Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is underactive, resulting in unusually levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. The result is that the body does not function properly because the metabolism, controlled by the thyroid, does not function properly.
A diet that is severely low in iodine can cause hypothyroidism, but that is rarely seen in Britain. Therefore, adding extra iodine to the diet is not advised because excess iodine actually can cause the thyroid to shut down completely.
Selenium supplements may be helpful with hypothyroidism. It is found in liver, kidney, Brazil nuts, crab, other shellfish, and supplements. However, for people with goitres, selenium should be discussed with a GP because excess selenium can increase T3 levels and cause further swelling.
Other supplements that may help are vitamin C and Echinacea, both of which help the immune system. Milk thistle is an herb that helps the liver, an organ that is stressed by hypothyroidism. Valerian and St. John’s Wort may alleviate anxiety and depression, often associated with thyroid disorders.
Because people with hypothyroidism often experience weight gain, many people seek special diets. The best diet for hypothyroidism simply is a healthy one. The diet should contain plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Foods that may help keep the thyroid healthy are fish, sunflower seeds, and seaweed. Problematic foods may be Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, and pears, but whether or not they are problematic is controversial.