Best and worst foods for your thyroid health

The attention to food and nutrients to encourage proper functioning of the gland is often ignored. The nutrients that the thyroid gland needs are easily available in many food items. Ankita Ghag, clinical nutritionist, Co-founder and director, Vacchan Arogya lists out some food stuffs to consume and avoid, in order to boost the thyroid health

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Your thyroid is your body’s silent workhorse-most of the time; it functions so smoothly that we forget it’s there. But this little, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck helps regulate your metabolism, temperature, heartbeat, and more, and if it starts to go haywire, you’ll notice.

nkita Ghag, clinical nutritionist, Co-founder and director, Vacchan Arogya
Ankita Ghag, clinical nutritionist, Co-founder and director, Vacchan Arogya

Though the thyroid is small, it’s a major gland in the endocrine system and affects nearly every organ in the body. Thyroid gland secrets hormones such as Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4), which are responsible for various metabolic activities in the body, said Ankita Ghag, clinical nutritionist, Co-founder and director, Vacchan Arogya.

These activities include:

  • Bone formation
  • Regulates protein, fat and carbohydrate catabolism in all cells
  • Maintains growth hormone secretion, skeletal maturation
  • Necessary for muscle toning and vigor
  • Maintains cardiac rate

There can be various consequences due to excessive or deficient production of these hormones; which may create imbalance in physiological and hormonal regulation leading to several thyroid disorders such as Goiter, Hypothyroid, Hyperthyroid, Graves’s disease to name few, informed Ghag.

Hypothyroid: Deficient production of T3 and T4 hormones and increased secretion of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is an indicator of condition known as Hypothyroidism. Common alterations which occur due to Hypothyroid are:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Altered body temperatures
  • Changes or abnormalities in the menstrual cycle
  • Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Tingling and numbness in the hands or fingers
  • Hoarse voice

 To overcome it, one must control their eating habits:

  • Include complex carbohydrates such as ragi, bajra, jowar, fish and sea weed in diet to avoid iodine deficiency
  • Consume salads, garden cress seeds, chicken liver, dark green leafy vegetables, raisins, lentils, sunflower seeds, eggs, chicken, spinach etc
  • Stay hydrated and consume iodisweighed salt
  • Avoid bakery items, oily / fried items, coconut and groundnut and cruciferous foods
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Talk to your doctor before using caffeine-containing products, such as tea and soft drinks.
  • Exercise daily as per physicians or instructors advise to regulate the metabolism

Hyperthyroid: Elevated levels of T3 and T4 hormones, with suppressed levels of TSH results in condition known as Hyperthyroidism. It’s less known as compared to Hypothyroidism. Common alterations which occur due to Hyperthyroid are:

  • Weight loss
  • Altered Heart rate (Fast – Tachycardia)
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Alteration in appetite
  • Diarrhoea or frequent bowel movements
  • Changes in vision
  • Menstrual disturbance
  • Impaired fertility
  • Mental disturbances
  • Tremors
  • Thyroid enlargement

To overcome it, control your eating habits:

  • Consume complex carbohydrates such as oats, ragi, jowar, garden cress seeds, chicken liver, dark green leafy vegetables, raisins, lentils
  • Eat a small meal or snack every 3 or 4 hours and stay hydrated
  • Limit foods and beverages that contain sugar, lactose, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, and sorbitol.
  • Avoid bakery items, oily / fried, spicy, coconut and groundnut, beverages with caffeine
  • Avoid raw eating of cruciferous foods
  • Exercise daily as per physicians or instructors advise to regulate metabolism