Hormones produced by the thyroid gland — triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) — have an enormous impact on your health, affecting all aspects of your metabolism. They maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates, help control your body temperature, influence your heart rate, and help regulate the production of proteins.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid is under active and fails to produce enough hormones.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Lethargic feeling/Fatigue
- Course hair
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Weight gain or bloating
- Puffy face
- Dry skin
- Thinning of hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
- Muscle aches, tenderness, stiffness
- Pain stiffness or swelling in the joints
At first, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and weight gain. But as your metabolism continues to slow, you may develop more obvious signs and symptoms.
A lot of people who have hypothyroidism will be put on a thyroid replacement such as levothyroxine. This is one way of getting your TSH levels (thyroid stimulating hormone) under control if you want to go with the modern medicine. If you don’t want to go that route and prefer a more natural approach, then there are things you can do.
Dillisk, is a plant that is grown in Ireland and is also known as, Irish Seaweed. The purplish plant can be found on the shore of the west coast and in counties such as Sligo. Every nutrient in the sea is in dillisk, helping with the digestive systems. Minerals such as Iron, Iodine, and Potassium are all found in this super-food.
Your plant derived iodine comes from dillisk and other foods. In the United States, iodine is added to our salt, wherein Ireland and other countries it is not. In order for your body to keep a working thyroid, a person needs iodine. So adding natural forms of it to your diet, such as dillisk will help keep your iodine levels healthy.
Using dillisk is one example of changing your diet to include iodine. If you can’t get the plant where you’re at, then you can purchase plant derived iodine tablets and or liquid online or from your local health food store. An adult needs 150mg of iodine daily.
Inactivity and lack of exercise:
Exercise and a healthy diet are important for controlling chronic stress and managing hormone-related neurological function. Research shows that people who regularly exercise usually get better sleep, deal with stress better and more often maintain a healthier weight, all of which reduce some of the biggest risk factors and symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.
The Hypothyroidism Diet Plan by -Dr. Josh Axe
Foods to Eat on a Hypothyroidism Diet
Here are the top foods in a hypothyroidism diet to start the healing process:
Wild-caught fish — These provide the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, essential for hormone balance and thyroid function. Balancing the level of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in your hypothyroidism diet can reduce inflammation and support healthy neurological function. Fish such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, Atlantic mackerel, and Pacific sardines are some of the best sources of omega-3’s to increase neurotransmitter activity and support a healthy mood and immune system. Just be aware of the fish you should never eat and choose the best varieties available.
Coconut oil — This provides medium-chain fatty acids in the form of caprylic acid, lauric acid and capric acid, which support a healthy metabolism, increase energy and fight fatigue. A staple of the hypothyroidism diet, coconut oil is easy to digest, nourishes the digestive system and has antimicrobial, antioxidant and antibacterial properties that suppress inflammation. Coconut oil helps improve immunity and can increase brain function, endurance and mood while stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Seaweed — Good seaweeds are some of the best natural sources of iodine and help prevent deficiencies that disturb thyroid function. I’d recommend having some every week as part of your hypothyroidism diet. Try kelp, nori, kombu and wakame. You can look for dried varieties of these at health food stores and use them in soups, with tuna fish or in fish cakes.
Probiotic-Rich Foods — These include kefir (a fermented dairy product), organic goat’s milk yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, natto, sauerkraut and other fermented veggies. As part of your hypothyroidism diet, probiotics help create a healthy gut environment by balancing microflora bacteria. This reduces leaky gut syndrome, nutrient deficiencies, inflammation and autoimmune reactions.
Sprouted Seeds — Flax, hemp and chia seeds provide ALA, a type of omega-3 fat that’s critical for proper hormonal balance and thyroid function. Adequate levels of fats in your hypothyroidism diet support a healthy mood and brain function while helping to lower inflammation. Eating plenty of healthy fats also stabilizes blood sugar levels and can help you stay at a healthy weight.
Clean Water — Water helps with hydration and digestive function while preventing fatigue and moodiness. For prevention of constipation, low energy, and sugar cravings, drink at least eight ounces every two hours.
High Fiber Foods — People with hypothyroidism may have digestive difficulties, so aim for 30–40 grams of fiber daily. Not only does a high-fiber diet help with digestive health, it also improves heart health, balances blood sugar levels and supports a healthy weight by making you feel fuller. Some easy ways to increase fiber intake include eating more fresh vegetables, berries, beans, lentils, and seeds.
Bone broth — Beef and chicken stock contain the amino acids L-proline and L-glycine, which can help repair the digestive lining and improve hypothyroidism. Bone broth also contains numerous important minerals that nourish the digestive tract and prevent deficiencies like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and silicon. Bone broth has been shown to help overcome food sensitivities, improve energy and fight fatigue, increase immunity and lower pain in the muscles and joints.
Fruits and Vegetables — These are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are necessary for combating free-radical damage and lowering inflammation. They are nutrient-dense and should make up a large portion of a healthy diet since they support digestive health, brain function, heart health, hormone balance and a healthy weight.
Foods to Avoid on a Hypothyroidism Diet
These are foods that should not appear in your hypothyroidism diet:
Goitrogen Foods — People with hypothyroidism may want to stay away from eating large amounts of raw Brassica vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, soy and Brussels sprouts might impact thyroid function because these contain goitrogens, molecules which impair thyroid peroxidase. (11) When consuming these cruciferous vegetables, it’s best to steam them for 30 minutes before consuming and keep portions moderate in size. These pose more of a risk for people with iodine deficiencies.
Tap Water — Most tap water contains fluorine (an endocrine disruptor) and chlorine that inhibit iodine absorption. As mentioned earlier, iodine levels may be high enough in most people’s diets, but this doesn’t mean that everyone is capable of absorbing and using all of the minerals. (12)
Gluten — Many people with thyroid issues are also sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that results in an allergy to gluten. Gluten is found in all wheat, rye and barley products. Carefully check ingredient labels to avoid hidden gluten that is lurking in many packaged foods. Undiagnosed sensitivities to gluten can further raise inflammation, create nutrient deficiencies and worsen hormonal problems.
Conventional Dairy — Like gluten, dairy can be especially problematic for the thyroid, triggering reactions that raise inflammatory responses. Avoid conventional cow’s milk dairy products that are not organic and have been pasteurized. Consumption of organic, raw goat’s milk or organic A2 cow’s milk is a better choice.
Sugar — Sugar disrupts the hormone balance necessary for metabolism. People with thyroid issues have a difficult time losing weight. Because the thyroid is a key gland for hormonal balance and metabolism, it’s best to avoid sugar as it can contribute to hormonal disturbances, fatigue, mood changes, worsened depression and weight gain.
Refined Flour Products — Any food made with refined carbohydrates, like enriched wheat flour, for example, negatively impacts hormone levels and can contribute to weight gain. Refined flour products include bread, cereals, pasta and all baked goods. If possible, remove most grains from your diet altogether. Or at least try to greatly limit the amount of products you eat that are made with any flour by choosing 100 percent whole, ancient grains instead (like quinoa, buckwheat, etc.)
Natural Hypothyroidism Remedies:
- Fish oil (1,000 milligrams daily)
- Vitamin B-12 (One B-Complex capsule daily
- Probiotics (50 billion CFU per serving)
- L-tyrosine (500 milligrams twice daily)
- Selenium (200 micrograms daily)
- Iodine (150–300 micrograms daily)
- Ashwagandha (500 milligrams daily)
Essential Oils for Hypothyroidism:
- Combine three drops of frankincense oil with five parts lemongrass oil and five parts clove oil. Rub these directly on the thyroid, which is located at the front lower part of your neck. You can also try putting two drops of frankincense oil on the roof of your mouth twice daily.
- Similarly, try rubbing two to four drops of lemongrass oil and myrrh directly to the thyroid area along with the reflexology points on the feet (the big toes) and on the wrists multiple times per day.
- To combat muscle or joint pain, try a soothing bath using geranium, clove, myrrh and lemongrass oils.
- Fighting fatigue, try a combination of peppermint and citrus oils, such as lemon and grapefruit.
- To improve your mood and reduce anxiety or irritability, use chamomile, frankincense, and lavender oil, either diffused in your home or added to a bath.
In addition to using foods, I take natural supplements that through blood work have shown to help regulate my numbers.
- Terry Naturally Tri-Iodine (3 mg) – 90 Capsules<
- Raw Whole Food Thyroid Support Supplement By Peak Performance
Monitor yourself when trying to do it through herbals and foods or through medication. No matter what way you decide to try, be sure to have your blood work done every three months and consult your doctor. This way you can be sure your choice is the right one for you.
Recipes for using Dillisk:
Dulse / Dillisk Bread –
Recipe by Gavin Galvin, Drimcong House, Moycullen, Co. Galway, Ireland
Need: 25g Dulse / Dillisk – finely chopped
(preferably in a blender/food processor)
110g melted Butter
1 large carrot, grated
50g caster sugar
250g plain flour (sieved)
1.5 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celcius / 275 F / GM 1. Place chopped dulse into a sieve and soak in some water for 5 – 10 mins. Pat dry.
Brush the insides of a loaf tin with a little butter.
Put eggs, dulse, carrot, sugar, butter, and salt into a bowl and mix.
Fold in flour and baking powder.
Fill the tin with the mixture and bake for 40 – 50 mins – Check with a skewer – it should come out clean.
Allow cooling before turning out and slicing.
Dulse (Dillisk) Cheesies
Need: 125 g (4 ½ oz) plain flour
200 g (7 oz) Cheddar Cheese, grated
100 g (3 ½ oz) butter or margarine
25 g Dulse (dillisk) – very finely chopped.
Mix all ingredients together to form a soft dough.
Roll out onto a floured board to about 1½ cm / ½ inch thickness.
Cut with biscuit shapers.
Place on a greased baking trays and flatten slightly with a fork.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C (400 F, Gas Mark 6) for about 10 mins, or until light brown.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Store biscuits in an airtight container.
MAKES ABOUT 18 – 20.
Recipe adapted from “The Complete Book of Home Baking” by Heilie Pienaar 2002. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. ISBN 1 84330 323 X .
Dulse Slaw Ideal for salads
Need: 25g Dulse (dillisk)
175g white cabbage (shredded)
1 medium carrot (grated)
2 shallots (finely chopped)
Dressing: 4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp apple juice
Salt and Pepper
Soak dulse for 5 – 10 mins in a bowl of water.
Put raisins in a small bowl with warm water for 5 mins, to allow to plump.
Put shredded cabbage, grated carrot, and finely chopped shallots into a large mixing bowl.
Drain raisins and add to bowl.
Drain dulse, chop and also add to bowl.
In a small bowl mix the dressing ingredients together and then pour over and coat the salad thoroughly.
Season and mix again and serve.
Wishing you the best on this journey to figure out which way is best for you and the treatment of your hypothyroidism. Remember, stay positive and know you can have a normal life.