The Thyroid and Weight Loss

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Announcer: It’s a healthy audio treat. RadioMD presents Family Food Kitchen with Ellen Briggs and Carolina Jantac.

Female 1: Hey, if you want a balanced thyroid to improve your odds of not gaining weight and of being healthy, then you ought to know which are the worst foods to avoid and the top best foods you can eat. It is such a pleasure to introduce you to the author of “The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide,” Dr. Nikolas Hedberg. Dr. Nik, first would you please connect the dots quickly between the food we eat and the health of our thyroid?

Dr. Hedberg: The food that we eat and how they connect with our thyroid are really not very different from the foods that anyone would want to eat, no matter what condition they have. But there are a few caveats to that regarding some of the worst foods that can negatively affect the thyroid that you want to stay away from and then eat best foods as well.

Female 1: Well, let’s stay with the three worst. Just have at it.

Dr. Hedberg: So the sugar is going to be No. 1 because that raises insulin and causes surges in blood glucose and that negatively affects the thyroid. The second is going to be Gluten, and Gluten is mainly going to be avoided if you have auto-immune thyroid disease, known as Hashimoto’s, and then soy would be No. 3. Soy can be high in estrogen which affects thyroid, and it’s also going to be low in sulfur containing amino acids which are really important for detoxification. If the soy is fermented, that can be okay. But any processed soy, you would definitely want to avoid.

Female 2: Okay so that’s sugar, gluten, and soy, and I am assuming avoid doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat them but definitely keep it down to a minimum. So let’s go to the positive. Which foods should we be eating to maintain good thyroid health?

Dr. Hedberg: Right. So the first category is going to be fruits and vegetables, and fruits, they need to be low glycemic fruits, meaning that they don’t spike blood sugar very much. And then vegetables, pretty much all vegetables with an emphasis on cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower. And those are going to really help with estrogen metabolism and detoxification which is what you want if you have hypothyroidism due to too much estrogen.

Now the fruits and vegetables will ensure that your pH is in the healthy range because there are studies that have shown that if you become very acidic then that decreases thyroid hormone levels. Meat is actually a top one but it needs to be free range organic, and that is so-called, you know, natural meats and the reason why you would want to do that is because those are going to be lower in chemicals and antibiotics and estrogens. And the thyroid really needs very healthy levels of amino acids. So things like a grass fed beef, grass fed lamb, bison, things like that, fish.

Female 2: So we are eating those for the specific animal amino acid. So we are not talking about just proteins. So eating plant protein would not substitute here. You have to be looking for animal protein.

Dr. Hedberg: You can get all of your proteins from vegetables if you’re a vegetarian, but meat is also going to contain a lot of other nutrients that are really important for the thyroid, especially zinc. So that’s why I put that as one of the best foods.

Female 1: Gotcha. Okay and next?

Dr. Hedberg: Yeah, fish. Now with fish for the omega 3 fatty acids and the selenium, those are very important for thyroid function. Now with the fish, you definitely want to avoid farm raised fish. It should be wild caught. That’s going to be a very important food for thyroid function and metabolism and tying in with the selenium in the fish, the next food would be Brazil nuts. You don’t really want to eat too many of these though. Maybe only eat no more than two, maybe three a day, a few times a week.

If you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you want to have healthy amounts of selenium because selenium has been shown to reduce thyroid antibody levels and really help with the symptoms of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. The next group, I would put these together would be coconut and avocado. These are both fruits.

Female 1: Oh yum.

Dr. Hedberg: Obviously very low glycemic. Coconut, the fatty acids in coconut and avocado can be burned very easily, and if you are on a moderate to low carbohydrate diet, they will definitely help your metabolism. Now a lot of patients with Hashimoto’s have Epstein-Barr virus reactivation, and coconut is an excellent antiviral. So it would help in that regard. The next food I would say is organic butter. Saturated fat has really been demonized for many, many years.

Female 1: Yeah. Thank heavens, you have said that. Everybody hear that, one for time.

Dr. Hedberg: Yeah.

Female 1: Saturated organic butter, awesome.

Dr. Hedberg: Yeah and again, it’s a matter of quality and quantity whenever we talk about the best and the worst foods. So this doesn’t mean you want to start eating large amounts of it.

Female 1: Right.

Dr. Hedberg: But using it, you know, in a reasonable amount but the importance of butter and the thyroid is that, especially if it’s a grass fed organic butter, is that it’s very high in vitamin A and vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins for thyroid hormone receptor to function well. And so vitamin A is often forgotten. It is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world. We don’t have to worry about that much here, but a little extra vitamin A from the butter will help and then it also has a good fatty acid profile. You don’t want to get your saturated fat level intake too low.

And then I mentioned previously the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, anything in that group, is going to be very healthy for thyroid function, mainly for estrogen, metabolism, and detoxification. That will help the thyroid as well.

Female 2: Well the good news, doctor, is that all of the foods you listed are fantastic ingredients and parts that we can put together for a whole diet, and they help not just the thyroid but they cross over to just about every organ in our body, right. So it’s pretty much like while you are doing well for your thyroid, you are also taking care of everything else.

Dr. Hedberg: Yes, that’s exactly right and as I mentioned earlier, the best thyroid diet, there is really not a lot of difference between that and what we will consider healthy diet for most people that I just gave a few tips especially if you have Hashimoto’s what to stay away from and what you could have a little bit more of that would help with the auto immunity.

Female 2: Yeah, and I want to make sure, I share with everybody where to find your “Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide“. What’s really great about this book is not only you get all the information up front, but on the very back you get some recipes from actually a registered dietician, Danielle Cook. And I looked through several of the recipes and they are my to-do list. The stuffed artichoke looks delicious. So absolutely great ideas to start eating healthy today.

So I want to thank you for being with us, and I want to send everybody to your website. That’s and you can find there,

“The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide.” Remember, you can always find us on and that’s spelled with two Ks, for healthy solutions to feeding your families and even more recipes on how to incorporate all these healthy delicious foods in your daily routine.

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by - Andrea