Sounding more like a Japanese mini -van, you may not be familiar with the disease “hashimotos”, but I can tell you that it is a disorder of the thyroid and it effects predominately women as young as their third decade. It’s a disease where the body essentially begins to attack itself. The body produces antibodies that try to destroy the thyroid gland that sits like in the neck like a butterfly. The immune system mistakenly thinks that the thyroid cells are not a part of the body, so it tries to remove them before they can cause damage and illness. The problem is that this causes widespread inflammation and thus this autoimmune disease hashimotos thyroiditis.
A common theory among alternate health practitioners is that 80% of the immune system is linked to our gut. Fix the gut and you may have some success at curbing the disorder, however easier said than done. As per other autoimmune conditions, food elimination, detoxification, stress management and digestive healing is highly recommended. In any case we can learn to manage this somewhat debilitating condition to change our status quo ultimately bettering the quality of our life.
Limit Goitrogenic containing foods.
Some foods like the Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone as the goitrogenic substance found in these foods prevent the utilization of iodine. Iodine deficiency is a primary, hypothyroidism cause. Digesting these vegetables can block the thyroid's ability to absorb iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function. Whilst I love these vegetables because they are super food loaded, you need to restrict your intake of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and bok choy. Cooking may reduce the effect that cruciferous vegetables have on the thyroid gland, but limiting your intake to once or twice a week will have a positive effect on thyroid function.
People with hypothyroidism may want to consider going gluten. Gluten is a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Gluten can irritate the small intestine leaving you bloated, and uncomfortable . It may also hamper absorption of the thyroid hormone replacement medication that you may already be on too. Choose whole-grains varieties of bread, and rice, which are high in fiber and other nutrients and can help improve bowel irregularity, a common symptom of hypothyroidism. Also be sure to take your hypothyroidism medication several hours before or after eating high-fiber foods to prevent them from interfering with the absorption of your synthetic thyroid hormone.
GET RID OF Fatty Foods
Fats have been found to disrupt the body's ability to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medicines. Hydrogenated oils and trans fats interfere with the thyroid's ability to produce other hormones as well. It would be highly recommended that you cut out all fried foods and reduce your intake of fats from sources such as mayonnaise, margarine, and fatty cuts of meat, crisps, corn chips and monte carlo biscuits! These little bad guys contain 30g of trans fats enough to choke your arteries and give you a dimpled derriere!
Sugar is your enemy and fat is your friend!
In the last paragraph, I suggested eliminating all trans fat and hydrogenated fats, however it is essential for immune health , gut mucosal lining integrity that we replace them with a better quality of fats like the Omega 3s. Most people with hashimotos are deficient in both EPA and DHA ( components of these oils) which can compromise their immune system leading to destructive consequences.
And in the mean time eating sugary foods sends other hormones in to haywire. Hypothyroidism can cause the body's metabolism to slow down to almost a halt, so avoiding carbohydrate laden foods excessive in sugar, with little nutritional value is invaluable.
Say no to these bad boys -Processed Foods
The problem with Processed foods is you really do not know what’s in them. Unless you are well versed in reading labels and understand the synthetic chemically derived additives, you may still find them confusing. When in doubt leave it out. Processed foods are usually high in sodium and having an underactive thyroid, sodium may be the culprit in increasing blood pressure. Best to avoid all processed foods and replace with real fresh foods and add a sprinkle of Himalayan salt to taste if required.
Have some but not Excess Fibre
I know, I know, we have been told to eat a lot of roughage as this stimulates peristalsis in the GIT but here is the conundrum, too much can complicate your hypothyroidism treatment. According to national guidelines, it is recommended that we take 20-35 g/d. That is pretty easy, so we might like to go easy on these food choices ‘whole grains, vegetables , fruits, beans, and legumes.
Limit your latté’s ladies!!
Who would think to take their medication with their morning coffee? Surely not , but I too , in the past ,have been known to from time to time . This is definitely not a good habit to get into as caffeine not only interrupts the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement, but usually results in uncontrollable thyroid levels.If you are on medication take it with water only and wait approximately 30 minutes after taking your meds before having your first sip of coffee !
Get rid of the beers.
Ideally, people with hypothyroidism should cut out alcohol completely or drink in careful moderation. Alcohol is toxic and again disrupts hormonal synthesis wreaking havoc on thyroid levels in the body.
The hypothyroidism diet eliminates foods that can cause inflammation and immune reactions and instead focuses on foods that help heal the GI tract, balance hormones and reduce inflammation.
So there you have it ..........Although food as medicine is highly recommended this is proving to be quite the challenge. A GP quoted once that it was easier to have an alcoholic stop drinking than it is to get people to eat well. In my experience too , people are only too willing to take a pill, a pharmaceutical or neutroceutical than change their diet. Research has definitely shown that eating well , eliminating toxins getting some fresh air each day and stressing less can definitely improve your health and general sense of well being.
If you are interested in further information , as no two people that have Hashimotos are the same it may be worth considering a visit to a qualified clinical Nutritionist and remember when in doubt, leave it out !
1Autoimmune gut-repair diet - Dr. K. News
2 Hectman , Leah. Clinical Naturopathic medicine;“The body system”; ch17 The endocrine system’pg 1062-1070
3 Reversing Hashimoto's Naturally - Thrive with Jen Sinklerwww.jensinkler.com/easing-out-of-hashimoto-thyroi
Eating With Hashimoto's Disease - The Science Of Eating
Caroline is a clinical Nutritionist practicing on a consultation basis. Caroline's experience encompasses research and writing on disease prevention with natural herbs, spices, foods and supplementation. Caroline practices holistic nutritional medicine that combines the three elements of being human. Those being, the physical , emotional and the mental components that make us who we are. All of these criterior is fueled by the fundamental of all health, food .