The Healthiest Foods For Your Thyroid, According To Science

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck that controls hormone production, metabolism, and muscle and digestive function. If you don’t take care of it, the thyroid can become diseased. Over 70% of hypothyroidism cases are due to poor diet habits. But if you use the right cooking oils, eat high-selenium nuts, and get creative with vegetables, your thyroid will be safer. Here is the best food for your thyroid, according to research.

Shellfish Is One Of The Best Foods For Thyroid Health


Shellfish, including clams and mussels, is one of the best food groups for thyroid health. In 2002, the British Journal of Cancer suggested that shellfish might protect the thyroid. It provides iodine, which not only fuels the thyroid but also prevents diseases.

But shellfish don’t just have iodine. In July 2020, researchers from the University of Cambridge confirmed that shellfish contains selenium, zinc, and many other thyroid-helping nutrients. It also has four times more vitamin D and 26 times more vitamin A than salmon. It’s a nutrition powerhouse!

Coconut Oil Is A Thyroid-Safe Cooking Oil


Coconut oil is far better for your thyroid than some other cooking oils. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola of Mercola Health, “Unlike soy oil and other vegetable oils, coconut oil does not interfere with thyroid function.” It might even benefit the thyroid.

Doctors Hospital claims that the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil have anti-inflammatory effects. In other words, it heals organs and increases the metabolism, both of which may benefit the thyroid. Although there are few studies on coconut oil and thyroid health, it seems promising.

Coffee Can Lower The Risk Of Thyroid Cancer


If you drink coffee, then you might have a lower risk of thyroid disease. In 2017, researchers examined 41 studies on thyroid cancer. They discovered that drinking coffee lowered the risk of thyroid cancer because it inhibits tumor growth.

Caffeinated coffee seemed to have a better effect than decaffeinated. However, be careful with coffee if you take thyroid medication. According to the scientific journal Thyroid, drinking coffee within an hour of taking your medication can lower its efficiency. Wait before you drink in the morning.

Kale Can Help, Despite People Saying The Opposite


Some people believe that, because of kale’s high iodine content, it harms the thyroid. Although people with thyroid disorders should limit iodine, they should not avoid it entirely. This nutrient is necessary for healthy hormone production and thyroid function.

“Cruciferous vegetables [like kale] are part of a healthy and balanced diet, and I encourage patients with thyroid disorders to continue eating them in moderation,” explains Northwestern Medicine Endocrinologist Dr. Ayla Bakar. So don’t fret–enjoy kale as part of a healthy diet.

Brazil Nuts Give You Ten Times The Selenium You Need


Brazil nuts are rich sources of selenium; one ounce gives you 988% of your daily recommended intake. Fortunately, selenium is also essential for your thyroid. It helps the thyroid produce enzymes and protects it against free radicals, according to a 2015 study.

In The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists reported that selenium converts the thyroid hormone T4 to T3. Low levels of T3 can cause an immune disorder of the thyroid. If you eat a few Brazil nuts occasionally, your thyroid will thank you.

Seaweed Might Help, Depending On Your Diet


Seaweed has a lot of iodine. Depending on the type, it might contain between 11% to 1,989% per gram. People in some countries, like America and Europe, need more iodine in their diets to take care of their thyroid.

Both other countries like Japan get too much iodine, which increases the risk of thyroid diseases. So how much is too much? Registered dietitian Cynthia Sass recommends eating one serving of seaweed per week. That gives you thyroid-healthy iodine without going overboard. Add seaweed to rice, fish, stir fry, sushi, or salads.

Bamboo Shoots Reduce Oxidative Stress In The Thyroid


Bamboo isn’t just for pandas; it can also be cooked into stir fry, soups, noodles, and slaw. Bamboo shoots have many nutrients that heal the body, including the thyroid. It is a natural antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-carcinogen.

In 2020, a study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology analyzed bamboo’s effect on the thyroid. Bamboo shoots reduce oxidative stress in the thyroid, increasing hormone regulation. If your thyroid becomes swollen, eating bamboo shoots might shrink it. Do not pair bamboo with thyroid-decreasing medications, or else it might be too much.

Avocado Prevents Pesticides From Hitting Your Thyroid


Avocado is another protective fruit for your thyroid. Instead of blocking diseases, it inhibits the effect of chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos is a type of pesticide that can damage the thyroid.

According to a 2018 study, avocado can prevent some chlorpyrifos from injuring the thyroid. Avocado contains several antioxidants that protect the thyroid, including vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and calcium. For those with hyperthyroidism who need to limit their iodine intake, avocado is perfect. It provides thyroid-supporting nutrients without overloading you with iodine.

Chamomile Tea Guards Against Thyroid Disease


In 2015, a small Greek study examined a variety of herbal teas and their effects on the thyroid. Of all the teas, chamomile was the most promising. The researchers wrote, “There was a significant reduction in the odds of malignant, benign and any type of thyroid disease with an increased frequency of chamomile consumption.” In other words, chamomile lowers a person’s risk of thyroid cancer and other disorders.

This is due to the tea’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, also known as polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins. It protects the thyroid against disorders and diseases.

Garlic Creates Metabolism-Enhancing Effects


Garlic’s nutrients can protect the thyroid from disease. In 2015, researchers tested garlic on rats with thyroid disorders. They concluded that garlic has “protective effects” for the thyroid and “metabolism-enhancing effect[s].” The researchers credit garlic’s antioxidants for these effects.

Garlic provides many thyroid-helping nutrients, including vitamin C, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients act as guards, protecting the body from diseases, according to The Journal of Nutrition. If you want better thyroid health, chop some fresh garlic and toss it into your cooking.