Lowering Thyroid Antibodies Naturally Pt 2: 5 Foods to Avoid if you have Hypothyroidism
In this multi part series, I will be outlining and discussing what thyroid antibodies are, why you should care about them and how to naturally lower them in your body- allowing your thyroid gland to function more optimally! If you want to know more about thyroid antibodies, why they develop and 7 common triggers that can cause the development and perpetuation of the antibody attack on the thyroid gland read my post here.
In this post, we will discuss certain foods you should avoid if you have thyroid anti-bodies and why.
Food is medicine, it always has been and it always will be. We are essentially what we eat and if we put crappy food in our bodies we will get crappy results. This is now true more than ever before as our food supply has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Chemicals and pesticides are sprayed on so much of our produce, GMO foods are commonplace, the fish in our oceans are contaminated with heavy metals and much of our livestock are fed soy, corn and antibiotics- things that really do not make up healthy meat. When you sit back and think of it all- it not only makes me sad but its also angering… and I haven’t even mentioned the amount of junk food and fast food North Americans are consuming on a daily basis. If this is what we are feeding our bodies with- it is no wonder why so many North Americans are sick.
Autoimmune Disease, including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (the #1 cause for Hypothyroidism in North America) is on the rise. Over ninety percent of people living with hypothyroidism actually have Hashimotos, and don’t even know it as their antibodies have never been tested.
The good news is that there is SO MUCH THAT CAN BE DONE TO HEAL FROM AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE!
And I believe it truly starts with food.
If you are currently living with hypothyroidism (and you are in that 90% that has the autoimmune form of the disease) here are 5 foods that you should avoid:
1. Carrageenan: This is a common food additive found in everything from baby formula to almond milk. Research has shown that it may increase inflammation, increase leaky gut (a major factor involved in the development and progression of autoimmune disease) and may lead to gastric ulcers. There is also evidence to suggest it may have a role in cancer development. If you love your nut and coconut milks (like I do!) ensure they do not contain carrageenan or simply make your own at home.
2. Soy: Soy and soy products (like tofu) contain specific substances known as goitrogens that have shown to negatively impact the thyroid gland. Other foods, like brassica vegetables also contain these substances however studies have shown they do not seem to impact the thyroid gland as much as soy may. However, soy also carries some beneficial properties and can be a good option for vegan and vegetarian folks. If you do enjoy soy and have hypothyroidism, consider limiting your intake to 3 times a week. Ensuring you have enough iodine in your diet can also help to mitigate the effects of the goitrogens on the thyroid gland- but-if you have high levels of antibodies iodine should be avoided. I will expand on this in another post!
3. Artificial sweeteners: As I discussed in detail in part 1 of this series, leaky gut is a main component of the development of anutoimmune disease. Artificial sweetners are linked to damaging the gut and microbiome and may contribute to leaky gut. Contrary to how they are marketed and advertised, they also may INCREASE weight gain due to the damage they do to the gut. Artificial sweeteners include sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (equal), acesulfame potassium, saccharin (sweet n’low), diet sodas and many other “diet” packaged foods. Always make sure to read the labels and opt for healthier sugar substitutes like honey, maple syrup and stevia.
4. Gluten: I know, I love it too- but if you have hypothyroidism, removing glutenous foods from the diet can be a game changer. There are various reasons why going gluten free appears to help the thyroid gland. People with hypothyroidism are more likely to have undiagnosed celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Plus, gluten may contribute to leaky gut! Going gluten free can be challenging at first, but there are so many other delicious options available everywhere these days. Plus- most people with hypothyroidism notice a big difference in their symptoms after just 2-3 weeks of being completely gluten free. For many- this is enough to keep them going.
5. Farmed Fish: Unfortunately, farmed fish contains a lot of chemicals and other junk that can harm the thyroid gland. PCBs, a chemical that is found in particularly high levels in farmed salmon has been shown to harm the thyroid gland. On the other hand, clean sources of fish, that have been wild caught can offer tremendous benefit to the thyroid. Look for sustainable choices like sardines and anchovies or a good quality, third party tested fish oil made from these fish.
If you are looking for a complete list of all the foods you should avoid while living with Hypothyroisidm, keep your eyes out for my book that will be released December 2020. It will contain an entire diet guide for those with Hashimoto’s- including delicious recipes!