5 Foods To Avoid With Hypothyroidism

In this posts we talk about 5 foods that you should avoid if you have Low thyroid levels aka Hypothyroidism.

Thyroid hormones are essential for our body. They regulate our basal metabolic rate, our energy balance, our mood, heat generation and much more. It can cause a number of symptoms, such as poor ability to tolerate cold, a feeling of tiredness, constipation, slow heart rate, depression, and weight gain.

Hypothyroidism is so common that almost 5 people out of 100 suffer from it. Majority of the patients are females as they have higher chances of developing autoimmune diseases and hypothyroidism is also a type of “autoimmune disease”. Check out our playlist on thyroid health where we have discussed topics like “what are the signs that you can develop if you have low thyroid levels” & “natural remedies for hypothyroidism” and much more. So, make sure to check them out.

Hypothyroidism can be a tricky condition to manage, and what you eat can interfere with your treatment. Some nutrients heavily influence the function of the thyroid gland and these are known as “goitrogenic foods”. Goitrogens are compounds that interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. The term “goitrogenic” means something that causes “goitre,” or swelling of the thyroid gland.

Goitrogens accomplish this by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. When not enough iodine is available, the thyroid cannot produce sufficient levels of thyroid hormones T4 and T3.

Now let’s discuss these five foods that every person with hypothyroidism should avoid.

Number 1, Foods with Soy, Including Edamame,

Tofu The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume, and is widely consumed throughout the world. It is a very good source of protein and is used to make many products like soy milk, soy bean oil, tofu, edamame etc.

Although it’s a very good food to include in your diet but the same cannot be said for people with hypothyroidism. Studies dating back as far as 1959 have suggested that certain chemical components of soy — the isoflavones — may be linked to thyroid disorders, especially goitre and low thyroid. The two main soy isoflavones, genistein and daidzein, inhibit thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme necessary for making thyroid hormone.

But luckily iodine blocks this antithyroid effect if you are consuming soy products in moderate amounts. But for people with hypothyroidism, its best to stay away from soy containing products as several studies have indicated that isoflavone extracts can lead to severe hypothyroidism.

Number 2, Cruciferous Vegetables Like Broccoli and Cauliflower Cruciferous vegetables,

Such as broccoli and cabbage, are full of fibre and other nutrients, but they may interfere with the production of thyroid hormone if you have an iodine deficiency.

So if you do, it’s a good idea to limit your intake of Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and bok choy, because research suggests eating these vegetables may block the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function.

Cooking them can reduce the effect that cruciferous vegetables have on the thyroid gland, and limiting your intake of these (cooked) vegetables to 5 ounces a day may help as well, since that amount appears to have no adverse effect on thyroid function.

Number 3, Gluten

Those with hypothyroidism may want to consider minimizing their intake of gluten, a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley, rye, and other grains, says Ruth Frenchman, a dietitian in the Los Angeles area and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

And if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten can irritate the small intestine, and may hamper absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication also. If you do choose to eat gluten, be sure to choose whole-grain varieties of bread, pasta, and rice, which are high in fiber and other nutrients and can help improve bowel irregularity, a common symptom of hypothyroidism. Also be sure to take your hypothyroidism medication several hours before or after eating high-fiber foods, to prevent them from interfering with the absorption of your synthetic thyroid hormone.


Fruits that have been identified as goitrogenic include the Rosacea family of fruits, which includes almonds, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, and strawberries.

Number 5, ONIONS

Onions contain two different goitrogens: quercetin and propyl disulphide. Quercetin reduces the activity of thyroperoxidase as well as the activity of a second enzyme — hepatic deiodinase — a liver enzyme required to activate the thyroid hormone. Boiling reduces the amount of quercetin in foods to some extent.

So the bottom line is, If you have an underactive thyroid, aka hypothyroidism you should consider reducing your intake of plant goitrogens. Pregnant and nursing women should also be careful about goitrogenic foods, they are caregivers of very young children whose brains are still developing.

Thyroid hormones are vital for developing child inside the womb as it is needed for the development of the brain. So, pregnant females should avoid these foods at all costs, especially if they an underactive thyroid already.