No foods have been shown in clinical studies to improve or worsen the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention to what you eat. A healthy, well-balanced diet is important for those with hyperthyroidism -- both during and after treatment. It should include things like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, with limited amounts of foods high in fat and cholesterol.
Is There a Special Diet for Hyperthyroidism?Many people with hyperthyroidism wonder if there is a special diet they should be following. The short answer to this question is no. There are no foods, combinations of foods, vitamins, or supplements that have been shown in clinical studies to improve an overactive thyroid. However, in most cases, there are also no foods that have been shown to make hyperthyroidism worse.
This is why healthcare providers recommend eating a balanced and healthy diet, being skeptical of "miraculous" claims, and avoiding fad nutritional practices.
Weight Gain and HyperthyroidismHealthcare providers generally advise their patients to follow good dietary habits following treatment for hyperthyroidism. The reason is that considerable weight gain is common with this condition. One study showed an average weight gain of about 12 pounds (5.4 kg) in people followed for up to two years after hyperthyroidism treatment.
Factors that seemed to increase the chance for weight gain included:
- Graves' disease
- Preexisting obesity
- Previous weight loss as a result of hyperthyroidism
- Hypothyroidism following treatment.
The Well-Balanced Diet
The good news is that research has also shown that this weight gain can be minimized by following sensible dietary habits. If you have an overactive thyroid, you should strive to eat a well-balanced diet and control your weight.
A well-balanced diet can help you feel better and can be a positive step in dealing with hyperthyroidism. It can also help decrease your chances of developing heart disease or certain types of cancer.
Some suggestions for eating a well-balanced diet and controlling your weight during and after treatment for an overactive thyroid include the following:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. This diet should include foods such as:
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Limit foods with saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars.
- Get regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
- Limit your intake of alcohol.