It is widely known that a healthy diet can improve your health and certain conditions, such as autoimmune thyroiditis. As its name implies, autoimmune thyroiditis, is a disease resulting from the abnormal function of the immune system which damages the thyroid gland. Several studies have shown an association of the modern western diet with autoimmune disease. Therefore, nutritional advice for individuals with autoimmune thyroiditis either seeks to regulate the immune function or protect regular thyroid gland function.
Nutrition for a Healthier Immune System
A healthy immune system is essential to prevent damage from the autoimmunological disease, which means when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Avoiding allergens, unhealthy fats, and food with lots of sugar, while introducing a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, will help stop or slow down damage to your thyroid gland.
Many studies have shown an association of allergens with autoimmune diseases. Therefore, reducing or eliminating allergens from your diet is essential. While buying groceries, identifying which foods have allergens can be quite easy. Only certain groups of foods commonly have allergens. Grains, dairy, and some types of meat are commonly associated with an increase in the immunological activity.
Grains seem to be the most important source of allergens in many individuals who are at risk. This is because they contain gluten, a commonly known allergen which causes many autoimmune diseases. Foods with gluten, such as wheat, barley, oats, barley and rye, should be avoided. Luckily, many products using grains can be replaced by pseudograins, which have similar nutritional values and taste. Pseudo grains for example, quinoa do not have gluten making them an ideal component of your daily diet.
The role of dairy and meat as allergen has been observed in studies but their contribution to autoimmune disease is not as evident. Even though, limiting their consumption might reduce exposure to allergens, other aspects need to be considered. For example, dairy products contain probiotics and prebiotics, which help maintain a healthy bacterial flora; on the other hand, several types of meat contain unhealthy fats, therefore their reduction or elimination is recommended.
Another aspect to consider when modifying your diet to regulate your immunological function, is the fat content in food. Fats containing foods include meat, poultry, fish, and vegetable. Your daily diet should not include saturated fats, because they are unhealthy fats, typically found in meat. Rather, you should eliminate it completely from your diet or only eat meat products on special occasions. Poultry also contains saturated fats, but it is often considered lean meat due to the low content of these unhealthy fats. However, poultry, along with eggs and some plants like nuts and most vegetable oils, also contain omega-6 fats.
Omega-6 fats should not be considered unhealthy, rather it is a type of fat that you must include 1:1 ratio with omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats come from fatty fish and other vegetable oils (soybean, palm, grapeseed and sunflower). Balancing the amounts of meat, poultry, and the different vegetable oils is an essential part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Another nutritional source of immunological dysfunction are high blood sugar levels. Avoid simple carbohydrates such as, soda, sugary beverages, pastries, and all food and drinks with high sugar content in order to maintain a healthy immune system. Stick with complex carbohydrates such as, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and beans to further regulate sugar levels.
Nutrition for Optimal Thyroid Gland Function
A diet for someone with autoimmune thyroiditis should help the thyroid gland´s function. To do this, you should focus on ensuring adequate intake of vitamin D, B, and iodine.
Vitamins are essential in many processes in your body and this includes the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland has cells that need lots of energy to synthesize the thyroid hormones. The B vitamins are essential in energy production, along with antioxidant activity in the body. Good sources of these vitamins include, legumes and potatoes, therefore they should be included in our diet. Other good sources of vitamin B are, grains and meats; they are even considered some the best sources. However, due to the allergens and unhealthy fats presented in meats, it should be eaten in moderation. Vitamin D is another vitamin essential for normal thyroid gland function but its function has not been defined. In addition, it has the capacity to regulate immunological functions. Individuals who suffer with autoimmune thyroiditis or may be at high risk should consume vitamin D in their diet. Mushrooms, fish oils, egg yolk, beef, liver and lichen are some good sources of vitamin D. However, like some sources of vitamin B, limit the amount of beef, and egg yolk in your diet.
Finally, iodine is one of the essential nutritional aspects in thyroid hormone function. This element, is a component of both thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Therefore, ensuring an adequate of intake of iodine is part of a complete diet. Sources of iodine are varied, which include dairy products, seafood, meat, some bread, and eggs.
An Adequate diet for autoimmune thyroiditis is something which we can do. Essentially it involves avoiding foods such as grains, foods high in sugar, and meats, while including healthy sources of iodine, vitamins (B and D), and healthy fats. The ideal foods to include in our diet are fatty fish, pseudograins and some vegetable oils. However, there are other foods with good and bad components. Studying each food in your diet and/or seeking professional help from a nutritionist will help you plan a good diet. Healthy autoinflammatory diets that optimize thyroid function can protect your thyroid gland from autoimmune thyroiditis, and allowing to preserve the regular function of your thyroid gland; which in turn will enable one to enjoy a better quality of life.