Hypothyroidism, Diet & Exercise

Hypothyroidism is a serious condition that causes an insufficient production of thyroid hormone. Among other things, this can have a significant effect on your metabolism. A proper diet and exercise routine can prove to be effective in helping to alleviate some of the symptoms that come from hypothyroidism.



Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. It does not usually cause immediate symptoms, but, over time, it can cause serious health problems if it goes untreated. Eventually, hypothyroidism can lead to obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease. Fortunately, there are treatment options available that are usually simple, safe and effective.


Your thyroid gland helps regulate your metabolism, among other things. If the gland is not working properly, it may cause your body to slow down and result in certain symptoms, such as fatigue, slowed heart rate, constipation and the inability to lose weight.


Diet is not a cure for hypothyroidism, nor should it be used as the sole treatment of the disease. However, certain dietary tips can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Your thyroid gland needs iodine to produce its hormone. Foods high in iodine can help your condition. Aside from iodine, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends eating foods high in B vitamins and iron, such as whole grains and fresh vegetables. Also, try to eat foods high in antioxidants, like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Foods to Avoid

You should avoid any foods that prevent proper thyroid function. This includes broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, turnips, soybeans, peanuts, linseed, pine nuts, millet, cassava, and mustard greens. You should also avoid soy products, unless your doctor has approved them. According to the UMMC, some evidence suggests that soy interferes with thyroid hormone absorption. Iron supplements may also interfere with the absorption of the hormone.


Exercise may prove helpful if you suffer from hypothyroidism. Because hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism and can cause weight gain, physical activity fights that on both fronts. Exercise helps to speed up your metabolism. In addition, it will help you burn calories and lose weight. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day is good. If you already exercise regularly and are still suffering from symptoms, try adding an extra 10 or 15 minutes to your workout.


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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.