Foods to Avoid and Eat for Hypothyroidism


Because thyroid conditions can be difficult to manage, there’s a lot to consider. What type or types of thyroid medication should I take? What is the right dosage of medicine? How do I manage through fatigue? What should I be eating? Hypothyroidism makes it hard to maintain and lose weight. Another reason to watch what you eat is that certain foods may interfere with your thyroid or your thyroid medication. By avoiding some foods and eating more of others, you may be able to improve your body’s absorption of these hormones.  

*Doctors are familiar with a patient’s medical history.  Always check with them before adding or eliminating any food or supplements.

What Foods are Good to Eat for Hypothyroidism?

  • Fruits and Veggies Rich in Antioxidants: Blueberries, tomatoes, bell peppers
  • Foods high in Vitamin B: Whole grains
  • Selenium: A small amount of selenium is needed for thyroid hormones to work properly. This can be found in sunflower seeds or Brazil nuts.
  • Tyrosine: Your thyroid gland uses this amino acid found in meats, dairy, and legumes to produce T3 and T4.  
  • Plant extracts: There is limited research that suggests Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), coleus (Coleus forskohlii), gotu kola (Centella asiatica), and guggul (Commiphora mukul) may ease symptoms of hypothyroidism.

What Foods Should I Not Eat for Hypothyroidism?

There are a lot of foods that can help balance your thyroid hormone levels. But many foods and supplements also have the potential to interfere with how your thyroid functions. Here are some of those foods to avoid:

  • Foods with soy: Evidence suggests that compounds called phytoestrogens found in soybeans and foods made with soy may interfere with the enzyme that makes thyroid hormones. 

  • Iodine-rich foods: A lack of iodine can cause some hypothyroidism cases. However, consuming too much iodine can inhibit thyroid gland activity. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

  • Iron and calcium supplements: Iron or calcium supplements can impact the effectiveness of some thyroid medications. Ask your doctor if there’s a better time to take your vitamins, so it doesn’t interfere with your  thyroid medication.
  • Too much fiber: It’s best to wait a couple of hours after you take your thyroid medication before eating high-fiber foods. Eating too much fiber right after taking thyroid medication can interfere with its absorption. Broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, and brussell sprouts are high in fiber. Try avoiding these foods right after taking you take your medication. If you take your medication in the morning, you may want to save these veggies for lunch or dinner time to allow your medication to take proper effect.
  • Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol are also known to to interfere with the effectiveness of thyroid medicine. When in doubt, ask your doctor for advice.

If you’re interested in more nutritional topics, check out the health benefits of cherries or the things you didn’t know about fast food.