An estimated 27 million Americans have thyroid disease, and more than half are undiagnosed. Frequently misunderstood, and too often overlooked and misdiagnosed, thyroid disease affects almost every aspect of health. Taking care of it with good nutrition is a smart step in the right direction. Here are some superfoods that research has shown can nurture a healthy thyroid, as well as some ones to avoid.
Coconut and coconut butter, or more commonly known as coconut oil, has been used as a food and medicine since the dawn of history. Unlike saturated animal fats found in meats and dairy products, coconut butter is a raw saturated fat containing fatty acids which the body can metabolize efficiently and convert to energy quickly. Research also shows it helps to regulate thyroid function.
Kelp is a stellar, nutrient-dense sea vegetable. It is also known as Laminaria and contains a natural substance that enhances flavor and tenderizes. Kelp works as a blood purifier and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Its natural iodine may help normalize thyroid-related disorders, like overweight, and lymph system congestion.
Turkey is one of the leanest protein foods and is low in calories, making it an excellent healthy food choice. Turkey also contains selenium which has been shown to inhibit cancer development, improve the immune system, and aid in the metabolism of our thyroid hormone.
Thyroid patients should avoid the consumption of goitrogens, substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland, and which can also cause an enlargement of the thyroid. Goitrogens are in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mustard, kale, turnips, and canola oil. Soy and peanuts also include goitrogens and should be avoided.
Both copper and iron are so important for thyroid function, so thyroid patients should take time to make sure they’re getting enough in their diets. Foods such as organ meats, oysters, clams, crabs, cashews, sunflower seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole-grain products, and cocoa products are all rich in copper. Foods like leafy green vegetables, beans, shellfish, red meat, and poultry are high in iron. Complement your iron intake with adequate amounts of vitamin C from foods such as citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers to help maximize your body’s iron absorption efficiency.