The thyroid is one of the most important and fragile glands in the body, and unless you’re aware of the signs your diet is ruining your thyroid, you could be eating your way to poor health. Many people are tested for low thyroid function and the results come out just fine, so they don’t give it much thought. Yet, what most people don’t know is that tests aren’t the best measurement, believe it or not, due to regulations. Thyroid level ranges can be right above or below the level where your thyroid’s health measures up, so technically, if you’re told your thyroid is fine, you might be just one or two points away from being at risk for poor thyroid health, yet not meet the criteria to be diagnosed with it. Consider these signs your diet is ruining your thyroid and be sure you take care of it the best way possible.
1. Low Sodium
If you consistently find yourself weak, even if you eat regularly, this is one of the main signs your diet is ruining your thyroid. Too many raw goitrogenic vegetables, not enough natural sodium in the diet, low iodine and low B12 counts can all contribute to low thyroid function. I used to avoid salt like the plague and eat tons of vegetables raw until I found out they were causing my low thyroid and making me weak. Raw veggies are healthy but if you have thyroid symptoms such as being weak, fatigued, etc. they could be contributing to lower thyroid function. Salt is another factor to consider. You should avoid too much added sodium, but sodium is actually a crucial mineral to the diet, and aids in everything from thyroid health to energy, to a better metabolism. Add natural sources from seafood the most natural form of salt you can find. You should also consume sea salt in small amounts, and my favorite kind is Himalayan sea salt, which is wind processed to retain all its natural minerals.
2. Low Carb
Did you know your low carb diet or fear of carbs can hurt your thyroid? Not consuming enough carbs weakens your metabolism, despite the initial weight loss it causes. It also teaches your body to use proteins and fats for energy, which exhausts many organs in your body in the process and can even cause toxicity for some individuals due to high urea contents from too much protein. Going low carb also hurts your thyroid by weakening the function of the T3 and T4 hormones, which make up your thyroid. Be sure to consume three servings of low glycemic starches each day from oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, winter squash, wild rice and fruit like berries for the best options.
3. Too Much Caffeine
Another dietary consideration is how much caffeine you consume. Consuming too much caffeine weakens both the thyroid and the adrenals. This taxes your entire body and will create multiple health issues ranging from weakness, irritability, sugar cravings, dark circles under the eyes, heart palpitations and even constipation. Moderate your caffeine intake to keep both your adrenals and thyroid in tip top condition.
4. Not Enough Fat
Do you avoid all sources of fat? If so, you’re not doing you or your thyroid any favors. Fat is crucial to the entire body, and especially to a healthy functioning thyroid. Your thyroid’s favorite choices for fuel are coconut oil, raw nuts and seeds, and avocados. These fats nourish and enhance your thyroid function and provide essential fuel as well. Key nutrients these fats include range from medium chain fatty acids, B vitamins, magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium.
I understand it isn’t easy to eat all organic these days, but for your thyroid’s sake, you should do what you can. Pesticides found throughout inorganic foods damage the thyroid and are toxic to the whole body. Would you drink Round-Up? I didn’t think so! That’s basically what you’re eating when you eat conventional produce. I don’t buy everything organic, but I do try to stick with the Dirty Dozen list when avoiding foods that are higher in pesticides.
6. Gluten Grains
Though you might tolerate gluten okay, you might want to consider eliminating it if you have a low thyroid function. Gluten-containing grains can contribute to inflammation, and this weakens the thyroid, causing hypothyroidism. The reasons are the hard to digest proteins found in gluten, along with the acidity of the grains. This combination can contribute to inflammation and irritate the thyroid, which thrives off an alkaline body.
7. Processed Diet Food
For your thyroid’s sake, please give up all those processed diet foods, including premade shakes, soy-based powders, bars and anything else that claims it is a diet food helping you lose weight. These foods almost always contain processed soy, which is your thyroid’s worst enemy. Sure small amounts of it might not be that bad, but you shouldn’t be eating diet foods anyway. They lack nutritional value no matter what the label says and have too many additives to count. Eat real, whole foods, and your thyroid will thrive. You’ll probably also lose more weight this way too!
If you’ve ever had low thyroid function before, or have thyroid issues in general, , I highly recommend reading the book, The Thyroid Diet, which you can find a link to below. It’s a great resource I still turn to today if I start having symptoms that pop back up. Have you ever had thyroid issues before?