As may you may well know, next to hormones, one of the things we talk about most is nutrition. And today, you lucky things, we going to talk about them both at once. But more specifically, how diet and nutrition could help you manage your Hashimoto’s. Good nutrition, tailored to your individual needs is as important to your health as individual hormone care. And that goes double if you’re a hormone condition patient. But if you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, diet can be absolutely crucial.
What is Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, as the name suggests, is an incredibly common auto-immune condition affecting, you guessed it, your thyroid gland.
The thyroid is a hormone powerhouse that controls a huge number of the processes in your body, from metabolism to reproduction. Where Hashimoto’s is concerned, the gland produces those hormones at much lower levels, leading to hypothyroidism. But it’s so much more all-encompassing than just a fritzy gland.
As regular Hormonas will probably already know, the symptoms and effects of Hashimoto’s are wide and varied. From unexplained weight gain to constantly feeling as though you live in the Antarctic regardless of room temperature, living with Hashimoto’s can be hell.
Hashimoto’s disease diet: Gluten Free For All!
While you’ll almost always benefit from taking medication – after consultation with a Hashimoto’s specialist, natch – it doesn’t always treat the whole picture. Your blood results and hormone levels can take months to level off. Even then, some of your symptoms may stubbornly hang around for a lot longer.
This is where a few nutrition and lifestyle adjustments could have an enormous impact on the severity of those symptoms. Now, we’re not saying that there’s a cure-all diet. But we are saying that adding some foods and removing others can help you feel better. And one of the things you might want to consider removing is gluten.
Hashimoto’s and gluten
Here’s something you may not know. If you’re already living with an auto-immune condition, you’re far more likely to develop a second. Which means those of us with, say, Hashimoto’s are at higher risk of, say, diabetes or obesity.
You’re also at a much higher risk of developing Celiac Disease, an extreme form of auto-immune defense against gluten. In fact, tons of Hashimoto’s patients discover they’re also Celiac, and vice versa. Celiac patients have to completely avoid gluten in order to live without the debilitating pain, acid reflux, and swollen abdomen that comes along with it.
Hashimoto’s and Celiac Disease
In the case of Celiac Disease, the immune system attacks the gluten in the digestive system, among other things. But thanks to the structure of gluten, the immune system can mistake it for your thyroid gland. So it attacks that too, and round and round it goes.
However, not everyone with Hashimoto’s will develop Celiac Disease, so why are we telling you this? It’s a good question, and here’s the answer: Gluten issues don’t always present as Celiac. In fact, like many food sensitivities, it’s altogether possible there’s a scale of reaction, with Celiac being the most extreme.
Even a mild sensitivity to gluten can affect the way your intestines absorb any medication you may be taking, including thyroxine. Which means you could be taking a higher dose because you simply aren’t taking in the actual amount you require. So one of the biggest favors you can do your body as Hashimoto’s patient may be to go gluten-free. Again, we’re not saying it’s a cure. But you just might need fewer blankets.
Hashimoto’s Disease Diet: What to cut out
If you are going to try a gluten-free diet, then first and foremost bread and pasta have to go. Or be replaced with non-gluten versions. Although, if your intolerance is on the mild side, or you just loathe to be without baked goods, can we recommend sourdough? It’s lower in gluten than regular bread and can be a good swap, particularly if you’re not sure that you’ve got an intolerance. So, if you didn’t become a baker during the lockdown, now might be a good time to start.
Avoiding obvious gluten is easy, but here’s where it gets a little more complicated. For a start, malt vinegar and soy sauce have to go. Because they do, in fact, contain gluten. Ditto for cornflakes, sausages, and veggie burgers, which can contain wheat flour or vinegar.
And here’s the biggest kicker: Chocolate. Yup. Chocolate can contain ingredients derived from wheat or barley. All of which can trigger a reaction in your gut. We didn’t say it was going to be a cakewalk. That reminds us, your regular cakes will also have to go. Or at least, the flour will.
Meds And “The Med”
There’s also a good argument for adding a little Mediterranean flair to your Hashimoto’s Disease diet and nutrition changes. Olive oil, fresh veggies, lentils, and beans can all help support your thyroid health. Seafood and tuna, even in canned form, add tons of minerals, including zinc, which is crucial for a healthy thyroid. Throw in a good quality supplement with Vitamin D, Iron, and Selenium, and you’re on your way to a far healthier thyroid… And everything else as well.
Avoiding sugar and processed food is always a good idea, but even more so if you’re living with Hashimoto’s. As we mentioned earlier, if you’ve already got one auto-immune condition, you’re far more likely to develop a second. And they most definitely include diabetes and obesity. So it’s really, really important to keep an eye on your intake. And we don’t just mean sweets. Potatoes and other complex carbs also contain sugar – maybe throw some sweet potatoes into the mix instead? They’re much lower in carbs and are absorbed more slowly, so you won’t be ravenous 20 minutes after dinner.
Hashimoto’s, Diet, and You
Whatever you decide with regard to your nutrition, if you think you might have serious Hashimoto’s and gluten issues, please talk to a healthcare professional.
Being well-informed is half the battle and the more you know, the more you can do to help yourself. In the meantime, make sure you’re looking after you. We know how debilitating, upsetting, and frustrating it can be when your body essentially turns on you. That loss of control can leave you feeling helpless and hopeless. But that’s just the hormones talking. There is both help and hope.
With the right medication and a few diet changes, you can tip the balance in your favor. And once you’ve dropped the gluten, you may well find you start kicking Hashimoto’s ass, instead of the other way around.
Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.