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Hyperthyroidism? Here is the right diet

The thyroid gland is important to the endocrine system. It is located just below the voice box. The gland produces the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which control the way every cell in the body uses energy.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 10, 2012 18:02 IST

The thyroid gland is important to the endocrine system. It is located just below the voice box. The gland produces the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which control the way every cell in the body uses energy.

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid releases too many of its hormones over a short (acute) or long (chronic) period of time. Many diseases and conditions can cause this problem. Graves disease happens when the thyroid gland becomes overactive, producing an excess of thyroid hormone. Inflammation (thyroiditis) due to viral infections or taking large amounts of thyroid hormone causes hyperthyroidism. In rare cases, too much iodine in the diet can cause hyperthyroidism.

People with overactive thyroid very often experience heat intolerance, high blood pressure, nervousness, insomnia, breathlessness, increased bowel movements, light or absent menstrual periods, tiredness, fast heart rate, trembling hands, weight loss and muscle loss.

When your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, it can only be treated with prescription medication and a special diet, as the condition depletes a lot of nutrients from your body. All the bodily processes speed up with this disorder.

Dietary recommendations:

*Avoid foods high in iodine, such as seafood, iodised salt, eggs, curd, and milk.
*Eat cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, preferably raw.
*Green leafy vegetables like mustard greens, spinach and kale are believed to depress the function of your thyroid.
*Consume flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds as they are ideal sources for Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D from eggs, salmon, mackerel and mushrooms. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight.
*Soybeans and soy products can help an over-stimulated thyroid.
*Calcium and magnesium in a 2:1 ratio can reduce bone loss.
*Antioxidant rich foods like berries, grapes, fresh fruits and vegetables offset the damage caused by abnormal metabolism.
*Whole grains like millet and brown rice, combined with nuts and seeds are rich sources of zinc, an important element necessary for all of the body functions that might be depleted due to hyperthyroidism.
*Avoid alcohol, smoking, tea, coffee, colas and chocolates.
*Take a high potency B-complex supplement daily to replenish the B vitamins used up for increased metabolism.
*Ayurvedic herbs like shatavari and ashvagandha will help rebalance the body and prevent unnecessary muscle loss.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee, is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.