If you are struggling with an overactive thyroid gland, then a healthy diet may be very important for helping you manage symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Thyroid hormone levels can be affected by many factor, and things like processed or sugary foods should be foods to avoid if you have hyperthyroidism. Please note the following approaches are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure Hyperthyroidism, and cannot be used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

What is Thyroid Disease?

Thyroid disease is an umbrella term for a few different diseases that can affect the thyroid gland in the body. Two main conditions involve the function of the thyroid gland, and one of these conditions is known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is an illness where the thyroid glands doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone.

The other condition is the one we will be focusing on today. Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland overproduces thyroid hormone. This disorder is also known as having an overactive thyroid. When there is a large amount of thyroid hormone in the body, the body’s metabolism speeds up. This can disrupt thyroid function and cause symptoms like weight loss, hand tremors, and/or irregular heartbeat.

Hyperthyroidism can present itself similarly to other diseases, so look for these signs/symptoms if you suspect you have hyperthyroidism.

You are experiencing sudden weight loss, increased appetite, and mood changes (e.g., anxiety, irritability, and nervousness). Symptoms like difficulty sleeping, feeling hot, sweating, and fatigue can affect someone experiencing hyperthyroidism. With more severe cases of hyperthyroidism, patients tend to experience irregular bowel movements, skin thinning, brittle hair, irregular periods, enlargement of the thyroid gland, swelling in the neck, eye irritation, and red rashes.

What are Thyroid Hormones?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck right below the larynx. Thyroid function is based on the amount of thyroid hormone that is released from the thyroid gland. The hormones that are secreted from the thyroid are referred to as T3 and T4. These hormones affect almost every organ in your body and regulate body temperature, the proper function of the brain, heart, and other vital organs, and help your body use energy.

There are other types of hyperthyroidism, some of which are genetic, and one of the most common types is an autoimmune disorder known as Grave’s disease. There are also risk factors that are associated with an overactive thyroid.  One of these is an increased risk of thyroid cancer in patients with Grave’s and thyroid nodules.

What the Thyroid Gland and Thyroid Hormones are Responsible for.

Thyroid hormone is in charge of regulating how quickly your body's metabolism works. Thyroid hormone is also essential for babies’ brain development and growth. Thyroid hormone is produced by and released from your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland  in the front of your neck..

Hormones communicate with your organs, skin, muscles, and other tissues by carrying messages through your blood to coordinate various bodily operations. These messages instruct your body on what to do and when.

The intricate process by which your body converts food into energy is called metabolism, and your body's cells all require energy to function.

Thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are the two primary hormones released by your thyroid gland. Because T4 is inactive, meaning it doesn’t affect on cells while T3 is active, they are collectively referred to as "thyroid hormone." Your body converts T4 into T3 which affects your cells and metabolism.

To control the amount of calcium in your blood, the thyroid secretes another hormone called calcitonin. Unlike T3 and T4, it does not affect your body's metabolism.

Your brain's hypothalamus controls many bodily functions including hunger and thirst, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature.

The pituitary gland is a small, pea-sized gland situated below the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. There are eight total hormones produced by the pituitary gland.

The pituitary stalk which connects the hypothalamus and posterior pituitary carries both blood vessels and nerve fibers. Your hypothalamus instructs your posterior pituitary to release particular hormones through the stalk.

Your pituitary gland is stimulated to create and release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) by the production of a thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH) from the hypothalamus.. TSH stimulates your thyroid to produce T4 (80%) and T3 (20%).. To produce T4 and T3, your thyroid also requires enough iodine, a mineral you obtain from your diet.

A feedback loop controls this hormone production such that as T3 and T4 levels rise, TRH release (and thus TSH) is prevented. The feedback loop resumes when the T3 and T4 levels fall. This feedback loop  enables your body to maintain a steady level of thyroid hormones.

How to Holistically Treat Hypothyroidism.

If someone is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, treatment should be started as soon as possible. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can cause more harmful risk factors. Without proper treatment, hyperthyroidism has been known to lead to heart problems, increased fracture risk, and other potentially life-threatening issues.

There are various treatment options from a holistic health perspective to help someone diagnosed with hyperthyroidism including dietary optimization.

Before some therapies for hyperthyroidism, a low-iodine diet may be advised. For instance, if you are receiving radioactive iodine treatment to permanently reduce your thyroid gland activity you will be recommended to follow a low-iodine diet to make your thyroid more receptive to the medication.

Maintaining a healthy iodine balance in your diet is also crucial after therapy. Other nutrients support thyroid health and lessen the chronic symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

While some nutrients and minerals help manage the underlying condition, eating particular foods won't cure hyperthyroidism. Diet can have an impact on thyroid hormone production as well as thyroid function.

The following substances and nutrients can have an impact on hyperthyroidism:

Iodine is a component of thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. The production of thyroid hormone can be increased by increasing iodine consumption.

Calcium and vitamin D are essential because hyperthyroidism might result in issues with bone mineral density.

Caffeine-containing foods and beverages might make hyperthyroidism symptoms worse.

Again, please note the mentioned approaches are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure Hyperthyroidism, and cannot be used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Foods to Avoid With Hyperthyroidism.

Consuming excessive amounts of iodine-rich or iodine-fortified foods can sometimes cause or aggravate hyperthyroidism.

A teaspoon of iodized salt contains 304 micrograms (mcg) of iodine, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Most iodine is found in seafood—iodine in seaweed amounts as low as 23.2 mg or.02 milligrams (mg) per gram.

The NIH recommends consuming 150 mg (0.15 mg) of iodine daily. Even less is needed with a low-iodine diet.

The following seafood and seafood additives should be avoided:

  • fish
  • seaweed\sprawns\scrabs
  • lobster
  • sushi\scarrageen\sagar-agar
  • algae\salginate\snori\skelp

Avoid additional iodine-rich meals like:

  • milk as well as dairy cheese
  • egg whites
  • iodized water with salt
  • certain food colorings

In some individuals, the thyroid may become inflamed. Restricting or limiting gluten may be advantageous even if you do not have a gluten allergy or sensitivity.

Look for gluten ingredients on food labels, such as wheat, barley, rye, malt, and brewer's yeast.

Even though soy doesn't contain iodine, research has shown that it can interact with several animal treatments for hyperthyroidism—food products containing soy include nut milk, tofu, and soy-based creamers.

Foods to Eat With a Hyperthyroidism Diagnosis.

A person's doctor could advise them to adopt a low-iodine diet if they intend to receive radioactive iodine therapy for hyperthyroidism. A diet containing fewer than 50 micrograms (mcg) of iodine per day is a low-iodine diet.

Low-iodine foods and beverages include:

  • herbs and spices, whether they are fresh or frozen.
  • dietary fats
  • Nut butter and unsalted nuts
  • Fruits, vegetables
  • Fresh beef, chicken, turkey, veal, and other meats

The American Thyroid Association provides additional advice on maintaining a low-iodine diet.

Cruciferous vegetable smay lower the thyroid's ability to absorb iodine which may be beneficial for hyperthyroidism.

These cruciferous vegetables consist of the following:

Bamboo shoots, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cassava, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, mustard, rutabaga

Selenium, a mineral, is important for thyroid hormone metabolism. According to research, selenium may help with some autoimmune thyroid disease symptoms, including thyroid eye disease.

Those who take selenium supplements while taking anti-thyroid medication may return to normal thyroid levels more quickly than those who do not.

Among the foods high in selenium are: Brazil nuts, lean meat, pasta, rice, eggs, oatmeal, and baked beans