foods to improve an underactive thyroid

foods for thyroid apples
Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath … while you may be a heavy metal fan, your thyroid? Not so much. That’s because heavy metals, mercury in particular, are chemically similar to iodine — an element the thyroid needs and readily absorbs. When metals like mercury take the place of iodine at binding sites, thyroid hormone production grinds to a halt. The good news is you can naturally detoxify with fruits that are rich in pectin — a gelatin-like fiber that sticks to toxic compounds in the blood and flushes them out of the body through the urine. In fact, citrus pectin increased mercury excretion in the urine by 150 percent within 24 hours of supplementation, according to one study. As a weight loss bonus, research shows pectin can limit the amount of fat your cells can absorb. You’ll need about four pieces of whole fruit daily to reap the benefits. Grapefruits, oranges and peaches are all good sources, but since most pectin is found in the fibrous pith and peel, whole apples are one of the best.

Selenium is an important mineral for proper thyroid functioning. It protects the thyroid from inflammatory by products of hormone production.

A 2015 study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism notes that low selenium is associated with increased risk of thyroid disease. Moreover, increased selenium intake may reduce this risk.

The best source of selenium is Brazil nuts. A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that eating two Brazil nuts on a daily basis is effective for increasing selenium status.

In fact, including this high-selenium food in your diet could prevent the need for fortification or supplements to improve the selenium status.

Furthermore, because Brazil nuts are rich in the amino acid L-arginine, they even help reduce weight.

You can eat 2 or 3 Brazil nuts as a healthy snack, or include a few in salads or stir-fries.

Coconut oil contains healthy medium-chain fatty acids that help people suffering from hypothyroidism. These fatty acids stimulate thyroid hormone production as well as keep the gland functioning normally.

Furthermore, coconut oil promotes weight loss and reduces cholesterol levels, two common issues related to underactive thyroid.

Replace your regular cooking oil with extra-virgin coconut oil. In baking, you can use coconut oil in place of butter. You can also eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil daily by adding it to your milk, tea, hot chocolate or smoothie.

Yogurt is also good for your thyroid health, due to its high vitamin D content. In fact, vitamin D deficiency is linked to Hashimoto’s disease, one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism.

A 2013 study published in Endocrine Practice reports that vitamin D has a potential role in development of Hashimoto’s disease and/or its progression to hypothyroidism.

Moreover, probiotic yogurt helps maintain the balance of “good bacteria” in the gut. Yogurt also contains significant amounts of calcium, protein and iodine that are important for thyroid as well as overall health.

Aim to eat at least 1 cup of yogurt daily, either plain topped with fresh fruits or as an ingredient in a smoothie.