What is Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid.
The thyroid, a butterfly shaped gland located at the base of the neck, is responsible for producing hormones to help the body function properly. This disease causes hypothyroidism, which means that the thyroid is inflamed inhibiting the production of hormones. These hormones are essential because they control how the body uses energy.
Researchers believe that Hashimoto’s Disease is a genetic disease.
How does Hashimoto’s Disease affect the body?
As the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid, causing damage, people will experience some of the following symptoms:
- unexplained weight gain
- joint/muscle pain
- dry skin
- Brittle nails
- thinning hair
- fertility issues
- irregular menstrual cycles
- goiter (swollen looking neck caused by enlarged thyroid)
Suffering with these common symptoms can be uncomfortable and exhausting. It can also be life threatening if left untreated. Complications from hypothyroidism range from high blood pressure to high cholesterol to heart failure.
How can a proper diet help with managing Hashimoto’s Disease?
There are plenty of food options when following a diet to treat Hashimoto’s Disease/hypothyroidism!
Believe it or not, autoimmune low thyroid diets more closely resemble what people have eaten for most of human history. Following a well balanced diet based on grass-fed and organic meats, wild fish, healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil), fermented foods, and plenty of fresh vegetables promotes wellness to the body.
Being intentional with following a Hashimoto’s low thyroid diet will help ease many of the symptoms someone experiences when dealing with this autoimmune disease. Following a diet that nourishes the body and gives the body what it needs takes discipline, but it is worth it.
What foods should be avoided with Hashimoto’s Disease?
There are certain foods that will cause a flare up of Hashimoto’s symptoms. People who suffer from this autoimmune disease are often sensitive to gluten, dairy, and sugar.
Some foods can trigger undesirable responses in the body for those living with Hashimoto’s Disease. Inflammation is a major concern. As the National Center for Biotechnology Information puts it, “inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to an irritant.”
- Grains: wheat, oats, rice, barley, buckwheat, corn, quinoa
Gluten and inflammatory grains can negatively impact the function and health of the thyroid. How the human body breaks down the molecular structure of gluten will issue an attack on the thyroid from the body’s immune system.
- Dairy: milk, cream, cheese, butter, whey
The proteins and sugars (lactose) found in dairy triggers flare ups with hypothyroidism.
- Sugars and sweeteners: honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar
When dealing with Hashimoto’s Disease, sugar is detrimental to the thyroid. Spikes in blood sugar and effects on metabolism are all related to the health of the thyroid.
- Soy: soy milk, soy sauce, tofu, tempeh
- High-glycemic fruits: watermelon, mango, pineapple, grapes
- Nightshades: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant
- Processed and canned foods
To feel good, one needs to eat good. By avoiding these foods and committing to a Hashimoto’s low thyroid diet a person can lessen flare ups and symptoms from Hashimoto’s Disease.
What are the best diet plans for managing Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto's low thyroid diet requires planning and preparation. In the beginning, people may experience cravings, lower energy, and symptoms of detox. However, most people soon experience lessening of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism symptoms and most importantly, an increase in energy and well being.
Best Foods to Eat With Hashimoto’s Disease:
- Most Vegetables: asparagus, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, beets, cauliflower, carrots, celery, artichokes, garlic, onions, zucchini, squash, rhubarb, cucumbers, turnips, watercress
- Fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled ginger, fermented cucumbers, coconut yogurt, kombucha
- Meats: grass-fed and organic chicken, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, wild fish
- Low glycemic fruits sparingly: apricots, plums, apple, peach, pear, cherries, berries
- Coconut: butter, milk, cream, oil
- Herbal teas
- Olives and olive oil
- Ghee (butter oil)
Best Diet Plans With Hashimoto’s Disease:
The Paleo Diet. A diet that focuses on nourishing the body through high lean protein and low carb foods. Essentially anything that can be hunted or gathered. Eating whole foods such as fish, herbs, nuts, fruits, and vegetables and avoiding anything that has been made or processed in a factory.
- Breakfast: sweet potato hash & scrambled eggs
- Lunch: tuna served on romaine lettuce boats
- Dinner: seared salmon with broccoli
The Anti Inflammatory Detox Diet. As the foods that cause inflammation are completely avoided, it's essential to replace that food with an abundance of the food that encourages health and wellness with Hashimoto’s Disease. Incorporating lemon water and non-caffeinated herbal teas can also be helpful.
- Breakfast: berry smoothie
- Lunch: kale salad topped with avocado & tomatoes
- Dinner: grilled chicken breast, sweet potato topped with cooked spinach & walnuts
The Autoimmune Modified Paleo Diet. Like the Paleo Diet, just more complex. There are more restrictions in this diet, but it can be very effective in helping people with autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s Disease. There is an “elimination phase” and a “reintroduction phase” that takes most people 30-90 days to complete. The goal is to see what specific foods give the body an adverse reaction. Some foods that are eliminated and then slowly reintroduced with AIP are nuts, seeds, and eggs.
- Breakfast: coconut yogurt
- Lunch: shredded beet & carrot salad with vinaigrette dressing
- Dinner: grilled organic beef kabobs, spaghetti squash
The Low Glycemic Index Diet. Eating foods with low glycemic index levels can help with Hashimoto’s Disease. Being that the thyroid is responsible for metabolic function, high and regular spikes in blood sugar can cause a rise in hypothyroidism symptoms. Some examples of foods with a low GI (glycemic index) are leafy green vegetables, chickpeas, raw carrots, kidney beans, and blueberries.
- Breakfast: egg & veggie scramble
- Lunch: turkey & avocado BLT
- Dinner: herb grilled salmon, spinach salad
There are many diet options that a person with Hashimoto’s Disease could benefit from. Variations of the above mentioned Hashimoto diet plans, as well as grain-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free diets can help alleviate symptoms associated with autoimmune disease.
Although there is no “quick fix” when living with an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s, there are diet and lifestyle changes that will make life better.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “A combination of factors — including heredity, sex and age — may determine your likelihood of developing the disorder.” If you experience any of the Hashimoto’s Disease symptoms it is important to see a physician and get tested.
RedRiver Health and Wellness Center has several locations across the country dedicated to helping people co-manage symptoms associated with an autoimmune disease. Our Chiropractic Physicians can work alongside your prescribing physicians to create an individualized care plan that will help you manage autoimmune diseases.
Call us at (866)36-RIVER or click here to schedule your health consultation.
RedRiver chiropractic physicians are great advocates for prescribing physicians and endocrinologists. In fact, many of our patients see their prescribing physician(s) more frequently while under our care than they would otherwise. Our goal is not to replace our patients’ primary care physicians and specialists, but to complement their care by providing patients with nutrition, diet, lifestyle and educational support and strategies. This way, patients can learn to manage their symptoms more efficiently. We have developed rewarding relationships with many prescribing physicians across the country, and we strive to continue building relationships with MDs, DOs, NPs, and NMDs. When health professionals can work together for the benefit of the patient’s health, it becomes a win/win situation for the one who matters most—the patient.