How to Eat Right for Your Thyroid

Posted by Nicole on June 3

Your thyroid is a key component in your endocrine system. Its job is to produce hormones that help to regulate various metabolic functions.

That means that to function at your best, you need a healthy thyroid. Wondering how you can support thyroid health through diet? Let’s go over some recommendations.

1. Get the right amount of iodine.

One thing that is very important for thyroid function is getting the right amount of iodine. Harvard Medical School says, “Avoid excessive amounts of iodine, either in medications or supplements, as this could potentially alter your thyroid hormone level. Most iodine-rich foods, such as iodized products or fish, are acceptable.”

At the same time, you do not want to get too little iodine either. If you use iodized salt, you are probably getting plenty. But if you use sea salt, you could be eating less iodine than you should.

Another source of iodine is seaweed. St. Luke’s Health writes, “Seaweed, such as kelp, nori, and wakame, are naturally rich in iodine--a trace element needed for normal thyroid function. Eat seaweed with sushi or get packaged seaweed snacks to toss in salads.”

You can also purchase seaweed by the sheet. It is often cheaper that way. It won’t feature oils or seasoning like the little snack packages, but it will save you money. If you visit a specialty grocery store, you also might be able to find seasonings that contain seaweed that you can sprinkle on rice and other dishes.

2. Don’t overdo the soy.

Wondering if it is okay to eat soy if you want to promote thyroid health? You don’t need to completely avoid eating soy, but you should not eat too much of it. Harvard explains, “Limit foods high in soy protein, because large amounts of soy might interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone.”

Note that soy is included as an ingredient in a lot more foods than you might realize. Take a look at ingredients lists on packaged and processed foods to see if you are eating more soy than you think you are.

3. Try eating these other nutritious foods.

It is actually pretty easy to eat right for your thyroid, because there are not a lot of rules. Memorial Hospital offers these general recommendations: “Be sure to follow a healthy diet that emphasizes fiber and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, nuts and complex carbohydrates, as well as lean protein. Choose foods with unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, fatty fish and seeds. Meanwhile, limit your intake of processed products and foods high in salt, sugar and unhealthy saturated fats.”

Along with recommending seaweed, St. Luke’s Health makes similar suggestions: salted nuts, baked fish, dairy, and fresh eggs.

That wraps up what you need to know about eating a healthy diet for your thyroid. Taking care of your thyroid will help you to maintain the right balance of hormones in your body so that you can function at your best.