Foods to Avoid If You Have Hypothyroidism | Possible

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Medically reviewed by  Darshita ThakkarNutrition Training and Quality Manager for PAN India

The best food for thyroid patients includes food that helps to bring down thyroid problems and assist medications for a superior result.

Depending on your problem, your doctor may advise you to follow thyroid specific diet plan.

The plan is to decrease or increase the uptake of minerals and compounds which is directly related to the functioning of the thyroid gland.

If you are still wondering what to eat to alleviate the symptoms of thyroid disorder, seek advice from your doctor or nutritionist.

Additional information on food to avoid or thyroid patients also should be followed accordingly.

Types of Thyroid Disorders | HypothyroidismHyperthyroidismFoods to Avoid With Hypothyroidism 

Underactive thyroid diet will significantly differ from the diet for hyperthyroidism. The difference lies in the thyroid functioning.

Once you have a clear idea of the type of thyroid problem you are suffering from, you can fasten the treatment process by following the appropriate diet.

In hyperthyroidism, your diet should emphasis on Calcium and Zinc intake along with goitrogenic food which suppresses thyroid production (1).

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Hypothyroidism diet plan, on the other hand, focuses on iodine uptake and weight loss.

The process will be incomplete without avoiding food that can aggravate thyroid symptoms. A cumulative effort will involve knowing what to eat and what to avoid for each condition respectively.

Types of Thyroid Disorders:

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck. It performs a host of metabolic and regulatory functions in the body by secreting thyroid hormones.

Inbuilt and external triggers may send the thyroid to an overdrive or result in an underactive thyroid. Both conditions demand different treatment procedures with respective thyroid remedial diet plans.

Before deciding on the best food for thyroid patients, it is a good idea to know the thyroid disorders in detail.


This is a condition in which your thyroid gland becomes underactive and produces not enough thyroid hormones for the body to function normally. Hypothyroidism is the commonest form of thyroid disorder (2).

Chronic fatigue Lower metabolic rate Lethargy, dry skin, and breathlessness
Sensitivity to cold Lesser blood circulation Cold extremities, chills
Muscle and joint ache Decreased muscle and bone strength Cramps, painful mobility
Insomnia, sleep apnea (3) Disrupted nervous system functions Sleeplessness, altered sleep pattern
Weight gain Slow metabolism of fats Increased weight without diet change, higher cholesterol level
Constipation Sluggish digestive system Irregular bowel movements, hard stools
Menorrhagia Altered female hormone interaction Excessive menstrual flow for a longer duration.
Myxedema Decreased sweating and water retention in cells. Puffy faces and extremities
Depression and bradycardia Decreased nervous and cardiac function Feeling low without reason, slow heartbeat and low blood pressure.

Hypothyroidism diet plan aims at improving the level of thyroid hormone secretion by providing iodine to the body. Iodine is essential in the creation of thyroid hormones.


When your thyroid gland starts over producing thyroid hormone, you may start experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid overdrive can be due to immune disorder (Grave’s disease) (4), injury to the thyroid gland, and formation of thyroid nodules or cancer of thyroid or pituitary glands.

Excess thyroid hormones hasten metabolic rates and haywire the endocrine function.

Fatigue and hyperactivity Overstimulated nervous system Extreme anxiousness and jittery nature followed by extreme tiredness.
Tachycardia Overworked cardiac muscles Palpitations and fluttery sensation.
Weight loss High metabolism rate Hunger despite being full, low cholesterol levels, wasting of muscles.
Grave’s Ophthalmopathy Autoimmune disorder Bulging of eyeballs
Heat sensitivity Increased blood circulation Profuse sweating and feeling hot and flushed even at normal temperatures
Amenorrhea Inhibition of female hormones Little or no menstrual flow
Diarrhea Increased digestive activity Frequent bowel movements, loose motions

Best food for hyperthyroid patients would be those which suppress thyroid activity and improve Calcium, Phosphorus and Zinc uptake.Low iodine diet will help in reducing thyroid flare.

Foods to Avoid With Hypothyroidism

If you wish to normalize thyroid secretion while being on medications, you have to follow the underactive thyroid diet as advised by your doctor.

Click here to know more about diet for hypothyroidism.

It is best to stay away from food having an antagonistic effect on thyroid functioning.

Here is a list of food to avoid with hyperthyroidism.

Soy-Based Food:

Soy contains isoflavones which interfere with absorption of iodine and hypothyroidism medications (5).

Tofu, Miso, soy milk, and Edamame are soy-based products.

Cruciferous Vegetables:

Cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts interfere with thyroid production when consumed raw.

Cooking decreases the ill effects on hypothyroid patients with iodine deficiency.

Food containing Gluten:

Gluten present in wheat and some other grains may cause severe stomach upset if you suffer from gluten intolerance.

Irritated bowel lining can hamper absorption of thyroid medications. Gluten intolerance due to an autoimmune disorder called Celiac disease is common in hypothyroid patients.

High Fat Food:

High-fat food slows down the already sluggish metabolism and offers additional weight gain. You can take low fat, high fiber food as thyroid diet for weight loss.

Additionally, high fiber intake can ease constipation which is common in hyperthyroidism.

Caffeinated drinks and alcohol:

Beverages like coffee, tea, and alcohol can irritate thyroid tissues and hamper thyroid production (6). Hence these should be completely avoided.

Sugar Loaded Food:

Sugary food like sweets, doughnuts, and chocolates will accelerate weight gain in patients with hypothyroidism. Extra sugar also contributes to mood swings, depression and fatigue like symptoms.

Millets, Pine nut, and peanuts:

These are goitrogenic foods which inhibit iodine absorption and should be completely avoided in case of iodine deficiency.

Indian diet for hypothyroidism offers a wide range of options that aid underactive thyroid treatment. Fish, whole wheat products, pulses, unpolished rice, milk products, fruits, and vegetables along with iodized salt offer a diverse meal platter.

Although rich and deep-fried food should be avoided. After all, it all comes down to taste with benefits. Proper diet with ample of exercise can normalize hypothyroidism symptoms sooner than medications alone.

Quick Bytes

1] What is Celiac disease?

It is an autoimmune disorder which causes gluten intolerance. This disease is common in thyroid patients having Hashimoto’s disease.

2] What are goitrogens?

Goitrogens are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts, which interfere with thyroid production. These cause iodine deficiency and goiter.

3] Can Selenium and Zinc supplement be taken for hypothyroidism?

Yes, but only if prescribed by your doctor. Self-medication can exert an anti-thyroid effect.

4] What are the foods to avoid for hyperthyroidism?

Seafood, iodized salt, milk products, beef, and poultry are some foods which should be avoided for hyperthyroidism.

5] What is the daily iodine recommendation during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, 250 micrograms of iodine is required daily. Since the fetus derives iodine from the mother, the intake is higher than that of a single individual.

Recommended Read: Inter-Relationship of Thyroid and Weight

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