Best Diet for Hypothyroidism: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid

Best Diet for Hypothyroidism: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid

Hypothyroidism is stated to be a condition where body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones help to control your growth and metabolism. As a result people suffer from hypothyroidism may experience tiredness, hair loss, weight gain, feeling cold, feeling down and many more symptoms.

Hypothyroidism affects 1 to 2% of people worldwide and ten times affect women than men. Foods alone don’t cure hypothyroidism. A combination of right medication and nutrients helps to restore thyroid function and minimize your symptoms.

This helps to understand best diet for hypothyroidism including which foods to eat and to avoid on research basis.

What Is Hypothyroidism?

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly shaped gland which sits near base of your neck. It makes and stores thyroid hormones which affect nearly every cell into your body.

When thyroid gland receives signal so called TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) which releases thyroid hormones into bloodstreaem. Signal is sent from pituitary gland found at base of your brain, when thyroid hormone levels are low.

Thyroid gland don’t release thyroid hormones even when its plenty of TSH. This is called as primary hypothyroidism and its most common type of hypothyroidism.

90% primary hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. Other causes of hypothyroidism are an iodine deficiency, a genetic disorder taking certain medications and surgery which removes part of thyroid.

Other times thyroid gland doesn’t receive enough TSH, signal release more thyroid hormone. This happens pituitary gland which doesn’t work properly so called as secondary hypothyroidism.

Thyroid hormones are very important which helps to control your growth, repair and metabolism — a process where your body converts what you eat into energy.

Your metabolism affects your temperature and helps fast to burn calories. That’s why people with hypothyroidism often feel cold, fatigued and might gain weight easily.

How Does Hypothyroidism Affect Your Metabolism?

The thyroid hormone control speed up your metabolism. When you increase metabolism then more calories your body which will burn at rest.

People who have hypothyroidism which make less thyroid hormone. This helps to slower metabolism and burn fewer calories at rest.

A slow metabolism comes up with several health risks. This may leave you tired, increase blood cholesterol level and make harder for you to lose weight.

If you find difficult to maintain your weight due to hypothyroidism then try doing moderate or high intensity cardio. This includes various exercises like fast paced walking, running, hiking and rowing.

Research shows that moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise might help to boost up your thyroid hormone levels. This may help to increase the metabolism.

People with hypothyroidism might benefit from increasing protein intake. Research shows that higher protein diet helps to increase speed of your metabolism.

Foods to Avoid

However, foods that contain goitrogens should be eaten in moderation and ideally cooked. You must also avoid eating processed foods contain more calories. You must also avoid eating high processed foods as they contain more calories. This can be problem for someone with hypothyroidisim since they might gain weight easily.

Here is a list of foods and supplements you should avoid completely:

  • Millet: All varieties.
  • Highly processed foods: Hot dogs, cakes, cookies, etc.
  • Supplements: Though adequate selenium and iodine is essential for thyroid health, too much might cause harm. Iodine and Selenium supplements must be avoided unless prescribed by your doctor.

There is a list of foods where you can eat in moderation. These foods have goitrogens or are known irritants if consumed in large amounts.

  • Foods that contain gluten: Bread, pasta, cereals, beer, etc.
  • Soy foods: Tofu, tempeh, edamame beans, soy milk, etc.
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, etc.
  • Certain fruits: Peaches, pears and strawberries.
  • Beverages: Coffee, green tea and alcohol — these beverages may irritate your thyroid gland

Foods to Eat

There are plenty of food options for people with hypothyroidism, including the following:

  • Eggs: Whole eggs are best, as much of the iodine and selenium are found in the yolk, while the whites are full of protein.
  • Meats: All meats, including lamb, beef, chicken, etc.
  • Fish: All seafood, including salmon, tuna, halibut, shrimp, etc.
  • Vegetables: All vegetables are fine to eat. Cruciferous vegetables are fine to eat in moderate amounts, especially when cooked.
  • Fruits: All other fruits including berries, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, etc.
  • Gluten-free grains and seeds: Rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds and flaxseed.
  • Dairy: All dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
  • Beverages: Water and other non-caffeinated beverages.

People who have hypothyroidism must eat a diet based around vegetables, lean meats, fruits. They are low in calories and are filling which might prevent weight gain.

Sample Weekend Meal Plan

Here is a week-long meal plan for someone with hypothyroidism.

This provides healthy amount of protein which has low to moderate amount of carbs that help to maintain healthy weight.

Make sure to take your thyroid medication at least one to two hours before your first meal or as advised by your doctor. Nutrients such as fiber, calcium and iron might stop your body from absorbing the thyroid medication properly.


  • Breakfast: Gluten-free bread with eggs.
  • Lunch: Chicken salad with 2–3 Brazil nuts.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried chicken and vegetables served with rice.


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with 1/4 cup (31 grams) of berries.
  • Lunch: Grilled salmon salad.
  • Dinner: Fish baked with lemon, thyme and black pepper served with a side of steamed vegetables.


  • Breakfast: Gluten-free bread with eggs.
  • Lunch: Leftovers from dinner.
  • Dinner: Shrimp skewers served with a quinoa salad.


  • Breakfast: Overnight chia seed pudding — 2 tbsp (28 grams) chia seeds, 1 cup (240 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract with sliced fruits of your choice. Let sit in a bowl or mason jar overnight.
  • Lunch: Leftovers from dinner.
  • Dinner: Roast lamb served with steamed vegetables.


  • Breakfast: Banana-berry smoothie.
  • Lunch: Gluten-free chicken salad sandwich.
  • Dinner: Pork fajitas — sliced lean pork, bell peppers and salsa served in corn tortillas.


  • Breakfast: Egg, mushroom and zucchini frittata.
  • Lunch: Tuna and boiled egg salad.
  • Dinner: Homemade gluten-free Mediterranean pizza topped with tomato paste, olives and feta cheese.


  • Breakfast: Omelet with various vegetables.
  • Lunch: Quinoa salad with green vegetables and nuts.
  • Dinner: Grilled steak with a side salad.

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