If you have a thyroid problem, here are some foods you need to stay away from
The thyroid gland is located in the front area of the neck and it's purpose is to store and produce hormones which then help the brain, heart and muscles work the way that they should. The gland itself is butterfly-shaped and it helps the body use energy and also stay warm. According to WebMD the most common thyroid problems occur when the thyroid produces too much hormones, which leads to hyperthyroidism, or when the body doesn't produce the right amount of hormones which is known as hypothyroidism.
In some cases the person may develop a nodule or lump in the neck area that grows so big that it can be felt, seen and also may affect a persons breathing by putting pressure on the windpipe or esophagus according to Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms of too much hormone production (Hyperthyroidism)
- Weight loss, even though your appetite has increased
- Increased heart rate
- Increased nervousness and excessive sweating
- Trouble sleeping
Symptoms of not enough hormone production (Hypothyroidism)
- Feeling tired
- Slow heart rate
- Weight gain despite no change in diet or amount of exercise
You have an increased risk of a thyroid problem if you...
- Are a woman over 60 years old
- Have a family history of thyroid disease
- Have an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or a chronic inflammatory condition
- Have received radiation in the neck or upper chest area
- Have had thyroid surgery
Foods to Avoid
- Soy: This food carries a lot of the hormone estrogen which can interfere with the body's ability to make thyroid hormones.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: Examples of this are vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts. These veggies can interfere with hormone production, especially if you have an iodine deficiency.
- Gluten: This should not be consumed often since it can irritate the small intestine abd prevent hormone replacement medication from working correctly.
- Fatty Foods: Forget about greasy burgers and french fries. Fat interferes with your ability to produce hormones so you should steer clear of it in you diet.
- Excess Fiber: Avoid too many whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans to prevent it from interfering with any thyroid hormone medication you may be taking.
Most thyroid nodules are non cancerous but if you suspect you have a nodule, it is best to be treated by a doctor to determine whether it will need to be removed and whether or not it is cancerous. You may still have a thyroid issue even if there is no nodule detected in the neck. The only sure way to know is to test the levels of thyroid hormones in your blood and then to determine where the imbalance is coming from.
According to WebMD there are a variety of different treatments that you can undergo to control a thyroid imbalance such as:
- Radioiodine treatment. This is a form of radiotherapy which will be given to you in liquid or tablet form containing radioactive iodine in an amount that will cause damage to your thyroid gland to limit or destroy the amount of hormones being produced.
- Anti-thyroid medication. If you are prescribed medication there are two ways in which they can be taken. The first is in very high doses, to prevent the thyroid gland from producing hormones, and then supplementing the body with thyroid tablets. The second way is with a specific dose, which will be monitored closely, until the thyroid hormone level finally stabilizes in a normal range.
- Surgery. This method is often recommended for people under 45 years old who have not responded well to radioiodine treatment or who have a large nodule in their neck that needs to be removed due to breathing issues. Surgery typically is the last step if treatment fails to stabilize hormone production.
For additional information and resources on the thyroid gland, visit the American Thyroid Association to learn more.