How to Eat Healthy to Have a Healthy Thyroid

Our bodies need a selection of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in order to maintain proper function. The thyroid gland is no exception. There are a few key substances that daily diets must contain, which help ensure that the master gland remains healthy.

Iodine

Commonly added to table salt, iodine is probably one of the most important elements needed for thyroid function. The element is essential for producing the triiodothyronin or T3 and thyroxine or T4 hormones that instruct metabolic and other body processes. There are many different foods that contain an abundance of iodine:

• Seafood-clams, haddock, oysters, salmon, sardines and shrimp
• Sea vegetables-arame, dulse, hijiki, kombu, nori and wakame

Selenium

Selenium contains chemical compounds that guard the thyroid gland from stress. Proteins containing selenium also play a role in hormone synthesis by converting T4 into the more usable form of T3. The compounds additionally regulate the amount of hormones manufactured and released in addition to regulating iodine levels. Selenium-rich foods include:

• Beef
• Brazil nuts
• Halibut
• Mushrooms
• Organ meats
• Soybeans
• Sunflower seeds
• Tuna

Copper, Iron and Zinc

Copper assists in the production of the pituitary hormone known as thyroid stimulating hormone. The mineral also regulates T4 production, which is vital for regulating cholesterol. Copper deficiencies lead to high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease processes in patients diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Foods serving as good copper resources include:

• Legumes, meat and seafood-beans, beef, crab, lobster, oysters and sunflower seeds
• Vegetables and miscellaneous foods-pearled barley, shitake mushrooms, tomato paste and dark chocolate

Iron deficiencies can lead to hypothyroidism. Correcting thyroid imbalances may require correcting both iron and iodine deficiencies. Food considered iron-rich include:

• Organ meats and seafood-clams, oysters
• Legumes and nuts-lentils, soybeans, white beans and pumpkin seeds
• Miscellaneous- blackstrap molasses

Zinc

When zinc levels drop, so do levels of T3, T4 and thyroid stimulating hormone. Oddly enough, zinc deficiencies can lead to either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Foods rich in zinc include:

• Meats and seafood-beef, lamb, turkey, oysters and sardines
• Legumes, nuts and seeds-beans, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds
• Miscellaneous-ginger root, maple syrup and whole grains

Vitamins

Vitamins A, C and E act as antioxidants that protect the thyroid gland from stress that may occur from disease processes or natural aging. When hyperthyroidism or Graves disease occurs, the overactive gland requires more oxygen which accumulates and damages cells. B2, B3 and B6 vitamins aid in T4 production. Foods rich in these vitamins include:

• Beans, egg yolks, organ meats, nuts and seeds
• Asparagus, cruciferous and dark leafy greens, mushrooms, peppers, citrus fruits, guava, papaya, kiwifruit and strawberries
• Natural whole grains and seeds
• Miscellaneous-Brewer's yeast

 

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to Eat Healthy to Have a Healthy Thyroid," in PsychologyDictionary.org, February 18, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-eat-healthy-to-have-a-healthy-thyroid/ (accessed July 23, 2019).
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