8 Healthy Foods for an Underactive Thyroid

  • woman smiling in kitchen
    8 Healthy Foods for an Underactive Thyroid
    If you have an underactive thyroid gland, you may experience certain common symptoms, including weight gain, sluggishness, and continuously feeling cold. To keep yourself in the best possible health, consider your food choices thoughtfully. When you're hungry, here are the best types of food to reach for.

  • grains
    1. Whole Grains
    Some people with hypothyroidism develop constipation as a result of their metabolism slowing down. Eating foods that are made of whole grains and are high in fiber can help maintain a properly functioning gastrointestinal system and keep your bowels moving regularly.

  • Cherries
    2. Cherries and Berries
    Cherries, strawberries, blueberries and other berries should be on your "must buy" list. These deeply-colored fruits are high in antioxidants, compounds that can fight the potential harm to your cells caused by toxic free radical molecules. In fact, eating an array of fruits containing antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and flavonoids can provide a whole host of benefits beyond possibly providing some protection against certain types of cancer. For example, they're a good source of dietary fiber, which is good for your body's gastrointestinal system.

  • chicken
    3. Lean Meats
    Opt for lean meats and other sources of protein. Your underactive thyroid may make you more predisposed to developing heart disease. People with hypothyroidism often have high levels of the "bad" cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), according to the Mayo Clinic. Since hypothyroidism does contribute to higher cholesterol levels in some people, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases also suggests that you monitor your cholesterol levels.

  • Beautiful Bell Peppers
    4. Bell Peppers and Squash
    Vegetables that are high in antioxidants should also make frequent appearances on your dinner plate. They can also help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as several long-range studies have shown. Are you eating enough fruits and veggies? Chances are, you could increase your daily intake, as current dietary guidelines suggest consuming 5 to 13 servings daily, depending on your size and activity level.

  • Yogurt and Kefir
    5. Low-Fat Yogurt
    Consuming an adequate amount of calcium is critical because some people with hypothyroidism are at increased risk for bone loss. Sometimes it can take a while to settle on the appropriate dose of synthetic hormone to address your condition, so if you have been taking a dose that's too high, it could increase your chances of developing osteoporosis. Reduced-fat yogurt is also a good source of high-quality protein, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

  • dairy
    6. Other Low-Fat Dairy Products
    The calcium and Vitamin D found in milk, cheese and other dairy products helps your bones and teeth stay strong. Read the labels carefully to make sure you're getting the low-fat versions, which are healthier options for your heart than their full-fat counterparts. Another reason to get milk is that research shows there may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disease that is the most common form of hypothyroidism.

  • raw salmon
    7. Fish
    Plan to serve fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna a couple of times each week, since the omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart. They'll help you keep your "bad" cholesterol levels down, thus reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, many types of fish are rich in the trace element selenium, which can also help protect you against heart disease.

  • Nuts
    8. Nuts
    Are you nuts about nuts? Then you're in luck, because the American Heart Association suggests eating nuts or legumes every day as part of an overall healthy diet. Nuts and legumes are a good source of protein, as well as insoluble fiber, and research suggests that they can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, too.

8 Healthy Foods for an Underactive Thyroid

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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  6. Hypothyroidism: Complications. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/basics/complications/con-20021179
  7. Mozaffarian D. Fish, Mercury, Selenium and Cardiovascular Risk: Current Evidence and Unanswered Questions. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Jun; 6(6): 1894–1916. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2705224/
  8. Mazokopakis EE and Kotsiris DA. Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis and vitamin D deficiency. Current aspects. Hellenic Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 2014 Jan-Apr;17(1):37-40. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24563883
  9. Hypothyroidism. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/endocrine/hypothyroidism/Pages/fact-sheet....
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Last Review Date: 2019 Jun 20
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