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How Can Food Affect Your Thyroid?

The thyroid gland is an important organ which controls a host of bodily functions. Some of the most critical include metabolism, growth, energy, weight, and digestion. So, it is clear to see that keeping the thyroid healthy is critical if you hope to avoid any issues in the future. Those who suffer from conditions such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism may be prescribed medication on occasion in order to help this gland function at a normal level. This often involves regulating iodine uptake. However, might there be certain foods which can also play a role? Let us take a look at what industry experts have to say.

The Role of Iodine

It should first be made clear that according to reputed sources such as the Mayo Clinic, there is little empirical evidence to suggest that certain foods may be able to completely alleviate a thyroid-related condition. Having said this, iodine is still an important nutrient which the thyroid needs to remain healthy. It therefore stands to reason that those who are suffering from an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) should consume iodine-rich foods. A handful of examples include:

  • Cod
  • Tuna
  • Seaweed (such as kelp)
  • Milk, yogurt and cheese

Another important point to highlight is that consuming iodized salt can help you to obtain the recommended levels of iodine. The goods news is that the majority of Americans use this type of salt. This is one of the reasons why instances of hypothyroidism are relatively low when compared to other countries. 

Are There Any Foods Which are Bad for the Thyroid?

This is a bit of a loaded question, as the answer will depend upon which condition you happen to have been diagnosed with. However, some general observations can still be made. Those with an overactive thyroid should obviously avoid eating foods that are too rich in iodine, as these could make the condition worse. The same holds true for anyone who may be undergoing T3 thyroid treatment, as certain interactions may hamper the intended effects.

There are likewise some foods which could possibly harm normal thyroid functioning. According to, some examples include fruits high in starch, peanuts and pine nuts and soy-related foods such as tofu. However, these may have to be consumed in large amounts to negatively impact the thyroid. Some research has also shown that foods high in fiber may prevent the effectiveness of certain thyroid medications (they will become more difficult to absorb). This is also why it is a good idea to speak with your doctor or a qualified nutritionist in order to develop a specific dietary plan that can benefit your existing thyroid condition. 

We can now see that some foods are beneficial for your thyroid while others may have the opposite effect. As research is still ongoing, the chances are high that more discoveries will be made in the future. Always speak with a medical professional if you suspect that there may be a problem with your thyroid gland.