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Diets for People With Hypothyroidism

by Ashley Schwader

About Ashley Schwader

Ashley Schwader is a certified personal trainer through ACE and a certified Pilates and group instructor through AFAA. Her background includes personal training, nutrition, weight management, corporate wellness, and health promotion. She earned a Bachelor of Science in health and exercise science, from Colorado State University.


The thyroid gland is located at the front of your neck and produces thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism occurs when this gland no longer produces enough hormone. Side effects are often weight gain, headaches, fatigue and constipation. Diet is important if you have hypothyroidism to help treat these side effects. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you are concerned about your diet and you have hypothyroidism.


Many months of iodine deficiency in a person's diet may cause hypothyroidism, explains MedlinePlus. This deficiency can occur in places that have iodine-poor soil and more often affects women. If you have hypothyroidism, make sure that it is not caused by lack of iodine by eating a diet rich in iodine foods. Examples include iodized table salt and seafood such as cod, sea bass, haddock and perch. Dairy is also higher in iodine content. If you are concerned about low iodine causing hypothyroidism, be sure to speak with your doctor first to measure your blood levels.

Foods to Avoid

Some foods in the diet can interfere with thyroid function. Examples from the University of Maryland Medical Center include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, turnips, soybeans, peanuts, linseed, pine nuts, millet, cassava, and mustard greens. If you have hypothyroidism, you should also avoid products and foods with soy. Some evidence indicates that soy may interfere with absorption of thyroid hormone either from medication or the body's naturally producing the hormone.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids either from supplements or from food in the diet can help decrease inflammation and help with immunity in people with hypothyroidism. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish such as halibut, salmon, tuna and mackerel. They are also found in nuts such as walnuts and almonds. If you have hypothyroidism, you can also take an omega-3 or fish oil supplement, aiming for 1 to 2 tbsp. per day. Be sure to speak with your doctor first before taking a supplement because omega-3 fatty acids can thin the blood and can be a danger to those taking blood thinners.


The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends eating a diet high in iron and B vitamins if you have hypothyroidism. Examples include whole grains, fresh vegetables and sea vegetables. It is also important to eat foods high in antioxidants to build the immune system and help hormone function. Aim for three to five servings per day of fruits such as blueberries, cherries and tomatoes and vegetables such as squash, lettuce and bell peppers.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.