Overactive thyroid gland literally means thyroid dysfunction and is typically marked by too much production of thyroid hormone. As the name suggests, in this type of thyroid problem, the thyroid gland situated in the neck becomes hyperactive. As a result, thyroid hormones are released excessively in the body. Overactive thyroid, also referred as hyperthyroidism can cause symptoms like sudden weight loss, excessive sweating, increased appetite and anxiety. However, it is not possible to diagnose hyperthyroidism simply on the basis of symptoms. This is because, thyroid symptoms are very similar to those linked with hyperthyroidism. A blood test to check thyroid levels is the most reliable method to determine the presence of overactive thyroid.
Foods to Reduce
Certain foodstuffs can trigger production of thyroid hormones as they contain a high amount of iodine. It is a known fact that the thyroid gland relies on iodine in order to manufacture the hormones. Therefore too much of iodine in the diet is bound to cause excess production of thyroid hormone. This may aggravate symptoms of overactive thyroid gland. So, in order to keep this medical condition under control, it is necessary to reduce consumption of iodine.
Following are the foodstuffs that need to be consumed in minimal amounts due to their high iodine content.
- Iodized salt
- Sea salt
- Fish oils
- Malt bread
- Fish like cod, tuna, salmon, fish sticks
- Dairy products such as condensed milk, cheddar cheese
Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea may worsen symptoms associated with this condition. Hence, to be on the safer side, avoid or reduce intake of these popular beverages. Fast foods like pasta, chips, burgers and refined products like white bread as well as bakery products like pastries also have no place in this diet. Also, stay away from red meat as they are high in saturated fats and may cause exacerbation of symptoms.
Foods to Include
Foods that are good sources of goitrogens can play a critical role to restore thyroid function. Goitrogens are substances that are capable to alter thyroid function. They restrict iodine absorption, which in turn help to rein in the actions of overactive thyroid gland. A wide range of vegetables contain a great deal of goitrogens and so their inclusion can certainly benefit to suppress thyroid function.
Some of the foods high in goitrogens are discussed below:
- Vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips and millet
- Fruits such as peaches and strawberries
- Soy products such as tofu and tempeh
People suffering from this thyroid condition are often diagnosed with low zinc levels. Therefore, increasing dietary intake of zinc can also assist to manage hyperthyroidism symptoms. So include zinc rich foods like whole wheat bread, potato, peanuts, lima beams, legumes, whole grain cereals and yogurt in the diet.
On the whole, an overactive thyroid treatment is unlikely to work if the diet is not being followed. In addition to diet, one may also take supplements that can be helpful in improving hyperthyroidism symptoms. Taking vitamin B complex supplements may also contribute in preventing this thyroid problem from becoming problematic. Vitamin E or even a multivitamin tablet can positively affect thyroid function. However, before adding these supplements to your diet, talk to a doctor to know about the required dosage beneficial to control hyperthyroidism. Doing moderate exercise everyday can also benefit to improve thyroid function. Exercise routines like walking, swimming and bicycling done at moderate intensity is a natural way to combat thyroid problems.
Sticking to a vegan diet is often advised when it comes to reducing the impact of hyperthyroidism. A vegan diet promotes intake of vegetables, fruits and soy based foods and does not allow consumption of animal based products. Following this type of diet seems to be a good remedy to lower elevated thyroid functions.