As you know thyroid cancer patients and survivors must routinely follow a low iodine diet prior to a Radioactive Iodine Scan. What many people don't know is that what we eat or don't eat on a regular basis does affect our overall thyroid health and how effectively our thyroid hormone replacement therapy works.
Here are 2 basic lists to consider and discuss with your doctor or better yet a nutritionist.
Foods that May Speed Up a Slow Thyroid
1. Sea Weed: Naturally rich in iodine as well as trace minerals, sea weed has long been considered a food that supports thyroid function. Indeed, native peoples subsisting on their traditional diets often went to very great lengths to obtain sea vegetables in effort to avoid goiter. Iodine is critical to thyroid health and function. Without adequate dietary iodine, your body is unable to manufacture the thyroid hormones. Of course, excess intake of iodine-rich foods is also implicated in thyroid disease. Remember: moderation is the key, not excess. (Want to up your sea vegetable intake? Try my coconut milk kanten with wild plums or my cucumber and daikon radish salad with hijiki.)
2. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil also supports proper thyroid function as it slightly stimulates thyroid hormone production and the metabolism. In this way, wise incorporation of coconut oil into the the diet is thought to support thyroid health and help sufferers of hypothyroidism to lose weight. Coconut oil may also help to reduce cholesterol in hypothyroid patients as thyroid suppression in and of itself raises blood cholesterol levels. Coconut oil is largely comprised of saturatef fat and saturated fat promotes thyroid function.
3. Shellfish: Shellfish, like sea vegetables, are naturally rich in iodine – the nutrient that is critically important to thyroid function as iodine molecules are used inthe production of thyroid hormones.
Foods that May Slow Down a Speedy Thyroid
1. Fermented Soy Foods: Soy is very goitrogenic. A strong suppressor of thyroid hormones, some research indicates that soy may even be more effective in thyroid suppression than anti-thyroid drugs. Don’t forget that soy is a potent food, and that while sufferers of hyperthyroidism might welcome soy’s thyroid-suppressing effects, take care to eat soy in its fermented state in foods like tempeh and miso as soy also contains antinutrients like phytic acid which impair the body’s overall ability to absorb many nutrients.
2. Raw Cruciferous Vegetables: Raw cruciferous vegetables also suppress thyroid function. Cruciferous vegetables like kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflour, rapini, turnips and brussels sprouts contain goitrogens that interfere with iodine uptake and, in that way, also interfere with production of thyroid hormones. (Want to get more raw cruciferous veggies into your diet? Try my Simple Slaw with Flaxseed Oil & Honey.)
3. Millet: Millet, like cruciferous vegetables, contains goitrogens and interferes with iodine uptake. Cooking millet, as well as goitrogen-rich cruciferous vegetables, may mitigate its antithyroid effects to some degree.
Foods that Aren’t Doing Anyone’s Thyroid a Favor
1. Gluten-containing Grains: Recent research into autoimmune diseases and autoimmune thyroid disease in particular indicates that there’s a strong connection between celiac disease and thyroid disease. Indeed, study published in Digestive Diseases & Science indicates that sufferers of autoimmune thyroid disease have roughly a 400% greater chance of also suffering from celiac disease than control groups. Moreover, some research indicates that after 3-6 months on a gluten-free diet, those pesky anti-thyroid antibodies virtually disappear. That’s a poweful case to remove wheat, barley and other gluten-containing grains from your diet if you suffer from any form of autoimmune thyroid disease.
2. Unfermented Soy: Unfermented soy foods – particularly those rich in concentrated isoflavones and genistien – contribute to autoimmune thyroid disease. Reasearch into soy formula and its effects on babies indicates that babies fed soy formula are more likely to develope autoimmune thyroid disease and large concentrations of unfermented soy may adversely thyroid function in adults. If you eat soy, keep to small amounts and always choose fermented forms
About the Author: Wilma Ariza is the Founder of Stevie JoEllie's Cancer Care Fund a thyroid cancer awareness, access to care and free supportive services nonprofit project of United Charitable Programs Inc., a 501(c)3 Public Charity
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