Foods To Avoid If You Have Hypothyroidism


Hypothyroidism is a condition that is tricky to manage and what you eat is very important. What is on your plate can be crucial in getting health issues getting better or worse.

Here you can read what foods to avoid if you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

Diet and Hypothyroidism

When your thyroid is underactive, the gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone for normal body functions, resulting in weight gain, feeling tired easily, dry skin, feeling cold, forgetfulness, and even feeling depressed.

While the disease is treated with medication, what you eat can also make things better or worse for you. Certain foods are known to compound the problem.

For instance, because your body needs adequate amounts of iodine to produce thyroid hormone, foods that interfere with iodine absorption – like goitrogenic foods – may be best avoided.

The first step, of course, is to work out the cause of your hypothyroidism and whether or not you have any other deficiencies, like an iodine deficiency.

Then, check your meal plan to ensure you’re not having too much of the foods on the list that follows.

These foods include some that you may need to avoid altogether, some that you can eat once cooked, and others that you just need to time right about when you take your thyroid medication.

Hypothyroidism Foods To Eat and Avoid 

1. Raw Leafy Greens Like Spinach, Mustard Greens, And Kale

leafy greens
Leafy greens

Raw kale, mustard greens, and spinach are goitrogens, interfering with your body’s ability to use the iodine it gets. Its effect on this nutrient uptake suppresses thyroid function.

However, this issue lies largely with the raw form of these leafy vegetables. Cook them before using and you should be fine.

Of course, moderation is key, so don’t overdo the intake of these greens.

Collard greens are another leafy vegetable to be mindful of.

2. Soy Foods

Soy and soy foods are considered known offenders when it comes to hypothyroidism as they may interfere with thyroxine absorption.

You may need to cut out tofu, tempeh, and soy milk or soy milk-based products from your diet.

And don’t forget, green edamame beans and mature soybeans would be off the cards too.

If you do decide to go ahead and have your soy foods, keep as much of a gap between your meal and your medication to reduce the chances of the soy hampering absorption.

That way, you can have your soy without worrying about your thyroid.

3. Cruciferous Vegetables Like Cauliflower, Broccoli, And Cabbage

Cruciferous vegetable
Cruciferous vegetable – broccoli

While they are very healthy vegetables and packed with nutrients, cruciferous vegetables can be a problem for those with hypothyroidism.

Try and avoid having foods like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli – especially if you are eating them raw.

While they are all known to be goitrogenic, some are more problematic than others.

For instance, the intake of large amounts of raw cabbage is a known trigger for goiter or an enlarged malfunctioning thyroid.

4. Coffee And Green Tea

It may be time to trade in that morning cuppa joe for something milder like a herbal tea or warm water with lemon.

It is believed that coffee could cause problems with your thyroid function by interfering with thyroid hormone absorption.

Even green tea can cause issues for you if you wind up drinking too much. A cup a day should be fine, though.

Animal studies have found that green tea extracts at high doses caused a significant decline in levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4, and rise in thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.

In short, bingeing on green tea could mess up the modulation of your thyroid gland function.

5. Gluten

While whole grains are healthy, if you have hypothyroidism, you may want to avoid foods you are allergic to, to reduce inflammation in the body – and that includes gluten-containing grains.

Research has found that celiac disease, which causes your body to experience inflammatory stress when you consume gluten, is more common among people who have autoimmune thyroid disease.

If you suspect this could be the case, have yourself tested for celiac disease and make the necessary dietary changes to cut out gluten from your mealtimes.

Gluten-containing foods like the bread you eat at mealtimes or that muffin, cupcake, or cookie you treated yourself too could then add to your hypothyroidism problem. Especially if they are also highly processed.

There’s plenty of gluten-free options for baked foods on the market and alternatives to glutinous grains as well. For instance, try foods like rice or quinoa.

6. Nuts


Nuts like walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, and almonds could be an issue for those with hypothyroidism due to their goitrogenic effects.

That said, nuts are also a good source of other nutrients like selenium and calcium and you may want to consider having them in small amounts if you do not have an iodine deficiency.

7. Peaches, Pears, and Strawberries

Tempting though it may be to tuck into fruit like strawberries, peaches, and pears, you’ll need to find alternatives that are more supportive of your thyroid and aren’t goitrogenic.

Try snacking on antioxidant-rich blueberries or cherries or citrus fruits instead.

8. Processed Foods

Avoid processed foods like ready-to-eat snacks and meals, potato chips, cookies, crackers, mass-produced cakes, or even that snacking staple – the hot dog.

That’s because just like insufficient iodine can be a problem, too much can be just as bad! Highly salty processed foods are often high in the mineral and you could wind up getting too much by having these foods regularly.

If you have hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s disease, higher levels of iodine in the body can send a signal to your thyroid to further drop thyroid hormone production, making your situation even worse.

Conclusion: If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism consult your doctor about diet plans and don’t put these foods in your diet. Make a good decision about what to eat, because it can help you with this condition.

Hypothyroidism foods
1. Hypothyroidism. American Thyroid Association
2. Iodine Deficiency. American Thyroid Association
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4. Thyroid and Diet Factsheet. The British Thyroid Foundation
5. Bajaj, Jagminder K., Poonam Salwan, and Shalini Salwan. “Various possible toxicants involved in thyroid dysfunction: A Review.” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR 10, no. 1 (2016): FE01.
6. Ch’ng, Chin Lye, M. Keston Jones, and Jeremy GC Kingham. “Celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease.” Clinical medicine & research 5, no. 3 (2007): 184-192

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