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5 Power Foods for Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

In the last blog post I spoke about 5 power foods for hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease, and so it’s only fair that I put together a blog post where I discuss 5 power foods for hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  Remember that this list isn’t all-inclusive, as there are other foods which are nutrient dense that can benefit people with hypothyroid conditions.  Also, keep in mind that while I intentionally left off cruciferous vegetables because of the stigma they receive by many people with hypothyroidism due to their goitrogenic properties, many people with hypothyroid conditions can eat normal amounts of cruciferous vegetables.

Keep in mind that not everyone with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis will be able to eat all of these “power foods”.  For example, the first power food I listed is coconut oil, and while most people do fine when eating this, if someone has a condition such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth then they might not be able to consume coconut oil, along with other coconut products.  Obviously everyone is different, and while most people with hypothyroid conditions can eat the foods I’ve listed, there are always exceptions.  So with that being said, let’s go ahead and talk about these power foods.

Power Food #1: Coconut Oil. Because coconut oil is a saturated fat, many people still try to avoid this oil out of fear that saturated fats can cause heart disease.  Of course this isn’t proven in the latest research, and the evidence actually shows that coconut oil can lower lipid levels in serum and tissues and LDL oxidation by physiological oxidants (1).  Another study demonstrated that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic (can reduce fever) properties (2).  The anti-inflammatory properties can be especially beneficial for those with autoimmune thyroid conditions.  Coconut oil is also one of the fats you can safely cook with.

Lauric acid is the main ingredient of coconut oil that offers some wonderful benefits.  In addition to the benefits I already listed above, coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties due to lauric acid, which converts into monolaurin (3) (4) (5).  Lauric acid also has insulinotropic properties (6), which means it helps stimulate the production of insulin.  Another study showed that lauric acid present in coconut oil might protect against diabetes-induced dyslipidemia (7).

There are some sources which demonstrate that coconut oil can speed up the metabolism, and thus benefit people with hypothyroidism.  In fact, a few sources claim that coconut oil can cure hypothyroidism.  Although coconut oil might have a positive benefit on the metabolism, keep in mind that most cases of hypothyroidism have an autoimmune component, and just taking coconut oil isn’t going to address this.  But with that being said, due to some of the other health benefits I mentioned earlier, coconut oil should be consumed by most people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions.  I recommend for most people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions to consume at least one tablespoon of coconut oil per day.

Power Food #2: Avocados. Avocados are one of most nutrient dense foods, and so eating an avocado per day can help to provide many nutrients, and comes with other health benefits as well.  Current research has shown that avocado seeds may improve hypercholesterolemia, and can be useful in the treatment of hypertension, inflammatory conditions and diabetes (8). Seeds have also been found to possess insecticidal, fungicidal, and anti-microbial activities (8).  Avocado oil consists of 71% monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), 13% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and 16% saturated fatty acids (SFA), which helps to promote healthy blood lipid profiles and enhance the bioavailability of fat soluble vitamins and phytochemicals from the avocado or other fruits and vegetables, naturally low in fat, which are consumed with avocados (9).  A recent study showed that avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome (10).  If you are unable to purchase organic avocados, the good news is that avocados are currently on the “Clean Fifteen” list of the Environmental Working Group, which means that non-organic avocados are lower in pesticides when compared to other fruits and vegetables.

Power Food #3: Bone Broth. Bone broth involves boiling the bones of animals, and it is very nutrient dense.  In addition, bone broth includes amino acids which can help to reduce inflammation and heal the gut.  This can be essential for someone who has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, as many people with this condition have a leaky gut.  And some researchers feel that everyone with any type of autoimmune condition has a leaky gut.  I’m not sure if this is true, but regardless of whether or not someone has a leaky gut, drinking bone broth can be beneficial.  And if someone does in fact have a leaky gut, then drinking a few cups of bone broth can help with the healing process, assuming the trigger which caused the leaky gut in the first place has been removed.

How much bone broth should someone drink on a daily basis?  If someone has received a positive test for a leaky gut then drinking at least 2 or 3 cups of bone broth daily would be a good idea.  If someone has an autoimmune condition and doesn’t know if they have a leaky gut, I would recommend drinking at least one or two cups per day, although more than this would be fine.  Of course the quality of the bone broth is important.  For example, if you are drinking beef bone broth then I would make sure the bones are from cows which were 100% grass fed.

Power Food #4: Asparagus: Asparagus possesses a variety of biological properties, as they are rich in antioxidants, plus they are anti-inflammatory, antihepatotoxic, antibacterial,  and antioxytocic (11).  Asparagus can also protect the liver cells against toxins and might even help to alleviate alcoholic hangovers (12).  This plant also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and folic acid (11). Other primary chemical constituents of Asparagus are essential oils, asparagine, arginine, tyrosine, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin, and rutin), resin, and tannin (11).  Just as is the case with avocados, asparagus is also currently on the “Clean Fifteen” list from the Environmental Working Group.

Power Food #5: Garlic. Garlic has many different health benefits, and while some people are unable to tolerate garlic, for those who are able to eat garlic I recommend doing so on a frequent basis.  With regards to autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (as well as Graves’ Disease), garlic can help to decrease proinflammatory cytokines and suppress nuclear factor kappa B (13) (14), which are both factors in autoimmune conditions.  In addition, many people are aware of the antimicrobial properties of garlic, as garlic can help to eradicate bacteria such as H. Pylori, and in some cases can even be effective against strains which are antibiotic resistant (15).  Garlic also has antifungal and antiparasitic activities (16) (17), and of course pathogens can play a role in thyroid autoimmunity.

How much garlic should you eat on a daily basis?  Well, it really does depend on the person, as if someone has a known infection then they should be eating more garlic than someone without an infection, and probably should also consider taking a garlic supplement on a daily basis.  Eating one or two cloves of garlic when having an infection would also be wise, and eating a clove of garlic per day would benefit those without an infection, as garlic can help to prevent infections as well.

So if you have a hypothyroid condition then I would consider incorporating most, if not all of these power foods.  Avocados and coconut oil are healthy types of fats, and both have anti-inflammatory properties.  Bone broth can benefit those who have a leaky gut, which is a component in many people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  And some sources claim that everyone with an autoimmune condition has a leaky gut, which would make bone broth even more important.  Asparagus has numerous properties which can be beneficial, and garlic is one of the most beneficial foods.


 

17 Comments

  1. Kristine says:

    Hurray!
    I already eat all of this and am glad I have an egg with asparagus, (grilled) 5 mornings a week!
    I have lost weight finally. It takes research which I get HERE, and just trying out foods to see how I react.
    I wish I could get my endo to consider Armour. My osteopath said he thinks that works best overall. It seems he is just stuck on SYNTHROID and TSH levels ONLY.

    I think it has to do with insurance and them being so cheap to pay for additional testing. I have no problem paying for it myself if I have to. I want to have energy instead of just pretending.

    Thank you for information about foods~

    • Melissa says:

      I agree with what you posted, I love getting my researched information from this site also. I also eat these power foods but I see I definitely do not get enough of each.
      I wanted to make a comment about your desire for Armour. I took Armour for almost 2 years, and did absolutely worse then when on Synthroid. This can occur if you have the Auto immune version of Hypothyroidism (Hashimotos) But my anti bodies do not test as though I have an auto immune issue. This may or may not be the case. However, You can get the second ingredient that is in Armour as a prescription in addition to synthroid. It is called Cytomel and there is a generic also. I did better on BOTH.
      I recently had a problem taking the generic cytomel, but my doc is aware of it and we will be working on it. However in general, the cytomel (t3) has defintely made me feel better then being on t4 alone.
      Hope this helps you get to a better place with your thyroid!

      • Kristine says:

        Thanks for the comment. I am presently changing endo’s, as mine was just never going to even let me try the Cytomel.
        I think its worth a try, so I switched officially and am waiting for my records to transfer.
        My TSH levels literally dropped way too low, when I was in the hospital recovering from a 3 level lumbar fusion and 2 artificial discs.
        Does anesthesia normally effect those levels?
        The hospital lab report was forwarded to my first endo, but he refused to even acknowledge those results.
        We really have to fight for care these days, and I am glad I am not a quitter.
        Again, thank you for your input.

        • Carol Douglas says:

          Hi Kristine,

          I have Hashimoto’s and was on thyroxine (synthroid) for years. I kept feeling worse. I have changed doctors and he has put me on Armour and I now feel normal and I am losing weight and my hair has improved so I wanted to let you know of a positive. I also changed my diet significantly. I know Armour is not for everyone but neither is synthroid.

          I wish you well

        • Jon says:

          Hi Kristine,

          I was interested to read of your low TSH in hospital, as I feel I went hyperthyroid when hospitalized with vertebral compression fractures. I woke up pouring with sweat and had (undiagnosed) orthostatic hypotension and continued heat intolerance after being discharged.

          More recently I was hospitalized again and had a high TSH which had lowered considerably by the next test and then proceeded to rise. I believe the stress of the sudden admission caused the release of thyroid hormones, with a beneficial effect on my leg edema.

          Now diagnosed as hypothyroid, thinking back on the experiences has prompted me to add T3 to my T4 treatment, with good results on the edema, which had caused leg ulcers over the past several winters.

          • Kristine Blake says:

            Thank you for your response. My room was filled with doctors at 3AM, and I was shaking when they woke me. They seemed very concerned at the time, and they did blood work. They asked me did I know where I was, and things of that nature.
            When I told the neurosurgeon at a follow up visit, he acted like it was all normal.
            If it is “normal” why all the fuss? I also told him prior that I have Hashimoto’s.
            They discharged me days early,with no antibiotic. He only did one MRI this past August 2016 from a January 2016 lumbar triple fusion.
            Now I have an infected abscess in my spine at the exact location of the fusion.
            A friend of mine with Hashimotos’ has 3 “cyst-like” fluid deposits in her low spine area too! Is this a coincidence I wonder?
            Do people with Hashimotos have a longer healing time and do we have a higher rate of infection post surgery?
            So far he has no opted to drain it.

      • Kristine Blake says:

        You are correct. Armour is NOT for everyone. It seems to be a trial and error method to find out.
        My new endocrinologist, reluctantly added 5mcg of generic cytomel BID. I was taking (2) hour long naps a day, and I was freezing and achy all the time. I was just hoping to ditch those naps.
        Instead, I got relief from all three symptoms!
        No more naps at all. (I did get a whisper of a headache when I first started taking the cytomel)
        Its like someone turned the thermostat up in my body. I am no longer freezing and that achy feeling all over has gone bye bye.
        You really have to be adamant about how you are feeling, I tracked my temperature BEFORE getting out of bed for 2 weeks, so I could inform her of how low my temp was consistently.
        She acted like all of that was nonsense. She thinks keeping vitamin D levels up is also pointless and not related to this disease.
        I messaged her and thanked her for giving the cytomel a chance, and that I am like a new person.

        FYI: I accidentally ( in a post below) said my TSH levels crashed in the hospital, when I should have said skyrocketed. (too high) Sorry about that mistake.

  2. Alliyanna says:

    I tried armour and all I got was migraines and got them quickly!!! I think the other thing that helps is nascent iodine. It has helped my daughter with her hypothyroidism, but I always get a terrible gut ache after a few weeks….same with Vit K2. Any ideas what is going on?

    TIA
    Aliyanna

  3. Paul says:

    T3 works for me along with t4

  4. Vanessa says:

    Unfortunately, many of us with autoimmune disorders are also sensitive to salicylates, and 3 of your 5 power foods are pretty high in this, really making it difficult for us to take advantage of these things. I, for one, am really getting tired of hitting dietary road blocks every direction I go, between all my food sensitivities and the foods I need to avoid for my Hashi’s.

  5. Lauren says:

    Hi Dr. Eric,
    Should the garlic be consumed raw for its benefits (I think this is definitely the case for antiparasitic effect) or can it be eaten cooked with other foods? What about pine nuts? Both are main ingredients for Genovese pesto, but I have heard that people with Hashimoto’s should avoid pine nuts. Thanks!!

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Lauren,

      Raw garlic is more beneficial than cooked garlic, although cooked garlic also has some health benefits as well. But raw garlic is preferred for those willing to eat it, which isn’t always the case. As for the pine nuts, if you’re following an autoimmune paleo diet then ideally you will want to avoid all nuts and seeds, and the reason for this is because a leaky gut is common with autoimmune conditions such as Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

  6. Dawn says:

    In regards to the various meds and actions/reactions or lack of either; My journey with Hashimoto’s has taken me through several Thyroid meds and ALL of their side effects. Be sure you COMPLETELY check the ingredients of each one (several have wheat & corn as a binders and yeast). I also have “unofficially diagnosed” Celiac and my body recognizes corn protein the same as it does gluten. FINALLY, after 3 years and changing my primary care physician, who sent me to an Endo, who agreed with me (because I did A LOT of research) that I should be on a liquid thyroid med. (liquids do not have the binders)…..TIROSINT! Also be sure you are getting the proper dosage, generally close to your body weight in mcg.

  7. Laura says:

    I use coconut oil, internally and externally. I most often eat an avocado each day. The other three I must avoid due to Bile Salts Malabsorption, after giving up my gallbladder.

  8. Linda Pluschke says:

    I don’t understand why no one talks about oysters for Hashimoto’s. They are extremely high in selenium, Zinc, B12 as well as being a good source of Iron. It seems to be any non vegitarian/Vegan Hashimoto’s patient should do well to include them regularly in there diet.

  9. monsie pickles says:

    I have the opportunity to try the 5 foods recommended. Never better than
    now that due to a mistake I find myself without Nature-Throid tablets available until I get them from USA. I am sure those 5 foods will make a
    difference. I know the difference eating some foods has made to my IBS.
    I hope the 5 foods will help me with the Hashi’s.

  10. monsie pickles says:

    By the way, could somebody help me to choose the garlic? In Austalia where I live, there are 2 types of garlic. Big cloves, and small cloves.
    The big cloves are less strong than the small cloves? Does it matter which ones to take? I was brought up eating garlic. I stopped eating garlic it for cultural reasons… my partner is British and British people do not like garlic…

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Get Your Free Guide Entitled
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Natural Treatment Methods:
Graves Disease Treatment
Hypothyroidism Treatment
Hyperthyroidism Treatment
Natural Thyroid treatment


Conventional Treatment
Methods:
Radioactive Iodine
Thyroid Hormone