7 Foods to Avoid with Hypothyroidism

  • Women Smiling
    7 Foods to Avoid with Hypothyroidism
    When it comes to managing your hypothyroidism, the most important thing that you put into your mouth each day is probably your hormone replacement medication. But certain foods, supplements and medications can interfere with your thyroid medication or otherwise affect your health, so it's helpful to be aware of what to avoid and what to approach with caution.

  • Composition with containers of dietary supplements and capsules
    1. Avoid dietary supplements containing kelp.
    If you live in the United States, you're very unlikely to experience iodine deficiency because iodine is often already added to certain foods, including salt. The American Thyroid Association cautions that too much iodine can actually make your hypothyroidism worse. That means it's best to avoid taking iodine-rich dietary supplements that contain the seaweed known as kelp.

  • Broccoli
    2. Eat cruciferous vegetables, but use caution.
    Experts used to caution patients with hypothyroidism to pass up the broccoli, cauliflower, kale and other cruciferous vegetables because they contain a compound called glucosinolate that could interfere with thyroid function. However, now it's more common to suggest that people just limit the amount that they consume on a daily basis, instead of avoiding them altogether, since cruciferous vegetables offer numerous other health benefits. Another suggestion: lightly cook these veggies before you eat them.

  • Roast beef diner
    3. Avoid fatty meats.
    Forego the fatty meats and other sources heavy on the saturated fat. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with hypothyroidism may be at increased risk for heart disease because of an association between hypothyroidism and higher levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. As a general rule, look for leaner cuts of beef, or go for poultry or fish.

  • Tablets
    4. Be cautious about taking antacids.
    Antacids often contain calcium, which can interfere with the absorption of hypothyroid medication. Timing matters when it comes to taking them. You don't have to completely avoid antacids, but you may want to alter your typical consumption pattern. For example, if you tend to pop a couple of calcium-rich antacid tablets each day, try to take them at a different time of day than you take your medication.

  • packet of bills
    5. Take caution with iron tablets.
    Just as you may want to stagger the times at which you take your thyroid medication and your antacids, the same goes for iron tablets and antacids that contain aluminum. Also, if you tend to have constipation, you may want to consult your healthcare provider about whether you need to be taking the iron supplements, which can worsen constipation.

  • Soynuts
    6. Limit your soy consumption.
    You might want to limit your consumption of foods containing soy. There's some disagreement among researchers about whether it's a good idea for people with hypothyroidism to just avoid eating products containing soy. However, the general consensus seems to be that you should wait a few hours after taking your hormone replacement medication before consuming any soy so the soy won't interfere with your body's absorption of the hormone. It might also be a good idea to avoid eating soy products on a daily basis, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

  • bladderwrack
    7. Avoid certain herbs.
    You may have seen certain herbs like coleus, guggul and bladderwrack that are marketed as a "safe, natural remedy" for people with low thyroid function. But they may not actually be safe. According to the University of Maryland Medical System, more research is needed to prove that those herbs are safe and effective. For example, bladderwrack contains iodine, and coleus can interfere with blood-thinning and blood pressure medications.

7 Foods to Avoid with Hypothyroidism

About The Author

Jennifer Larson has more than 15 years of professional writing experience with a specialization in healthcare. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and memberships in the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Education Writers Association.
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  2. Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day. Harvard School of Public Health. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vegetables-full-story/
  3. Hypothyroidism: Complications. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/basics/complications/con-20021179
  4. “Is it true that people who have hypothyroidism should avoid soy?” Hypothyoidism. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/expert-answers/hyperthyroidism/faq-2005...
  5. Erdamar H, et al. The effect of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and their treatment on parameters of oxidative stress and antioxidant status. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2008;46(7):1004-10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18605962
  6. Ross DS. Patient information: Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/hypothyroidism-underactive-thyroid-beyond-the-basics
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Last Review Date: 2019 Jun 20
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