Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is one of the most common autoimmune disorders that damage thyroid tissue via lymphocytes. The thyroid gland secretes hormones that affect the function of every vital organ in the system, including the heart, lungs, skeleton, digestive, and central nervous system.
It holds a significant role in metabolism, growth, hormone regulation and maintaining body temperature. In a person with Hashimoto’s, the thyroid gland is inflamed and does not perform the normal functions as a healthy thyroid. The chief hormones secreted by the thyroid are thyroxine and triiodothyronine, any damage to this gland leads to inadequate thyroid hormone production.
When the thyroid gland stops the production of vital hormones, it results in weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, irregular bowel movements, tiredness, and extreme sensitivity to cold temperature.
Role Of Diet And Lifestyle
Diet and lifestyle habits play a crucial role in managing Hashimoto’s, as many people find that their symptoms continue even with medications. Chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland is one of the factors behind the broad spectrum of Hashimoto’s symptoms. As inflammation is often associated with diet, hence modifying diet and lifestyle habits are essential in reducing the risk of other ailments. A person with Hashimoto’s disease is at an increased risk of developing dyslipidaemia, obesity, and diabetes. Several studies reveal that limiting certain foods, taking supplements, and changing the lifestyle may remarkably improve the symptoms and overall quality of life.
Some clinical evidence reveals that certain diets can help regulate thyroid function, ease symptoms, and manage Hashimoto’s, which include:
Gluten-free or Grain-free Diet
Most people with Hashimoto’s experience food sensitivity, particularly to gluten. A survey shows that 76% of people with Hashimoto’s were sensitive to gluten and experienced constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, flatulence, acidity, fatigue, and brain fog as their reactions to gluten, the rest who opted for a gluten-free diet felt much better and improved gut health, mood, energy levels and reduced weight.
The best possible way to go gluten-free is to pay attention on naturally available gluten-free foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, seafood, beans, legumes, nuts, and eggs.
While a grain-free diet is more restrictive than a gluten-free diet, as it refrains all grains. Though this diet may also deliver some incentives, research supporting it is limited.
The Autoimmune Protocol Diet
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet is formulated especially for people with autoimmune diseases. It focuses on avoiding harmful foods like grains, dairy, nightshades vegetables, sugar, coffee, legumes, eggs, alcohol, nut, seeds, oil, and food additives. Following this diet can lead to significant improvement in health condition and decreased levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. However, keep in mind that AIP Diet is a phased elimination and should be prescribed and monitored by a nutritionist.
Low-Glycaemic Index Diet
A low glycaemic index diet uses the GI index to monitor which foods are less likely to affect blood sugar levels. Going for low glycaemic foods may aid to control blood sugar levels and support weight loss.
Anti-inflammatory Food Diet
Inflammation is the main factor behind Hashimoto’s disease, thus an anti-inflammatory diet packed with fruits and vegetables may help to mitigate symptoms. A rich array of vegetables, fruits, spices, and fatty fish are some of the food sources with strong anti-inflammatory activities.
Nutrient-Dense Whole Food Diet
Adapting a diet low in added sugar and highly processed foods, but loaded with whole, nutrient-rich foods may help uplift overall health, manage weight, and lessen symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s. A nutrient-dense diet comprises variety and focuses on whole natural foods like colourful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, and complex carbs. These foods are laden with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that lower inflammation and enhance optimal health. Some of the nutrient-dense foods include:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, moringa leaves, kale etc.,
- Fatty fish
- A rich array of colourful veggies such as broccoli, carrots, beetroot, and red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
- Fruits like berries, apples, and bananas
- Healthy source of fats like walnut, olive, and avocado
- Lean proteins, including tofu, eggs, nuts, beans, and fish
- Beans and legumes
- Anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, ginger
Key Nutrients Of Concern
Researchers recommend that certain nutrients play a vital role in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which include:
Vitamin D: People with Hashimoto’s disease have shown to be deficient in vitamin D, thus adding vitamin D rich foods like mushrooms, fortified dairy products, eggs or taking supplements may be beneficial.
Selenium: Evidence reveals that taking selenium supplements may help reduce antithyroid peroxidase antibodies and uplift overall well-being in people with Hashimoto’s.
Zinc: It is a key mineral for thyroid function, when taken alone or with selenium, it may help promote thyroid function.
Magnesium: Deficiency of magnesium increases the risk of Hashimoto’s disease and higher thyroid antibodies. Supplementing with magnesium may improve symptoms in people with thyroid disease.
Iron: People with Hashimoto’s disease are more prone to develop anaemia, thus taking iron supplements may be valuable in correcting iron deficiency.