The Foods That May Worsen Your Thyroid Problems

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The thyroid gland is placed in the middle of your neck and it is in charge of controlling your temperature, weight and metabolism. It also affects your heart rate and energy levels, so in order for your body to function properly your thyroid gland needs to be healthy and produce the right amounts of the hormone thyroxin.

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland is underactive and it produces less hormones than necessary for its proper function. It can affect your body weight (in this case it may lead to weight gain), cause mood swings, low body temperature, problems with digestion and numerous other problems.

When properly treated, these symptoms are much easier to handle and a person with this disease can lead a completely normal life. Some foods help in the treatment process but some should be avoided as much as possible because they worsen the condition. Here are some of the worst food choices if you are dealing with an underactive thyroid.

1. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts…

These vegetables belong to the group of cruciferous vegetables and should be avoided in the case of hypothyroidism because of the common iodine deficiency you’re probably dealing with. For the proper production of the thyroid hormone, your thyroid gland needs iodine, and these kinds of vegetables prevent your body from absorbing it. In the raw form, these vegetables are more dangerous than when cooked, but they should be avoided altogether.

2. Foods that contain gluten.

These foods include rye, barley and wheat, and all the foods containing those ingredients. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on bread, but you should certainly choose one that doesn’t contain gluten. Gluten may make you less sensitive to your medication and prevent your body from absorbing it, which disrupts the balance of your treatment.


3. Junk food.

Junk food is packed with bad fats which affect your thyroid gland in such a way that it becomes unable to produce the thyroid hormone in the right amounts. These foods also minimize the effectiveness of your medication, so you should limit your intake of processed as well as fatty foods.

4. Soy and millet.

These foods contain high levels of phytoestrogen, and as a type of estrogen it affects the ability of your thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormone. It can cause complications even for completely healthy people, but for people with hypothyroidism it is one of the worst food choices. You should avoid it at all times, but if you simply love it and feel compelled to eat it occasionally, stick to very small portions.

5. Onions, cranberries, red wine, apples, grapes, and apricots.

These foods (and one drink) should also be avoided by patients with hypothyroidism because they contain quercetin, a flavonoid which inhibits the thyroid function. These foods, on the other hand, may be beneficial for those with hyperthyroidism and healthy people, as they affect the thyroid’s ability to take up iodine and produce the thyroid hormone, as well as prevent thyroxin from being activated in the liver. But those with hypothyroidism should have these foods in very rare occasions.

6. Coffee and energy drinks.

All the beverages containing caffeine affect the way your body responds to your medication and causes you to absorb less of it through your digestive system. If you don’t want to give up caffeinated drinks, at least don’t drink them with your medications or right after waking up in the morning. Let your medications first be absorbed, and then have your morning “pick me up”.

Eating candies and other sweet treats with your already slowed-down metabolism due to hypothyroidism will probably make you gain lots of weight very quickly. Moreover, with this condition it will be very difficult for you to lose weight, so gaining it quickly is a very reckless choice. Limit your intake of sugars and other high-glycemic foods, as excess weight can also affect the function of your thyroid gland.