Posted on June 20 2021
Seems like hypothyroidism takes all the attention and not a lot of people talk about HYPERthyroidism.
Before we get into Indian Diet For Hyperthyroidism and some Weight Gain Tips, let's understand few other things.
Thyroid diseases are among the most common endocrine disorders worldwide. An estimate from various studies on thyroid disease projects that about 42 million people in India suffer from various thyroid diseases.
But did you know that making simple, yet sustainable lifestyle and nutritional changes can almost always help boost the health of the thyroid hormone with minimal to no medical intervention.
In fact, even if you have already started medication for the same, making changes to your lifestyle can greatly reduce the dose of your medication or even stop the same on a long run.
What Do Our Thyroids Do?
Our thyroid is an essential part of our endocrine system and regulates everything from our weight, body temperature, mood, metabolism, and even our digestive process.
It is a butterfly-shaped gland is found in the front side of our throat and right below our Adam's apple- the larynx. It is responsible for regulating our thyroid hormones daily.
There are three thyroid hormones, T3 and T4 are the ones more commonly known. The other is lesser-known yet very important is called Calcitonin. These hormones control the body's metabolic rate and contribute to heart function, digestive health, muscle control, bone maintenance, brain development, and mood.
The TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone, produced by the pituitary gland, ultimately controls the release of these hormones.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a prevalent condition where people suffer from an overactive thyroid disorder. That is, the body makes too much of T3 and T4.
It may be due to several causes, of which the most common is Graves' disease. Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disease is when the body starts to attack the thyroid hormone itself. This results in excess synthesis and secretion of thyroid hormone.
Think of soldiers who are meant to protect the country and the border, turn around and start attacking their home country itself.
Now all cases of hyperthyroidism need not be due to Graves' diseases. Causes such as inflammation (swelling) of the thyroid hormone, non- cancerous tumors of the thyroid gland, bad lifestyle and food choices could also lead to hyperthyroidism.
Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:
- Typically lose weight
- Fluctuating energy levels
- Feel physically warm
- Disturbed sleep
Who is most likely to develop Hyperthyroidism?
The causes for hyperthyroidism disorder are hard to identify since various factors can cause a hormonal imbalance quickly.
People with Graves' disease, the autoimmune condition, are most likely to develop this thyroid disease.
In addition, people with a poor diet, too much or too little exercise, gut dysbiosis, lack of rest, consistent stress, metabolic disorders, trauma, other hormone disorders, medication and birth control pills, consuming excessive iodine (seafood), could also be susceptible.
Watch the below video to understand the importance of salt and thyroid function:
How do doctors diagnose Hyperthyroidism?
You will have to book an appointment with the general practitioner or an endocrinologist, who will then evaluate your physical and medical records.
They will study the movement of your fingers when stretched, where a minor tremor becomes a symptom. Additionally, overactive reflexes, eye changes, and warm skin are indicators as well.
Your doctor will also inspect your thyroid gland when you swallow to see whether it's swollen, lumpy, or sensitive, as well as check your pulse for quick or irregular beats.
Apart from this, you will have to register for bloodwork since this is the most helpful way of determining if you have an overactive thyroid gland or not.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine blood tests help to confirm the diagnosis. An overactive thyroid is detectable by high thyroxine levels and low or nonexistent TSH values. Thyroid function blood tests, such as TSH, total T4, free T3, TSI, and others, are crucial in detecting and treating thyroid diseases.
How to read my Thyroid Blood Test?
The test results are interpreted differently depending on a variety of factors. For instance, a combination of all the three – TSH, total T4, and free T3 will allow a holistic understanding of the test results, whereas special test reports may indicate varied results.
TSH can also indicate the cause of an aberration when combined with free T3 and free T4.
TSH levels that are outside of the ideal reference range point to a thyroid problem.
- Subclinical Hyperthyroidism is a TSH level of 0.1 to 0.5 mU/L.
- Overt Hyperthyroidism is a TSH level of less than 0.1 mU/L.
But why is TSH low when I have hyperthyroidism?
THS is not a hormone produced by the thyroid gland, but a thyroid STIMULATING hormone produced by the pituitary gland. When your body produces too little of the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), the body will produce more TSH to boost T3 and T4 production.
But in the case of hyperthyroidism, since the body is producing too much of T3 and T4, the pituitary gland will hold back on the production of TSH.
T3 and T4:
Your doctor may be able to better characterize the nature of a thyroid issue by comparing TSH and T4 readings.
- One can diagnose Hyperthyroidism by a low TSH and a high T4 level.
- A low TSH level combined with a high T3 level is also indicative of Hyperthyroidism.
What other health problems could I have because of Hyperthyroidism?
Once diagnosed, a patient can aspire to control the levels through anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine. However, sometimes the levels may spiral out of control when left unchecked. It may eventually end causing the following health problems:
- Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat of more than 100 beats per minute)
- Arrhythmia (Irregular heartbeat)
- Heart palpitations
- Graves' ophthalmology's eye condition can cause double vision, light sensitivity, eye pain, and vision loss in rare cases.
- Osteoporosis (brittle bones)
- Red, swollen skin
- Thyrotoxic Crisis
- Other autoimmune diseases
How does diet affect Hyperthyroidism?
If you have an overactive thyroid gland, the things you eat may affect your thyroid disease, including the absorption of your thyroid medication. Therefore, doctors recommend a whole food plant-based diet because of emerging reports with evidential support.
Katherine's story is one of many successes described in Your Body in Balance, a new book by Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, MD. Dr. Barnard.
After eliminating animal products and focusing on healthful vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, she found that her endometriosis pain rapidly diminished, and her fertility restores.
In his book, Dr. Barnard shares the science behind how common conditions like menstrual cramps, infertility, breast and prostate cancers, thyroid problems, and acne fuelled by hormones come from foods we eat.
Antioxidants, which are abundant in plants, act as preventive factors against autoimmune disorders like thyroid. Foods from plants is anti-inflammatory, protecting against the inflammation of the thyroid hormone.
High oestrogen concentrations in animal foods––meat, eggs, and dairy products, for example––have been related to autoimmunity in preclinical investigations.
Alternatively, it has been found that a reduction in animal protein may downregulate IGF-1, a cancer-promoting growth hormone that also has a role in autoimmune illnesses.
Animal meat is high in IGF- 1 (insulin like growth hormone). This hormone helps animals grow fast. In human's though, they trigger the growth of cancers and tumors. If you have a single cancer cell in the body, adding IGF is like adding fuel to the fire. It triggers the growth of more cells, and very fast.
Instead, incorporate polyphenol phytochemicals like flavonoids present in plants, are instrumental in protecting cells. Plant- based lifestyle is linked to a lower risk of hyperthyroidism.
Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis are two of the most common autoimmune illnesses that affect the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid gland, is a symptom of Graves' disease.
Plant-based diets have been linked to a lower prevalence of autoimmune disease in general––as shown in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, for example.
The poop- test.
If you compare the poop of Hashimoto's patients to that of controls, the illness appears to be linked to a clear decrease in a certain type of gut bacteria, the Prevotella species concentration.
Prevotella are fiber-eating bugs that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Decreased Prevotella levels are also seen in other autoimmune diseases such multiple sclerosis and Type 1 Diabetes. Eating more fruits and vegetables, compared to meat, promoted the growth of Prevotella bacteria
Foods to Eat
- Fruits and vegetables
- Legumes like peas, beans, and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole wheat bread and pasta, and rice
- Dairy alternatives like soymilk, coconut milk, and almond milk
Low Iodine Foods
Eating a low-iodine diet also helps to reduce over activation of the thyroid hormone. Incorporate the following foods into your diet:
- Tea or coffee (without milk or dairy- or soy-based creamers)
- Fruits that are still in season
- unsalted nuts and nut butter
- bread made from scratch or bread prepared without salt, dairy, or eggs
- Maple Syrup
Should I avoid or include cruciferous vegetables for hyperthyroidism?
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, brussels sprouts, collards, watercress, and radishes are all examples of cruciferous vegetables.
Vitamins and minerals including folate and vitamin K are abundant in cruciferous vegetables. They are also protective against cancers, help in fat loss and boost glucose metabolism. They are absolutely essential for a healthy diet.
Patients with hypothyroid are cautioned against cruciferous vegetables due to its "goitrogenic" properties which is responsible for "goitre," or thyroid gland swelling. They also reduce the intake of iodine from our diet.
The good news is, the content of goitrogen in food can be altered drastically through various means. Cooking, fortunately, is one of the methods which can considerably reduce the goitrogenic content of meals. Goitrogens are reduced by two-thirds when crucifers are steamed until thoroughly cooked.
Boiling crucifers for 30 minutes eliminates 90% of the goitrogens. Therefore, we do not discourage your from consuming cruciferous vegetables since they are a very crucial part of our diet. Rather, increase your iodine uptake for hypothyroid and make sure to not eat these raw.
Patients with hyperthyroid need not worry about low iodine update, and may actually benefit from eating cruciferous vegetables.
So do I need to avoid cruciferous vegetables? What are the benefits of cruciferous vegetables?
Patients with Hyperthyroidism should continue to eat cruciferous vegetables as they are beneficial. Here are a few great way to include them:
- Leeks and cauliflower soup.
- Roasted beetroot and raddish salad.
- Kale and lima beans soup.
- Desi aalo cabbage sabzi.
Are vegans at the risk of iodine deficiency?
Normal thyroid function necessitates adequate dietary iodine. Too much iodine can cause Hyperthyroidism.
Iodine is stored naturally in our thyroid glands. You do not need to obtain iodine every day however it does need to be part of your diet. Unfortunately the most prevalent sources aren't exactly healthy: iodized salt and dairy products.
Iodine is also added to livestock feed, and iodine-containing dietary additives are included in some commercial breads. But a healthier way to incorporate iodine would be through sea seaweed and sea vegetables. Include nori sheets, wake and kelp into your meals once or twice per week. This is more than enough. Too much is too bad.
As long as you consume seeweeds once a week, or use iodised salt, you will not be at a risk for deficiency. Once again, patients with hyperthyroid need not worry about low- iodine levels and must avoid seaweed.
It is extremely important for pregnant women to consume iodine. Take to your physician or nutritionist to understand your requirements and supplement accordingly.
Other essential vitamins and minerals for thyroid management.
A very important mineral for thyroid hormone synthesis, Selenium protects the thyroid gland for oxidative stress.
Lack of it will trigger the thyroid gland. Selenium is an important mineral that is necessary for a variety of biological functions, including cognitive function, a healthy immune system, and male and female reproduction.
It is an essential antioxidant, and functions to improve as thyroid hormone metabolism. The amount of selenium in the body is determined by the population's features, as well as its diet and geographic location (mainly on the soil composition).
A significant concentration of selenium, in the form of selenoprotein, is found in the thyroid gland. Some of these selenoproteins have significant antioxidant activity. Selenium-rich foods include:
Foods containing Selenium:
- Brazil nuts
- Baked beans
One of the most crucial nutrients for thyroid function is iron. Even with balanced TSH levels and thyroid medication, a shortage of it could be the source of some hypothyroid symptoms. However, too much iron is no good news either.
Iron is required for thyroid function because it produces T4 and converts T4 to T3. Ferritin, a protein responsible for iron storage in the body, is typically high in hyperthyroid patients. When the thyroid gland is overstimulated by high levels of TSH, it produces a huge amount of ferritin.
Plant- based non- hema iron sources tend to be better for thyroid management than animal based hema iron sources.
While hyperthyroidism can sometimes interfere with iron metabolism, resulting in elevated ferritin levels, this problem usually goes away once the hyperthyroidism is appropriately managed and does not require any further testing or therapy.
Plant- based iron sources:
- White beans, kidney beans, and black beans
- Blackstrap molasses
Calcium and Vitamin D
Our bodies require a variety of vitamins to keep healthy. Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) is one of them. Thus it is absolutely essential to spend time outdoors or supplement the same.
The parathyroid glands interact with the kidneys, intestines, and skeleton to balance calcium in the blood on a minute-by-minute basis.
Dietary calcium is absorbed and put to good use throughout the body when there is enough calcium in the diet and enough active Vitamin D. The parathyroid glands will ‘borrow' calcium from the skeleton to keep blood calcium levels in the normal range if calcium intake is insufficient or vitamin D levels are low.
Food's containing calcium:
- Fortified juices
- Green leafy vegetables
- Certain seeds and nuts
Foods to Avoid for Hyperthyroidism.
If you have Hyperthyroidism, you should avoid eating a lot of iodine-rich foods like:
- Dairy- This is the biggest culprit as it also causes auto- immune diseases.
- Seaweed or kelp
- food products with red colouring
- egg yolks
- iodine supplements
- carrageenan (which is an additive to packed foods)
- baked goods with iodate dough conditioners
- Processed and cured meat
Soy consumption has been found in animal experiments to interfere with radioactive iodine uptake in the treatment of Hyperthyroidism.
- Soy milk is one source of soy.
- Tofu, edamame beans, soy sauce
- oil from soybeans
Caffeine can elevate hyperthyroidism symptoms such as palpitations, tremors, anxiety, and insomnia.
Food Rich in Iodine
- Seaweed such as kombu kelp, wakame, nori
- Iodized Salt
- Lima Beans
Soy and Hyperthyroidism.
Soy products are often a natural protein replacement for meat food items in a vegan diet. However, they have got a bad rapport recently due to the backlash from the dairy industry.
Research shows that soy may sometimes adversely affect thyroid function, only if your diet lacks in iodine. Nonetheless, soy products have a lot of health benefits, including potential anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore, people who have normal thyroid function would not seem to be facing any problem with soy.
However, soy foods, like other foods, may slow down the oral absorption of anti- thyroid drugs. Hence, hyperthyroid patients should consume these medications on an empty stomach.
How and Why to Manage Stress When You Have Hyperthyroidism?
When you are stressed, you operate from a sympathetic nervous state. this is the bodies 'fight- or- flight' state. This state negatively affects hormonal balance in the body.
Stress slows your body's metabolism, which affects the thyroid gland too. Making some minor modifications in your daily life will help your overall stress levels and thyroid health.
- Sleep and wake up as the sun's cycle (circadian cycle).
- Include structured physical activity.
- Mindfulness practices.
- Quality family time.
Can Natural Remedies and Supplements help Hyperthyroidism?
Natural treatments for Hyperthyroidism include:
- Changes in nutritional, such as a plant- based diet.
- Include mindfulness practices.
- Selenium rich foods.
- Prebiotic fibre supplement.
- Vitamin D supplement.
- Herbs such as bugleweed and lemon balm.
Is Hyperthyroidism during pregnancy a problem?
Untreated or incorrectly managed Hyperthyroidism has been related to complications for women during pregnancy or after birth:
Women may face issues such as:
- Preeclampsia is a condition that affects pregnant women.
- Heart Failure
- Thyroid Storm
- Abruption of the Placenta
If you are detected with hyperthyroidism, work alongside your doctor and nutritionist to make the necessary changes required to manage the condition.
Surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland is sometimes used to treat Hyperthyroidism. The surgical removal of all or part of your thyroid gland is known as a thyroidectomy.
Thyroidectomy applies to treat thyroid conditions like cancer, noncancerous thyroid enlargement (goitre), and overactive thyroid (Hyperthyroidism).
The cause determines the extent to which your thyroid gland is removed during thyroidectomy for the procedure. Your thyroid may function normally following surgery if only a portion of your thyroid is removed (partial thyroidectomy). If you get a total thyroidectomy, you will have to be on medicines for the rest of your life.
Consider this as a last resort to treatment if nutrition and lifestyle changes fail to work.
Lifestyle Changes for Hyperthyroidism
- Nutritional changes to support thyroid function.
- Kundalini yoga to boost physical health.
- Mindfulness practices like qi- gong or moving meditation.
- Additional supplementation when necessary.
- 20- 30 minutes of sunshine per day.
- Oral medication if required.
Indian Diet Chart for Hyperthyroidism
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