8 Surprising Superfoods To Support Thyroid Health
When you have thyroid health issues, it’s even more important to consume a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods to help regulate your immune system and balance your thyroid health. Symptoms such as fatigue, thinning hair, irritability, and brain fog are also often closely linked with Hashimoto’s disease, and, believe it or not, our dietary choices can affect how well our bodies are able to manage these symptoms.
When you increase the amount of nutrient-dense foods in your diet and restore depleted nutrients, you give your body the chance to heal from the inside out. Some people may even be able to reduce or eliminate their thyroid medication if dietary protocols are put into place as soon as the condition is diagnosed.
With that being said, I want to share my eight favorite superfoods that do wonders for thyroid health. Many of these foods also support the digestive system as well, which you will learn is a key part of healing from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
1. Bone broth:
One of the many reasons I like bone broth and recommend it to my patients is its ability to help support the gut—digestive support is a big part of the Hashimoto's puzzle. Seventy percent of our immune system resides in the gut1, making it impossible to have a healthy and balanced body without a healthy digestive system. Bone broth naturally heals the gut lining, excellent news for anyone with leaky gut, which most people with autoimmune diseases suffer from! Bone broth is also packed full of amino acids and collagen, making it both a thyroid and digestive health superstar. You can drink it plain, like a savory tea, or use it as a base for soups, rices, and pastas.
An all-around excellent health-promoting superfood, turmeric works well for those with Hashimoto’s since it’s great at reducing inflammation and can even help give your body a detoxifying boost. Detoxification is important because some patients with Hashimoto’s also have heavy metal toxicity. This superfood has also been shown to inhibit thyroid cancer cells.2 Toss it in stir-fries, or sprinkle a bit in your smoothie in the morning.
3. Fermented foods:
Here’s another group of foods that help support a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchee, coconut yogurt, and water kefir are loaded with healthy probiotics to help support the healthy bacteria in the gut. Remember that gut health is central to the health of our immune system, which is uniquely connected to Hashimoto’s disease. More and more evidence points to the fact that intestinal microbiota is essential for hormone balance3. Keeping the bacteria in our gut healthy requires that we feed the healthy bacteria in our digestive system to help keep the pathogenic bacteria out. You can top bowls with sauerkraut or just eat coconut yogurt plain for breakfast!
4. Wild-caught salmon:
Wild-caught salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is critical for keeping inflammation at bay and packs in a large dose of vitamin D. This sunshine vitamin is so important when dealing with Hashimoto’s because having a vitamin D deficiency is closely linked with autoimmune conditions.4 You want to be sure you are getting enough and especially during the colder months when we are not as exposed to natural sunlight. Just be sure to go for wild-caught salmon instead of farm-raised to avoid adding toxins and chemicals to your diet and to gain the most nutritional value.
5. Green plantains:
Have you ever had a green plantain? If not, you should! Green plantains help support Hashimoto’s by again promoting optimal gut health. These plantains are a rich source of resistant starch, which means they help to feed all of those good and healthy bacteria in the gut. With green plantains, you just want to make sure you eat them when they are green and not yellow to prevent adding too much excess sugar to your body. I like them sliced into discs and pan-fried in a bit of coconut oil, with a sprinkle of cinnamon and salt at the end.
6. Coconut oil:
One of the many unwanted side effects of Hashimoto’s is fatigue. If you find yourself dragging all day grabbing cup after cup of coffee just to stay awake, you may want to try adding some coconut oil to your diet. This oil contains two important acids, caprylic and lauric, which help balance your metabolism, fight fatigue, and provide powerful immune-boosting properties. Coconut oil has even been shown to help fight off pathogens in the GI tract. This is extremely important because, as you now know, gut health and thyroid health go hand in hand. Try adding a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to your morning smoothies for an extended energy boost while also supporting your metabolism and keeping your immune system in tiptop shape.
7. Brazil nuts:
Brazil nuts are a thyroid superfood, and the amazing thing about Brazil nuts is that you only need about two per day to reach your selenium requirements! Selenium is super important when it comes to thyroid health because it helps support thyroid hormone metabolism5. On the flip side, when there’s a selenium deficiency, your thyroid suffers.
Selenium can also help decrease anti-thyroid antibodies and has even been shown to help improve the physical structure of the thyroid6 itself. Adding just a couple of Brazil nuts to your diet per day (most people eat them plain, like a supplement) could do wonders for the health of your thyroid.
I have seaweed on my top superfood list due to its natural iodine content. One of the most well-known nutrients associated with Hashimoto’s is iodine, and some people may actually suffer from an iodine deficiency. Keep in mind that if you suffer from a selenium deficiency, iodine can actually cause more inflammation. To prevent this from happening, try adding a couple of Brazil nuts to your diet to help balance both selenium and iodine.
Becky Campbell, D.C., DNM, PSc.D is a board-certified doctor of natural medicine, earned her doctorate in chiropractic at Life University, and has a doctorate of pastoral medicine. She is also the author of The 30-Day Thyroid Reset Plan: Disarming the 7 Hidden Triggers That are Keeping You Sick.
She was initially introduced to functional medicine as a patient after struggling with many of the issues her own patients struggle with today. She has made it her mission to help patients all around the world with her virtual practice. Campbell specializes in Hashimoto’s disease, and she hopes to help others regain their life as functional medicine helped her regain hers.