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The right diet for hyperthyroidism

The thyroid gland is important to the endocrine system.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 16, 2012 00:39 IST
hyperthyroidism

A-woman-eating

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 or long 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. 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.
Soybeans and soy products can help an over-stimulated thyroid.
Whole grains like millet and brown rice, combined with nuts and seeds are rich sources of zinc, an important element necessary for 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.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee, nutritionist