Hashimoto Diet: Overview, Supplements, Foods, and Tips

hashimoto symptoms include digestive problems and hashimoto diet can be helpfull

Hashimoto’s disease or Hashimoto thyroiditis is a common disease in most developed countries, including the USA. This disease can notably affect patients’ life quality even when treated with medicines. Various researches on this disease show that changes in lifestyle and diet can significantly improve the symptoms. If a person follows the Hashimoto diet plan, then it works as a supplement to medications. 

One thing about this autoimmune disease is that every person’s body responds differently to the treatment. This makes the individualized approach to this thyroid disease vital, and the diet and medication may vary. 

In the article below, we will explore the various aspects of this autoimmune disease. We will explore aspects like Hashimoto disease diet, tips, supplements, symptoms, and more in the article. 

An Overview of The Disease

Hashimoto is a type of autoimmune disease that, via the lymphocytes, destroys the thyroid tissue gradually, which are a part of the immune system as they are white blood cells. 

Butterfly shaped thyroid gland, which sits at the bottom of our neck, plays a vital role in our health. It secretes various types of hormones that affect the organ system and all organs of the body. The hormones secreted by this gland affect all the vital organs like the lungs, nervous and digestive system, skeleton, and heart. The thyroid also controls the growth and metabolism of a person.

The thyroid gland mainly secrets two main hormones. These are:

Any damage to the thyroid gradually affects the overall health of the body. This is why Hashimoto disease is dangerous, as it damages the thyroid tissue. 

Effects Of lifestyle and Diet On The Hashimoto

The lifestyle and diet of a person drastically affect Hashimoto’s symptoms. This has been seen in many people with the disease that their symptoms persisted even after the medication. In addition to this, many people with the symptoms are not provided medication until they have an alteration of the hormone levels. 

Many pieces of research show that inflammation may also be a driving factor behind the symptoms. This proves the effectiveness of the diet as inflammation is in correlation with the diet. Thus an anti-inflammatory diet can help Hashimoto patients. 

In addition to this, the changes in the lifestyle and following the diet may help in preventing or slowing thyroid damage. This is possible as these changes help in controlling the increase in thyroid antibodies along with managing body weight, cholesterol levels, and more. 

Some Hashimoto Diet Tips Based on Evidence

Below listed are some evidence-backed diet tips for Hashimoto disease:

Grain and Gluten-Free Diets

Various studies on Hashimoto disease show that people suffering from it also have celiac disease in common. Thus experts recommend screening for celiac disease in people suffering from the Hashimoto autoimmune disease. 

What’s more, is that numerous studies show that a grain and gluten-free diet may help Hashimoto patients. This is because gluten intolerance causes many health problems. 

A study for six months on 34 women suffering from Hashimoto disease showed that a glute and grain-free diet helps. It was seen that such Hashimoto diets helped in the reduction of thyroid antibodies and improvement in thyroid functioning. Such diets also help in increasing vitamin D levels in a person.

Many other pieces of the studies on such autoimmune diseases show that gluten-free diets help in general. The only exception to this is cases where a patient is already suffering from celiac disease. Thus when you follow a gluten-free Hashimoto disease diet, you must avoid all barley, rye, and wheat products. For example, in most soy sauces, bread, and pasta, gluten is present so go for gluten-free alternatives. 

Grain-free diets are more restrictive in comparison to gluten-free ones as they ban the use of all grains. However, it depends on you which diet you choose for yourself. 

Autoimmune Protocol Diet

The autoimmune diet or AIP is a specifically designed diet for people suffering from autoimmune disease. This diet removes the various things which may harm the patients. Some common things it removes are dairy, coffee, eggs, nuts, refined sugar, food additives, grains, legumes, seeds, oils, nightshades, and alcohol. 

In a study on women with Hashimoto disease, the use of AIP disease led to significant improvements. It helped in improving the life scores while reducing the levels of the C-reactive protein, which is an inflammatory marker. So, we can say it is also an anti-inflammatory diet. 

One thing to remember when following the AIP diet is that it should be done under expert guidance. This is because it is a phase elimination diet. 

Avoid Dairy

Lactose sensitivity is very common in people suffering from Hashimoto disease. 

A study on 83 women showed that 75.9% of women who were suffering from Hashimoto also had lactose intolerance. Thus if you have a lactose sensitivity, then avoiding dairy products can help in digestive issues. It will also help in medication absorption and thyroid functioning. 

One thing to keep in mind is that not every patient is lactose intolerant, and thus, this strategy may not work for all. 

Go For Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation might be the force that drives this autoimmune disease. So, including anti-inflammatory foods like vegetables and fruits in your Hashimoto diet can help in improving the symptoms. 

A study on 218 patients with this disease proved that those who ate more vegetables and fruits had lower oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a condition that causes chronic inflammation in the patients of Hashimoto. 

Fruits, spices, and fatty fish are some types of foods that you can eat as they have powerful anti-inflammation properties. Eating fruits and vegetables also help in maintaining the hormone level in the body. 

Whole Foods and Nutrient-Dense Diets

Following a Hashimoto diet that is low on sugar and processed foods but rich in nutrient-dense and whole foods may help in improving health. It also helps in weight management as well as reducing Hashimoto symptoms. 

To follow such diets, prepare your meal at home when possible. Add nutritious foods like fruits, healthy fats, vegetables, proteins, and fiber-rich foods into your diet. 

These foods are rich in antioxidants and provide the body with anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Other Hashimoto Diet Tips

Some researches show that following a low-carb diet can help in reducing the Hashimoto symptoms. Such diets help in managing weight and reducing thyroid antibodies. 

These particular types of diets provide a person with 12-15% of the daily calories. They also restrict goitrogenic foods. The goitrogenic compounds are found in cruciferous type vegetables and products made from soy. These products may interfere with thyroid hormone production. 

Yet, the cruciferous type of vegetables are high in nutrients, and when you cook them, the goitrogenic levels reduce. Thus, except in some cases, they don’t impact the thyroid function unless you eat them in large amounts. 

These are some Hashimoto diet plans which you can follow. Adding and following the above dietary things can drastically help in the improvement of Hashimoto’s symptoms. 

Supplements For Hashimoto Autoimmune Disease

There are several supplements that can help in reducing inflammation and thyroid antibodies. Plus, people suffering from Hashimoto disease may also be suffering from other nutrient deficiencies, and thus supplements become necessary. 

Some beneficial supplements for Hashimoto disease are:

Selenium

Various studies on Hashimoto disease show that including 200 mcg of selenium in a daily diet may help. This supplement helps in reducing the antithyroid peroxidase antibodies along with improving the overall well being of the patients. 

Zinc

Zinc is an essential element for the optimum functioning of the thyroid. Many pieces of research show that when taken in combination with selenium or alone zinc can improve thyroid functioning. If a person takes 30mg on a daily basis, it can help in hypothyroidism. 

Curcumin

This substance, in general, may help in the treatment of autoimmune disease in common. Many studies have shown that this powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound can help in protecting the thyroid. Thus adding this supplement to your Hashimoto diet can help greatly.

Vitamin-D

In people suffering from Hashimoto disease, the levels of this vitamin have been found to be lower. What’s more, is that various studies link the low levels of vitamin D to the extremeness of Hashimoto. Thus adding vitamin D supplements to your Hashimoto disease diet can help greatly.

B Complex Vitamins

People suffering from Hashimoto disease tend to have low levels of vitamin B12. Taking high-quality complex vitamin V supplements can help in boosting levels of B12 and other B vitamins. 

Magnesium

Low levels of magnesium are associated with the increase in the risk of high thyroid antibodies and thus Hashimoto disease. Other than this addition of magnesium-rich foods and supplements in the Hashimoto diet can also help in thyroid disease. 

Iron

People who suffer from the deficiency of iron tend to develop anemia disease. In such cases, iron supplements may be a good option to treat. 

These are some of the supplements, including which in the Hashimoto diet may help people. Other than the above supplements, the addition of fish oil, N-acetyl cysteine, and alpha-lipoic supplements may also help. 

Note: Iodine helps in the thyroid and Hashimoto disease but taking the high doses may have adverse effects. Thus don’t go for high doses until your doctor advises you. 

Food To Include In Your Hashimoto Diet

If a person is suffering from Hashimoto disease, then a nutrient-rich diet can help in reducing symptoms severity. It also helps in improving the overall health of a person. Some food that you can include in your Hashimoto disease diet for benefits are:

  • Fruits: pears, peaches, berries, apples, citrus fruits, bananas, pineapple, etc.
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables: Artichoke, asparagus, peppers, arugula, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, etc. 
  • Starchy Vegetables: Potatoes. Acorn. Butternut squash. Sweet potatoes, peas, etc.
  • Healthy Fats: Avocado oil, olive oil, fall fat yogurt, avocadoes, coconut oil, non-sugar coconut flakes, coconut yogurt, etc.
  • Animal Protein: Eggs, turkey, chicken, salmon, cod, shrimp, etc.
  • Gluten-Free Grains: Rolled oats, Brown rice pasta, brown rice, etc.
  • Nuts, Nut Butters, and Seeds: Almonds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, cashews, almond butter, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  •  Lentils and Beans: Black beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
  • Condiments, Spices, and Herbs: Basil, paprika, black pepper, tahini, lemon juice, turmeric, rosemary, apple cider vinegar, saffron, salsa. Honey, etc.
  • Beverages: Tea without sugar, water, sparkling water, etc.

These are some of the food, including which into your Hashimoto diet can help in reducing symptoms. This effect of the above foods is because they are rich in compounds like antioxidants. However, some people avoid certain foods out of the above mentioned, like dairy. Thus it’s vital that before including anything in your regular diet, experiment with food options. This will help you in finding which food suits you best. 

Food You Must Avoid

Restricting or eliminating the following type of foods can help in reducing the Hashimoto symptoms. These foods are:

  • Sweets and Added Sugar: Energy drinks, ice cream, soda, cakes, pastries, candy, table sugar, cookies, sugar cereals, etc. 
  • Fried and Fast Foods: Hot dogs, french firs, fried chicken, etc.
  • Refined Grains: White bread, bagels, white pasta, white flour tortillas, etc.
  • Processed Meat and Foods: Margarine. Bacon, frozen dinner, microwave dinners, etc.
  • Gluten Grains: Barley, crackers, heat, rye, bread, etc.

According to some experts avoiding dairy and soy along with the foods like nightshade may also help. However, it depends on person to person as some may be intolerant to these while some may not. Thus experimenting with your diet can be a good option for you to check if you are intolerant or tolerant to certain foods. 

If you are not sure about experimenting with the foods, then consult a dietitian. The dietician who specializes in Hashimoto and autoimmune diseases can help in selecting the foods that suit you best. 

Other Modifications In Lifestyle You Can Try

Other than trying and experimenting with your Hashimoto diet plans, you can also try some lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes can help in reducing stress, improving sleep quality, and self-care practices. 

  • Stress-Reducing Practices: A person suffering from Hashimoto disease can include stress-reducing activities in their plan. They help in the reduction of anxiety, depression, and also improves life quality. These practices also help in reducing thyroid antibodies. 
  • Rest: In modern times, we don’t get enough rest, and that affects our bodies negatively. Thus it is important to provide your body with enough rest when you feel fatigued. This helps in improving overall health. 
  • Medication Timing: The timing of the medication for the thyroid is also vital. For better results, you must take thyroid medicines at least 60 minutes before breakfast on an empty stomach. After dinner, you must also take a gap of at least three to four hours before taking medicines. This will help in better absorption of the medicines. Even tea and coffee can interfere with the thyroid medication, and thus you must avoid consuming anything other than water after taking medicines.
  • In the beginning, when you start the medications, it may take at least some weeks for symptoms to reduce. Thus have patience, but if you don’t see any improvements even after weeks, consult your healthcare provider. Having a proper Hashimoto diet plan is also essential with the medication for optimum results. 
  • If  you are caffeine sensitive then also you may face problems as it may lead to spike in the hormone levels thus resulting in various health problems such as dizziness. In cases where a person is sensitive to the caffeine they must consult a healthcare professional about it prior to medications. Caffeine sensitivity may also interfere with the hashimoto medication and thus it is vital to consult and plan the medications accordingly. Also the hashimoto diet plan should also be managed accordingly. 

Treatment and Diagnosis

It’s a belief that Hashimoto disease develops in a person when they have an immune deficiency. Environmental factors also play a role in the development of Hashimoto disease.

The diagnosis of Hashimoto disease depends on the lab results and symptoms. Lab results that indicate Hashimoto disease in a person include:

In the early stages of Hashimoto disease, a person may feel mild symptoms, and the lab values can be null. The lab results might also show hyperthyroidism in person. Thus the detection of Hashimoto disease is hard, and a person may go months without proper diagnosis. Nearly ⅓ people who receive the treatment for hypothyroidism don’t get proper treatment. 

Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease can affect both women and men; however, women are at a higher risk comparatively. The risk of this disease increases with the increase in the age of a person, and most cases are found in people of age group 30 to 50.

The condition of Hashimoto disease is treatable by using natural or synthetic thyroid hormones. Synthetic thyroid hormones include liothyronine and levothyroxine. The natural hormones include nature thyroid and armor thyroid. Other than these, the Hashimoto diet can also help in reducing the severity of symptoms. 

Symptoms

Hashimoto disease affects nearly every organ in the human body, and thus, it correlates with numerous symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Extreme levels of fatigue
  • Care or thing hair
  • Irregular or slow heartbeat
  • Breath shortness
  • Cold intolerance
  • Brittle nails
  • Thyroid tenderness and pain in the neck
  • Irregularities in the menstrual cycle.
  • Voice changes
  • Weight gain
  • Poor concentration
  • Dry skin
  • Muscle strength reduction
  • Reduction in the tolerance levels for exercise
  • Blood pressure elevation
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia
  • Change in voice

If Hashimoto’s disease is mistreated or left untreated, it may lead to serious health problems. It can cause cognitive disorders, heart disease, and even death. 

Moreover, such symptoms of the hashimoto disease are also common in other health problems thus wrong diagnosis is also possible. So when a person goes for diagnosis of the symptoms of the hashimoto disease they must always  look out for the best health care professional. A better way of finding the better exert is going through the reviews and feedback from the other patients. 

Bottom Line

Hashimoto is a common autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. Its symptoms can be reduced through Hashimoto diet plans, which include various things like healthy fats and whole nutrients. 

Various researches have shown that the symptoms of Hashimoto disease can be reduced through food and lifestyle changes. However, every patient is different, and thus, the dietary patterns may vary from person to person, which suits you. 

A health professional or dietician who specializes in various autoimmune diseases may help. They may help in finding which Hashimoto diet plan suits and works better for a person. 

Jatin Choudhary

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