What are the Best Foods And Nutrients For Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body is not capable of making required thyroid hormones. It affects 10 times more likely to women than men. Foods and diet alone won’t cure hypothyroidism. Along with food, a combination of the right nutrients and medication can help restore thyroid function and reduce your symptoms. Although all nutrients and foods are good for health, thyroid patients have to limit and restrict few nutrients in their daily diet.

When these restricted nutrients are taken by hypothyroid patients, their condition may get worse. Likewise, following proper nutrient diet may also help to maintain or minimize the symptoms.

What are the functions of thyroid gland?

Thyroid gland is usually a small and butterfly shaped gland that is located near the base of your neck. The general function of thyroid gland is to produce and store thyroid hormones, which effects every cell in the body.

There are four main functions of the thyroid gland:

  1. Production of thyroxin, a hormone that regulates metabolism and affects body temperature, heart rate, and appetite.
  2. Production of calcitonin, a hormone that helps regulate calcium levels in the blood.
  3. Production of epinephrine (adrenaline), which increases heart rate and blood pressure to prepare for emergencies.
  4. Regulation of other hormones including estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and human growth hormones.

Thyroid hormones are very important to control growth, cell repair, and metabolism. Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat into energy. Your metabolism affects your body temperature and at what rate you burn calories. That is why people with hypothyroidism often feel cold and fatigued and may gain weight easily 

The signal that received by thyroid gland is known as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). When thyroid gland receive this signal, it releases thyroid hormone into the blood stream. This signal is send from pituitary gland when thyroid hormone levels are low.

Thyroid gland is not able to release enough thyroid hormone into the blood, even in the presence of THS. This situation is known as hypothyroidism.

Which nutrients are important?

Several nutrients are important for optimal thyroid health as follows:


Iodine is known as essential mineral which controls thyroid function. Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism might be cause due to iodine deficiency. The function of the thyroid gland is to absorb iodine from many foods and convert it into thyroid hormones such as triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). To make T3 and T4 hormones, thyroid cells combine iodine and tyrosine(amino acid). Iodine is only absorbed by the thyroid cells among all cells in the body.

Iodine is an important mineral in the body that is needed for the production of thyroid hormones. It is also essential for normal growth and development of the brain, muscles, and bones.

Iodine deficiency leads to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can cause symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, muscle aches, depression, dry skin and hair loss.

Iodine deficiency is common in many parts of the world because it can be difficult to get enough iodine from food alone. Iodized salt has been introduced in many countries to prevent iodine deficiency disorders but this may not always be enough due to people’s different dietary habits.

Iodine deficiency is caused due to lack of iodine foods in your diet such as iodized salt, sea foods etc. It is very commonly seen developing countries like Europe. However, it’s less common in people from developed countries like the United States.

If you have an iodine deficiency, add iodized table salt to your meals, eat more iodine rich foods like fish, dairy, and eggs, prunes, shrimp.

However, Iodine supplements are unnecessary, if not recommended by the doctor. Some studies said that getting too much of this mineral may damage the thyroid gland as iodine is found in plenty of foods.


The thyroid gland needs zinc to produce hormones for the body. Zinc deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, which is a condition where the thyroid does not produce enough hormones.

Zinc, a mineral found throughout your body, It helps your immune system and metabolism function to work properly. Zinc also plays an important role in wound healing and it help you to sense taste and smell. 

Zinc plays an vital role in the metabolism and activation of thyroid hormone in the body. Zinc may help the body regulate thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), the hormone that signals the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormones.

Zinc is found abundantly in food items, if you have hypothyroidism, include more zinc-rich foods like oysters and other shellfish, beef, and chicken in your diet.


Selenium is a trace element that plays an important role in the function of the thyroid gland. Selenium deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies worldwide and can lead to hypothyroidism. In people with mild or moderate deficiency, selenium supplementation may be beneficial.

Selenium is an important mineral found in high concentrations in the thyroid gland. Selenium is required for healthy immune function and it also has antioxidant benefit which protect the thyroid gland from damage by molecules called free radicals. It helps to activate thyroid hormones so they can be used by the body.

Selenium is an essential mineral that is vital to human health. It plays a key role in the production of thyroid hormones.

Selenium deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, which is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. The lack of these hormones leads to symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, depression and hair loss.

Selenium deficiency can be caused by a number of factors including diet, intestinal diseases or certain medications.

Adding selenium-rich foods to your diet helps to maintain thyroid gland. This includes Brazil nuts, organ meat, tuna, sardines, eggs, legumes and other cereals and grains.

Selenium supplement should be avoided unless advised by your doctor. Supplementation is provided in large doses, where in large amounts may be toxic.

Which nutrients are harmful?

Several nutrients may harm the health of those with hypothyroidism.


Goitrogens are substances that interfere the normal production of thyroid gland. This triggers to release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) by pituitary gland, which then leads to the growth of thyroid tissue, eventually leading to goiter. Goitrogens are substances that can suppress the function of the thyroid gland.

Goitrogens, such as thiocyanates, can impair thyroid hormone synthesis. Other goitrogenic substances include sulfites and nitrates. These chemical compounds interfere with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland or block its release into the bloodstream.

Goiter, is a swelling in the neck resulting from the enlargement of thyroid gland. This is commonly caused due to iodine deficiency, which can be associated with thyroid.

There are three main types of goitrogens:

  1. Gitorin’s : produced when plants get damaged.
  2. Thiocyanates : Formed when plants are sliced or chewed.
  3. Flavonoids : Found naturally in foods such as resveratrol in grapes, red wine and green tea etc.

However, many common foods contain goitrogens, including:

  • Soy foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.
  • Certain vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, Brussel sprouts, Collard greens, etc.
  • Fruits and starchy plants: sweet potatoes, cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc.

We may also inactivate goitrogens by cooking foods containing these substances.

What are the Best foods for hypothyroidism?

Foods high in iodine: Iodine is an important mineral for thyroid health. Foods high in iodine include seafood, seaweed, and iodized salt.

Foods rich in selenium: Selenium is a trace element found in soil and water and it plays a role in thyroid hormone synthesis. Foods rich in selenium include Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and Swiss chard.

Foods rich in vitamin A: Vitamin A is important for thyroid function because it helps produce the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, kale, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, apricots, mangoes.

Foods to eat

There are many foods that can help with hypothyroidism. These include:

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

Foods to avoid

Hypothyroidism persons should definitely avoid some foods in their daily diet. As said, foods that contain goitrogens should be eaten in moderation and properly cooked. You should avoid eating highly processed foods, as they are high in calories. High calorie foods can be a problem if you have hypothyroidism, as you may gain weight easily.

There are certain foods to avoid in hypothyroidism. These include:

1. Soy products: Soy products like tofu, soy milk, and soy sauce contain goitrogens which interfere with the production of thyroid hormones and can lead to hypothyroidism.

2. Iodine: Iodine is an essential mineral for the production of thyroid hormones and it should be consumed in moderation as well. Too much iodine can lead to hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid gland.

3. Chlorinated water: Excessive consumption of chlorinated water can lead to a condition called goiter where the thyroid gland enlarges due to lack of iodine in the body.

Here is a list of foods and supplements you may want to avoid:

  • Millet: all varieties
  • Highly processed foods: hot dogs, cakes, cookies, etc.

Supplements: Getting too much of selenium and iodine as supplement may cause harm. Use them when recommended by doctor.

Here is a list of foods you can eat in moderation:

  • Soy-based foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame beans, soy milk, etc.
  • Certain fruits: peaches, pears, and strawberries, etc.
  • Beverages: coffee, green tea, and alcohol. 


Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, and depression. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism and control how quickly we use energy from food we eat.

The treatment for hypothyroidism is either taking pills containing synthetic thyroxine or having an iodine treatment (in which case you will need to take thyroxine tablets).

There are plenty of healthy food options for people with hypothyroidism, including eggs, meat, fish, most fruits and vegetables, gluten-free grains and seeds, all dairy products, and non-caffeinated beverages. Cruciferous vegetables are fine to eat in moderate amounts, especially when cooked, all other fruits, including berries, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, etc.