 women will be affected by a thyroid condition at some point in their lives. The risk for women is about 10 times higher than for men. One reason is that thyroid disorders are often triggered by autoimmune responses, which happen when the body’s immune system starts to attack its cells.
There are no specific foods or dietary supplements that help treat thyroid disorders. However, to ensure that you remain as healthy as possible it is essential to eat the right variety of foods in the correct proportions.
According to the NHS Eatwell Guide, one should:
- eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- Plan your meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
- have some dairy or dairy alternatives
- Don’t forget to add beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein to your diet
- choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
- drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)
Here are some of the essentials you need to have in your diet:
Eggs: whole eggs are best, as much of their iodine and selenium are found in the yolk, while the whites are full of protein
Meat: all meats, including lamb, beef, chicken, etc.
Fish: all seafood, including salmon, tuna, halibut, shrimp, etc.
Vegetables: mostly all vegetables, cruciferous vegetables are fine to eat in moderate amounts, especially when cooked
Fruits: fruits including berries, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, etc.
Gluten-free grains and seeds: rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds etc
Dairy: all dairy products, including milk, cheese, yoghurt, etc.
Beverages: water and other non-caffeinated beverages.
Foods to avoid: Thankfully, you don’t have to cut off a large amount of food. However, you still need to prevent only a few specific foods. Such as:
Soy foods: soybean, tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.
Certain vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, kale, spinach, etc.
Fruits and starchy plants: sweet potatoes, cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc.
Nuts and seeds: millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc.
Processed foods: all varieties
Highly processed foods: hot dogs, frozen meats, cookies, etc.
Supplements: Adequate intakes of selenium and iodine are essential for thyroid health, but getting too much of either may cause harm. Only supplement with selenium and iodine if a healthcare professional has instructed you to do so.
•Beverages: coffee and alcohol — these beverages may irritate your thyroid gland.
Lastly, the only thing people with hypothyroidism should aim to do is to eat a diet based on vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. These are low in calories and very filling, which may help prevent weight gain.