Busting Thyroid Myths: Some Common Diet Myths and Truths

Submitted by: Rachana Arya

Introduction

The thyroid gland is often blamed for all health problems. Always cold? Blame the thyroid. Tired? Get your thyroid checked. Gaining weight? It must be the thyroid.

Although the thyroid gland regulates several functions in the body, including temperature, metabolism, and digestionit gets too much negative attention.

What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is an important endocrine gland that produces thyroid hormones that regulate many body activities and ensure health.

When the thyroid becomes sluggish or overactive, many problems can occur. One of the most effective ways to stimulate thyroid function is through our diet.

Many components in our regular diet can help the thyroid remain healthy or establish a state of homeostasis if it is not functioning properly.

What can go wrong with the thyroid gland?

  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) – insufficient thyroxine is produced for the body’s metabolic needs.
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) – too much thyroxine is produced for the body’s metabolic needs.

This blog is a two-part series focused on thyroid health information.

Before we get into the best thyroid foods, we’ll dispel some popular myths about how nutrition and diet affect thyroid health.

Let’s start with some of the myths about what you can and can’t eat if you have thyroid disease.

Myth #1: If you have thyroid disease, you should avoid eating cruciferous vegetables.

fact:

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. Some researchers believe that these types of vegetables may affect how the thyroid gland absorbs iodine, which plays a vital role in thyroid hormone production.

Therefore, people with thyroid problems should avoid cruciferous vegetables. The truth is, unless you’re already sensitive to cruciferous vegetables, you can—and should—eat these vegetables in moderation because they contain many beneficial vitamins and nutrients that are part of a healthy diet.

Myth #2: A gluten-free diet can help treat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

fact:

Gluten gets its fair share of criticism, with many nutritionists telling us that a gluten-free diet may be the key to better health for certain people.

More and more research is showing that eliminating gluten is essential for treating thyroid disease. This is a complete myth, even gluten free foods like wheat, barley and rye cannot help or cure Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in any way.

Myth #3: People with thyroid disorders must follow special diets.

fact:

Hypothyroid diet claims abound. However, there is no evidence that eating or avoiding certain foods will improve thyroid function in people with hypothyroidism.

A healthy and balanced diet is essential for everyone, including you. Thyroid disorders cannot be caused or cured by diet alone.

Myth #4: Foods like soy are bad for the thyroid

fact:

Soy is found in a variety of foods, including dressings, soy milk, tofu, and soy sauce. There has long been a heated debate about the potential negative effects of certain compounds in soy.

Some researchers believe that components in soy — called isoflavones — may increase levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which affects how much T3 and T4 the thyroid produces.

However, other studies show that soy has no effect on thyroid hormones and very modestly increases thyroid-stimulating hormone levels.

However, there is no evidence that people who have hypothyroidism should not consume products that contain soy.

In general, experts recommend that people who have a borderline thyroid gland consume soy in moderation.

Final thoughts

Obviously, there may not be a one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone.

Therefore, in addition to a certain diet that can help strengthen thyroid function, lifestyle changes can also lead to improved thyroid function.

Thyroid disease can manifest itself in the form of mild anxiety, irritability and nervousness. The cause of these symptoms can be detected with a simple blood test.

Book a total thyroid profile test today!

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