Health Tips to Help with Managing Hashimoto’s

by Shelby Burns, MS, RDN/LDN



Hashimoto’s disease (also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) is an autoimmune disease involving chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. Because the immune system attacks the thyroid, the thyroid is unable to make enough thyroid hormones.1 Therefore, the treatment of choice for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is often synthetic T4 or thyroxine (levothyroxine).2 Although Hashimoto’s is a leading cause of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the body does not make enough thyroid hormones, being diagnosed with hypothyroidism does not always mean one has Hashimoto’s. Hypothyroidism can manifest on its own due to an issue with the thyroid gland, whereas Hashimoto’s involves the immune system.




Symptoms and Nutritional Management

Hashimoto’s disease symptoms, which include weight gain, debilitating fatigue, brain fog, constipation, chills, and low heart rate, may be similar to symptoms of low tyrosine. Fortunately, a variety of diet and lifestyle modifications can support tyrosine levels, decrease inflammation, and reduce symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s. On the other hand, certain foods may trigger an immune response that makes Hashimoto’s worse. These foods are commonly known as goitrogens. Goitrogens interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland, making it difficult for the thyroid to produce T3 and T4.4 Read on for ways to support the thyroid via diet, lifestyle, and more!


Those suffering from Hashimoto’s disease should avoid:

  • Soy: Soy milk, soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, edamame
  • Goitrogenic vegetables: Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, radishes, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, cassava
  • Beverages: Alcohol, coffee, black tea, soda, other sources of caffeine (limit; don’t take with thyroid medication)
  • Grains: Wheat, non-gluten-free oats, white rice and refined grains, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet
  • Dairy: Milk, cream, cheese, butter, whey protein
  • Nuts: Almonds, cashews, peanuts
  • Processed and fried foods: Hot dogs, fried chicken, frozen dinners/premade meals, bacon, sausage, french fries
  • Foods with refined sugar: Cookies, cakes, pastries (sweets and baked goods), some salad dressings and ketchups/sauces, breakfast cereals, candies

Foods to Focus On:

  • Fruits: Berries, apples, prunes, dates, cranberries, citrus fruits, pineapple, bananas
  • Non-starchy vegetables: Zucchini (courgettes), artichokes, asparagus, carrots, peppers, arugula (rocket), mushrooms
  • Starchy vegetables: Peas, acorn and butternut squash
  • Healthy fats: Avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, unsweetened coconut flakes, nondairy yogurt such as coconut yogurt
  • Lean animal protein: Salmon, eggs, cod, turkey, shrimp, chicken, halibut, tuna, lobster
  • Gluten-free grains: Brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, brown rice pasta
  • Seeds, nuts, and nut butters: Macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts
  • Beans and lentils: Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black beans, lentils
  • Beverages: Water, unsweetened decaf or herbal tea, sparkling water
  • Plant-based protein: Hemp or pea protein powders

If you’re curious about other dietary protocols, check out our article about AIP (autoimmune protocol diet), which is an elimination diet recommended for individuals who have autoimmune diseases.



Lifestyle Modifications for Hashimoto's

In addition to the above, Ixcela recognizes the benefit of getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, and practicing restorative self-care. In fact, research has shown that supporting the parasympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for the “rest and digest” response) not only helps Hashimoto’s, but also supports mood. That is why all of Ixcela’s customized recommendations include a variety of stress-reduction options such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or just listening to relaxing music.

Although those who suffer from Hashimoto’s may experience low energy, they may also find that it is difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night, which worsens daytime fatigue. This can in turn increase hunger, because hunger can be a microbial response to lack of sleep. Therefore, prioritizing quality sleep and sticking to a regular sleep/wake cycle is crucial. This will allow the body to recharge and regenerate while keeping hunger in check. Getting sufficient sleep and consuming a diet rich in non-goitrogenic vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean proteins may be especially helpful in supporting the overall wellness of individuals with Hashimoto’s.

Read 7 Suggestions for Better Sleep for tips about getting quality sleep.



Exercise

People who have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s should approach exercise slowly and mindfully. Rest and recovery are crucial for an already overtaxed system, so high-intensity or lengthy workouts can be replaced with low-intensity exercises such as walking or yoga. Regular physical activity is an energy booster that also benefits the gut.



In Summary

Health is one of our greatest assets. Because every individual is different, a variety of health modifications can work together to ease Hashimoto’s symptoms. It may take some trial and error (and patience) to determine the most effective strategy, but it's important to make whichever lifestyle modifications allow an individual to feel their best.

† Before starting any supplement, dietary, or exercise program, including Ixcela, you should consult your doctor. If you are pregnant or nursing, please discuss your personalized recommendations with your doctor.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



About the Author

Photo: Shelby Burns, MS, RD/LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Shelby Burns has been in the fitness and nutrition industries for more than ten years. Shelby, who has personally struggled with gut issues, believes that exceptional wellness starts from within. Her passion for helping people prioritize their health shines through as she assists Ixcela clients in making diet and lifestyle shifts that result in renewed energy, better sleep, and improved digestion. 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Interested in learning more about Ixcela? Check out Ixcela’s test, to receive personalized nutrition, supplement, mindfulness, and fitness fitness recommendations based on the metabolites we test to improve energy, GI health, mood, and overall wellbeing.




Sources Used:

  1. “Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.” American Thyroid Association. (n.d.). https://www.thyroid.org/hashimotos-thyroiditis/
  2. “Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.” American Thyroid Association, (n.d.). https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-hormone-treatment/
  3. Shahid MA, Ashraf MA, Sharma S. Physiology, Thyroid Hormone. [Updated 2021 May 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500006/
  4. “Thyroid Disease and Diet — Nutrition Plays a Part in Maintaining Thyroid Health.” Today’s Dietitian, July 2012, https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070112...
  5. Messina, Mark, and Geoffrey Redmond. “Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature.” Thyroid: official journal of the American Thyroid Association vol. 16,3 (2006): 249-58. doi:10.1089/thy.2006.16.249
  6. Elnour, A., et al. “Endemic goiter with iodine sufficiency: a possible role for the consumption of pearl millet in the etiology of endemic goiter.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 71,1 (2000): 59-66. doi:10.1093/ajcn/71.1.59