Hashimoto’s is when the body is essential attacking the thyroid and the damage leads to inadequate thyroid hormone. According to Dr. Wentz a thyroid expert, Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States, nearly 90 percent of cases. It affects woman at the rate of 7 women for every one man. One of the reasons for the higher rate seen in woman is the hormonal fluctuation seen around puberty, pregnancy and menopause. To find out if you have Hashimoto’s versus hypothyroidism you need to have a blood test to check for the antibodies.
Complications of Hashimoto’s include an increased chance for other autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, they are three times more likely to develop thyroid cancer and they are at risk for heart disease.
How to Support the Thyroid Nutritionally
One of my main goals is to help patients incorporate food as medicine and to support health issues nutritionally. Here is a look at some of the foods that may help Hashimoto’s patients.
Oh how I love Cruciferous vegetables, but for the Hashimoto patient they may think twice. This group of vegetables including cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower to name only a few contain what is known as glucosinolates. Iodine uptake is blocked by the glucosinolates but is needed to make thyroid hormones. Studies are being done to see if cruciferous vegetables are only goitrogenic in their raw form. Cooked cruciferous vegetables are preferred for Hashimoto patients. Small amount of raw goitrogenic veggies have not been found to aggravate the autoimmune thyroid. Canola oil once thought, as a good alternative oil for cooking at high heat should also be avoided because it’s considered a goitrogen. If you consume a lot of processed food look for canola oil in the list of ingredients. You may want to find something else to buy.
Soy is another example of a goitrogen that can be detrimental to Hashimoto patients. Unlike the cruciferous vegetables where cooking eliminates the effect of goitrogens, soy contains the goitrogens even after cooking. For some patients soy if consumed can cause a thyroid crash left feeling drained and exhausted the day after eating it.
Inflammation is often associated with autoimmune diseases and can increase the likely hood of an imbalance in Omega 3’s versus omega 6’s. This imbalance creates the inflammatory response. Our bodies require both omega 3’s and omega 6 fats but on a whole our society is consuming way to many omega 6’s. You see omega 3 reduces inflammation while omega 6 promotes inflammation when consumed in excess. This can be problematic for most people, but even worse for those with Hashimoto’s. Vegetable oils have a high content of omega 6’s and eating large amounts can cause oxidation in the body. Use oils such as olive oils and sunflower oil. Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are high in omega 3’s in addition to fish. Organic, grass fed beef has fewer omega 6’s compared to corn fed beef, for those of us who still enjoy meat.
Introduce Probiotics to your diet. They are a great natural way to increase or rebalance gut flora (the good bacteria). When choosing foods such as yogurt with probiotics be sure to consume a natural kind, one with out to much or any sugar. Some of our favorite brands of yogurt boost 4 ½ teaspoons of sugar per 6 oz container. Eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut and other veggies can also be helpful.
Bottom line, consider eating organic and whole food, eliminate processed foods and reduce caffeine to one cup a day. Making small changes in your diet will make a big impact for those who have Hashimoto’s.