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Grocery Basics for a Healthy Thyroid Diet

Grocery Basics for a Healthy Thyroid Diet

Medically reviewed by

Natalie Bessom, D.O. Board-certified family medicine doctor with specialty training in nutrition, USA

Medically reviewed by

Natalie Bessom, D.O. Board-certified family medicine doctor with specialty training in nutrition, USA

What is a Healthy Thyroid Diet

Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in front of your neck that regulates your metabolism and also plays a major role in other bodily functions. Your thyroid is part of the endocrine system that helps produce hormones throughout the body. 

There is no one set “diet” for thyroid conditions. Whether you have hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters, or thyroid cancer – food certainly isn’t going to cure or stop your symptoms or flare-ups for good. However, what you put into your body can definitely have a major impact on your thyroid and overall health. 

This article discusses the basics of what a healthy Thyroid diet should look like, what types of foods to avoid, and helpful grocery shopping tips to kickstart your thyroid health. 

A Nutrient-Dense Diet

A Thyroid-Healthy diet is rich in nutrients to fuel your thyroid and body. Though your thyroid gland is tiny, it is the powerhouse for everything and has a major hand in your body’s 

  • Cell repair
  • Metabolism 
  • Energy Levels
  • Mood

What Nutrients Are Important?

Selenium

Selenium is a vital part of maintaining a healthy thyroid. Selenium helps “activate” your thyroid hormones and also helps protect the thyroid gland. Some good sources of selenium are: 

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Fish 
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Eggs

Adding foods that are rich in Selenium to your diet is a great way to boost your thyroid function.

Iodine

Iodine is an essential mineral for a healthy thyroid function. Iodine deficiency is very common, especially amongst patients with hypothyroidism. 

However, there is no need to take iodine supplements as research shows that too much iodine can damage your thyroid gland. You are able to get a sufficient amount of the mineral through your diet alone. Some sources to incorporate Iodine into your thyroid diet include: 

  • Seaweed
  • Cod
  • Tuna
Zinc

Much like Selenium, Zinc also helps to “activate” your thyroid hormones. Research shows that Zinc also helps your body regulate normal levels of TSH. Your body actually does not store zinc so it is very important to ensure you’re meeting your daily requirements. 

Foods rich in zinc include: 

  • Red meat
  • Shellfish
  • Legumes (chickpeas, lentils) 
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts)

What foods should I avoid?

Goitrogens

Goitrogens are a substance that suppresses the normal function of the thyroid gland. Many foods can contain hidden levels of goitrogens such as:

  • Certain vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinac) 
  • Soy foods (tofu, tempeh)
  • Starchy fruits and vegetables (strawberries, sweet potatoes) 

People suffering from iodine deficiencies should do their best to avoid foods that contain high amounts of Goitrogens. 


Highly Processed Foods

Whether you currently suffer from a thyroid condition or not, avoiding highly processed foods is recommended. 

These foods are typically chock-full of sugars, saturated fats, and sodium which in turn will harm your thyroid health and are not recommended for a healthy thyroid diet. Limit your intake of processed foods such as: 

  • Chips
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Hot Dogs

Grocery shopping tips

There is no one size fits all grocery check list or diet. There are, however, some easy everyday hacks to incorporate into your grocery shopping trip to ensure you’re shopping for the right kitchen basics that supplement a healthy thyroid diet. If you live near a local health food store those are great places to start.

Shop the perimeter of your store 

One of the biggest things to avoid is highly processed foods in your thyroid diet is to shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Have you noticed that unprocessed natural foods are normally located on the outside aisles? Head over to your produce, meat, and dairy section first next time! Avoid the middle aisles filled with junk food and processed snacks. 

 

Buy grass-fed, wild-caught protein if possible

If meat or fish is your preferred source of protein, try shopping for organic, grass-fed products to incorporate into your thyroid diet. These cuts won’t have been pumped full of growth hormones that will make their way into your body. 

Avoid the Dirty Dozen 

The Dirty Dozen is a list of foods that are the most highly contaminated. Use this as a reference next time you’re thinking about what produce to buy! 

This year’s list contains items such as: 

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nectarines 
  • Apples

Instead, shop from the Clean 15 list which contains the least contaminated foods. Some food items include: 

  • Avocados
  • Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi 

These lists are updated yearly and are all foods that can be purchased at your local grocery store unless seasonally not available. 

Key takeaways

  • Your thyroid is a small but mighty organ that manages your hormones, metabolism, energy levels, and much more
  • The combination of eating the right nutrients and medication may help reduce your symptoms and flare-ups and improve your overall thyroid diet and function. 
  • Incorporate foods that are nutrient-dense and full of iodine, selenium, and zinc.
  • Avoid foods high in Goitrogrens and highly processed foods 

If you are looking for an easy way to track and maintain your thyroid health, download our ThyForLife app today. ThyForLife is an integrated thyroid solution right at your fingertips. Here at ThyForLife, we do our utmost to provide accurate information. If you require more detailed information regarding medical terms, please consult your thyroid doctor.

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