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Thyroid Diet Plan to Avoid Cancer

what-is-thyroid-cancerHyperthyroidism happens when there’s too much thyroid hormone in your body. This condition is also called thyrotoxicosis. An overactive or enlarged thyroid gland may produce more thyroid hormone.

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck. It produces thyroid hormones called T3 and T4. These hormones:

help your body use energy
help balance body temperature
help your brain, heart, and other organs function properly
Some types of hyperthyroidism may be genetic. Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States. It’s seven to eight times more common in women than men. In some cases, thyroid cancers may also cause an overactive thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism can be easily confused with other health problems. Its range of symptoms includes:

sudden weight loss
increased appetite
anxiety, irritability and nervousness
mood changes
difficulty sleeping
feeling hot
sweating
fast heartbeat or pounding heart
fatigue or tiredness
muscle weakness
hand tremor or slight shaking
more frequent or other changes in bowel movements
skin thinning
fine, brittle hair
menstruation changes
enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
swelling at base of your neck
eye changes
red, thick skin on upper feet and shins
Standard treatment for hyperthyroidism
Treatment is necessary if you have hyperthyroidism. High levels of thyroid hormones in your body can be toxic. Left untreated, hyperthyroidism may lead to heart problems, bone loss, fracture risk, and other issues.

Your doctor may prescribe antithyroid medications. These drugs help to balance an overactive thyroid gland. In some cases, treatment may include radiation therapy or thyroid surgery.

Certain foods can help keep your thyroid healthy and reduce some of the negative effects of this condition. Some minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients are necessary to balance thyroid function.

A low-iodine diet is usually prescribed prior to some treatments for hyperthyroidism. For example, you’ll need to follow a low-iodine diet before having radiation therapy to remove excess or damaged thyroid cells.

After treatment, it’s still important to balance iodine in your diet. Other foods help to protect your thyroid and reduce the long-term effects of hyperthyroidism.

Foods to eat if you have hyperthyroidism
Low-iodine foods

The mineral iodine plays a key role in making thyroid hormones. A low-iodine diet helps to reduce thyroid hormones. Add these foods to your daily diet:

non-iodized salt
coffee or tea (without milk or dairy- or soy-based creamers)
egg whites
fresh or canned fruit
unsalted nuts and nut butters
homemade bread or breads made without salt, dairy, and eggs
popcorn with non-iodized salt
oats
potatoes
honey
maple syrup
Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables and other types may stop your thyroid from using iodine properly. They may be beneficial for hyperthyroidism:

bamboo shoots
bok choy
broccoli
Brussels sprouts
cassava
cauliflower
collard greens
kale
mustard
rutabaga
Vitamins and minerals

Several nutrients are essential for thyroid health and to balance thyroid hormone production.

Iron

Iron is important for many vital bodily functions, including thyroid health. This mineral is needed for blood cells to carry oxygen to every cell in your body. Low levels of iron are linked to hyperthyroidism. Get plenty of iron in your diet with foods such as:

dried beans
green leafy vegetables
lentils
nuts
poultry, such as chicken and turkey
red meat
seeds
whole grains
Selenium

Selenium-rich foods may help to balance thyroid hormone levels and protect your thyroid from disease. Selenium helps to prevent cell damage and keep your thyroid and other tissues healthy.

Good food sources of selenium include:

Brazil nuts
couscous
chia seeds
mushrooms
tea
meat, such as beef and lamb
rice
oat bran
poultry, such as chicken and turkey
sunflower seeds
Zinc

Zinc helps you use food for energy. This mineral also keeps your immune system and thyroid healthy. Food sources of zinc include:

beef
chickpeas
cocoa powder
cashews
mushrooms
pumpkin seeds
lamb
Calcium and vitamin D

Hyperthyroidism causes weak and brittle bones. Bone mass may be restored with treatment. Vitamin D and calcium are necessary for building healthy bones.

Calcium-rich foods include:

spinach
collard greens
white beans
kale
okra
calcium-fortified orange juice
almond milk
calcium-fortified cereals
Vitamin D is found in these low-iodine foods:

vitamin D–fortified orange juice
vitamin D–fortified cereals
beef liver
mushrooms
fatty fish
Healthy fats

Fats that are from whole foods and largely unprocessed may help reduce inflammation. This helps to protect thyroid health and balance thyroid hormones. Nondairy fats are important in a low-iodine diet. These include:

flaxseed oil
olive oil
avocado oil
coconut oil
sunflower oil
safflower oil
avocado
unsalted nuts and seeds
Spices

Some spices and herbs have anti-inflammatory properties to help protect and balance thyroid function. Add flavor and a dose of antioxidants to your daily meals with:

turmeric
green chilies
black pepper
Foods to avoid if you have hyperthyroidism
Excess iodine

Eating too many iodine-rich or iodine-fortified foods may lead to hyperthyroidism or worsen it in some cases.

A teaspoon of iodized salt gives you 284 micrograms of iodine. Seafood has the most iodine. Just 1 gram of seaweed contains 2 milligrams of iodine. The recommend dose of iodine is about 1.1 milligrams per day. A low-iodine diet requires even less.

Avoid the following seafood and seafood additives:

fish
seaweed
prawns
crabs
lobster
sushi
carrageen
agar-agar
algae
alginate
nori
kelp
Avoid other foods high in iodine such as:

milk and dairy
cheese
egg yolks
iodized salt
iodized water
some food colorings
Some medications also contain iodine. These include:

amiodarone (Nexterone)
cough syrups
medical contrast dyes
herbal or vitamin supplements
Nitrates

Chemicals called nitrates may cause your thyroid to absorb too much iodine. This can lead to an enlarged thyroid and hyperthyroidism.

Nitrates are found naturally in some foods. Processed foods may contain added nitrates. It may also be found in drinking water. Avoid or limit foods such as:

processed meats (sausage, bacon, salami, pepperoni)
celery
lettuce
beets
spinach
parsley
leeks
endive
cabbage
fennel
dill
turnip
broccoli
carrots
cucumber
pumpkin
Gluten

In some people, gluten may harm the thyroid by causing inflammation. Even if you don’t have a gluten allergy or intolerance, it may be beneficial to restrict or limit gluten. Check food labels for gluten-containing ingredients such as:

wheat
barley
brewer’s yeast
malt
rye
triticale
Soy

While soy doesn’t contain iodine, it’s been shown to interfere with some treatments for hyperthyroidism in animals. Avoid or limit foods with soy such as:

soy milk
soy sauce
tofu
soy-based creamers
The takeaway
Hyperthyroidism may not always be preventable, but it’s treatable. See your doctor if you have any of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Follow your treatment exactly as prescribed, including all dietary recommendations.

Talk with your doctor or dietitian about making short-term and long-term changes to your diet. This can help balance thyroid function and protect your body from the effects of hyperthyroidism.

Enjoy home-cooked whole foods on a low-iodine diet. Avoid restaurant, boxed or processed meals, and prepared sauces and marinades. These may contain added iodine.

If you’re on a low-iodine diet, it can be more difficult to get enough vitamin D and calcium. Talk with your doctor or dietitian about taking supplements for these nutrients.

Seek support from a thyroid support group. Most dietary restrictions will be temporary. Other dietary changes are part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle for better overall health and wellness.

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