By Marcus Guimarães - Flickr, CC BY 2.0,

New research shows eating more fresh fruits and vegetables can improve your well-being in as little as two weeks. Previous studies show eating ample vegetables influences the health of the brain, immune system, and gut — all of which affect your mood. When you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid, this is an especially good reason to make include plenty of vegetables with your meals.

The  study divided more than 170 people ages 18-25 into three groups. The researchers gave one group two servings on fresh fruits and vegetables each day — in person. They gave the second group vouchers for produce and text reminders to eat more fruits and vegetables. The third group was not given produce, vouchers, or text reminders.

After two weeks the group personally given vegetables and fruits reported feeling improvements in mood, vitality, motivation, as well as a flourishing of well-being.

The other two groups reported no change.

5 ways eating more vegetables and fruits makes you happier when you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid

Here are five reasons why eating more fruits and vegetables can improve your well-being:

Eating plenty of vegetables raises the level of gut bacteria that increase relaxation. Brain scans show healthy gut bacteria promotes relaxation.

Gut bacteria from increased vegetable consumption lower brain inflammation. A Harvard study showed healthy gut bacteria lowers brain inflammation and thus the risk of dementia. Brain inflammation is also connected with depression and anxiety.

Eating more vegetables increases the gut bacteria that lower depression, anxiety, eating disorders, autism symptoms, and obesity. You get the picture — more veggies equals more good bacteria, which the brain loves. Studies link gut bacteria to a variety of mood and mental disorders. You need to eat a large amount and wide variety of vegetables to create a mood-boosting gut bacteria environment.

Increased fiber improves mood. Ever notice how fussy constipation makes babies?. Research shows more mood disorders in those with chronic constipation. Although many different factors can cause constipation, often it’s simply a matter of too little plant fiber. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits promotes regular, healthy bowel movements (unless you have a gut problem with digesting them). Also, constipation increases toxins in the body, which can inflame the brain and leads to bad moods.

Constipation is a common symptom of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. While you’re working to tame your autoimmune thyroid, boost gut motility with a plant-based diet.

What is a serving of vegetables for your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism meal plan?

The American Institute for Cancer Research now recommends at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables, but shoot for seven to ten. Don’t skew your blood sugar by overdoing the fruits — five of those servings should be vegetables and two to three fruit. Two-thirds of each meal should be vegetables.

Here is what a serving looks like:

  • ½ cup of fruit
  • 1 medium piece of fruit
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • 1 cup of leafy vegetables
  • ½ cup of cooked or raw vegetables

Most people don’t eat enough vegetables. It takes some practice and commitment to eat enough every day, but the improvement in how you feel and function will encourage you. You may especially notice a big difference with your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism protocol.

Transition ideas include pre-prepping veggies for quick salads and making big batches of veggie soups and stews. Order a salad instead of fries when you eat out. If you crave a dessert, a low-glycemic berry smoothie is very satisfying.

Ask my office for more advice on the best diet plan to better manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid

Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.

About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine

Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine.  He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.